Developing VOICE for CWU
A bit about CWU
Voice is the membership magazine of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the largest communications trades union with over 200,000 members. Received by all members in the postal, telecommunications and financial sectors, it is the primary communication tool for the Union to talk to its members.
Voice magazine has a different edition for each sector, both of which are widely regarded as an invaluable source of industry news and union activity. It is distributed five times per year directly to members’ homes, and the magazine is influential through its reach and its quality.
The brief for Voice magazine
CWU had an in-house editorial team, a freelance design process and external print management. The client required that all processes be managed by a new publishing partner and asked for a fresh look at improving the design whilst ensuring that the new look adhered to the stringent and recognised union identity.
Our strategy and solutions
Century One firstly looked at the existing workflow and agreed that CWU keep their editorial in-house in order to keep a firm grasp on the specialist hard-hitting, news-led copy for members. The design, production, advertising sales, pre-press, print and distribution of the magazine came under the management of Century One which meant that the publication became more efficient in its production processes, less reliant on CWU administration and therefore more cost effective.
Our design studio took the existing blueprint for the magazine and refined the templates with cleaner lines, stronger colour and authoritative typography. The design is regularly updated and tweaked to reflect the fast-paced nature of this news-led title.
We also produce a number of 16pp supplements to Voice; The Link, Women’s Talk, Future Proof and Communiqué, and have taken CWU member publications into the digital age, with fully interactive editions emailed to members and available via an Apple Newsstand app and a Google Play magazine app. We helped to install a digital image library, conducted member research and produced material in support of the CWU annual conference.
CWU Voice scooped four of the seven awards at the 2011 TUC Communications Awards including best electronic innovation with the launch of the interactive digital edition in 2010. As part of our on-going and collaborative process, we developed the interactive digital edition which features CWUTV video content, engaging animations, podcasts and advanced social sharing capabilities. And the union continues to collect top TUC accolades each year.
The latest developments include two new magazine apps on Apple Newsstand and Google Play which are proving a big hit with members, and offer advertisers exciting new sponsorship opportunities and engaging digital uplift options. Downloads have increased by over 1000% since migrating the iOS app from the App Store to Newsstand.
Century One have also conducted an extensive print and mailing review, and successfully identified and implemented a number of cost efficiencies in this area. We also have very strong relationships with key advertisers including UIA, Scottish Friendly and Vauxhall.
What do CWU think?
“CWU has used Century One publishing in recent years for publishing and advertising. Advertising revenue has gone up and we get an honest and transparent approach without empty promises or unachievable targets. It is in publishing though, that they really shine. They have helped us re-vamp our magazines, grow readership and membership engagement and professionalised our overall approach to publications. We receive a personal and intimate service that ensures we get what we want, problems are resolved with minimum fuss and there is a collective approach to improving our product. Century One have a unique approach where they propose cost savings to us and deliver ideas and imagination whilst saving us money. “
Kevin Slocombe, Head of Communications