4 key learnings from Three Women

POSTED ON: 05/12/19 TAGS: BMS Awards Bloomsbury Hannah Paget Three Women

by katie

Three Women

Congratulations to Hannah Paget of Bloomsbury, who picked up a BMS Award for her outstanding work on the Three Women campaign. The judges said she “delivered a highly impactful and beautiful campaign for an unknown US author by building advocacy from both key influencers and booksellers.”

Here are the key learnings Hannah wanted to share about the campaign:

1. Important books are for everyone

While it is often crucial to have a target market in mind, with Three Women we wanted an approach that wouldn’t limit the potential audience. Mindful of the special high/low nature of the book, our aim was to position it as a ground-breaking piece of non-fiction but also a thrilling read. We deliberately kept the messaging around it as broad and open as possible. I carefully planned the first proof, keeping the design pared back and using that amazing Dave Eggers quote, to confidently assert that this was important book to be taken seriously. Settling on the cover image was also long process (our amazing designer Greg Heinimann tried over 100 covers!) as we wanted to make sure we were doing something original and universal that wouldn’t narrow the audience.

2. Booksellers are your friends and key champions

Getting retailers on side was crucial. We knew the author was a huge asset, so we brought her over to the UK four months before publication. Allowing booksellers to meet her, to hear her speak about the book and the eight years she spent researching it, led to a huge increase in booksellers reading and loving it. Through working closely with those key buyers and booksellers we were able to secure strong in-store support. Foyles in particular were incredible supporters. They chose it as their book of the month, had a special edition including gift with purchase, a sold out event before publication and multiple window displays. They’ve gone on to name it their Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Waterstones Gower Street were also amazing at hand selling and created the most beautiful window display!

3. Helpful to determine creative clarity as soon as possible

In order to straddle a serious non-fiction treatment with a highly original and thrilling read, I wanted to ensure visuals around the campaign were pared back and not suggestive or leading. This was established early on and adhered to throughout. I also wanted the marketing materials to feel high-quality and tactile, so I chose a soft touch laminate finish for the postcards and the second proof, which influenced the decision for the finished book. An initial style guide for internal use and for international offices was also incredibly useful for keeping this consistent.

4. Have regular meetings with a core group to keep yourself on track

Working so closely as a team was incredibly important. I would meet regularly with Alexis, the editor, and Emma, the publicist, to go over every detail of the campaign. We drafted and redrafted the initial copy and closely thought through the positioning and messaging. We were all busy working on it separately, but meeting regularly kept our messaging and visuals aligned.

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