AB Thinks  →  7th March 2017

Grand designs

Paul Smith

Familiarity breeds contempt, so they say. And while there are times when familiarity is highly valued there is certainly the need to move on, refresh and reconsider how you’re doing something that’s stood the test of time.

Which brings me nicely onto Courier, our monthly title for Royal Mail. AB has published this tabloid newspaper for more than five years to a readership of around 190,000.

Royal Mail is a business that is constantly changing. In the face of growing competition, and with a brave new digital world in which to evolve, communicating with its employees – the majority of whom are the postmen and women who are the face of Royal Mail х_– has never been more important.

Courier is a title that has stood the test of time having been established 50 years ago. It has won numerous industry awards while in AB hands and is regularly deemed the most important communication channel for Royal Mail colleagues when we carry out our annual research.

But just because it has a tried and tested formula, it should never rest on its laurels. With the changes in the business, it’s paramount Courier keeps up and reflects the fast pace and shifting landscape its readers are working in.

It’s coming up to two years that I have been editor of Courier. During that time many editorial changes have been introduced to help bring through the frontline voice and achieve a stronger balance between business strategy and news from the readers. The introduction of regional pages has made a strong impression as they provide more local, relatable content.

But under my editorship, Courier has this month undergone its most significant change with a complete redesign. Taking in readers’ feedback, as well as listening to the shift in strategic messaging required by our client, Courier is now significantly more business focused. Stories are written from the perspective of how changes in technology, leadership and roles will impact readers in their day to day working lives.

Clearer story signposting, greater use of space and a cleaner, more easily digestible format represent the new Royal Mail as a more business-focused company.

More emphasis is given to changing the pace of the content, from the bite-size news in brief through to analysis and longer reads. There is something for everyone.

Our creative director, Joel O’Connor, said: “Royal Mail has gone through considerable change over the last few years and communicating these changes to the frontline is critical to the success of the business. Courier is now openly more strategic with its content and the new look sets out to enhance this bold change of direction.”

It’s not everything we want it to be just yet, but there’s plenty we can grab hold of, run with and make better. This is just the beginning.