The Algarve 123 is a classified and cultural newspaper. It’s tri-lingual throughout – the articles and classifieds announcements are all in German, English and Portuguese. Recently the newspaper gained a fresher and more contemporary look. The newspaper has been going for 16 years but has been affected, like all other businesses in Portugal, by the tough economic climate and is having to be more resourceful in its approach. A small group of us met up with the directors to see whether we could help with ideas and design suggestions.
Many questions about details of production, process, distribution, philosophy, brand image and market segmentation it became clear that research as well as design suggestions would be of use. The directors were even as open to print a special edition e.g. a redesigned title page, to see reactions of the market – this sounds like a rather exciting, open and iterative approach. Overall the opportunities are:
1. Qualitative market research – interviews
A few qualitative interviews could be beneficial for the newspaper to figure out what exactly readers look for in the 123. It’s assumed to be the classifields , which foreigners as well as Portuguese whether old or new resident to the Algarve, draw people to buy the newspaper for EUR 1.80. From an outsiders point of view, the cultural part, arguably the more interesting and useful to have in 3 languages, is rather hidden away. The title page does not suggest the richness of information the Vivalgarve part contains and yet most time by the company is spend on the weekly articles and listings of events.
A few conversations with readers, i’d suggest between 3 and 10, should be sufficient to gain an idea what people draws to the newspaper. Despite me not really speaking Portuguese yet, I comprehend the other two of course and found the newspaper in the local newspaper shop in Monchique. According to the shop’s assistant, about 20 newspaper are sold a week – a perfect opportunity to insert a contact request form to meet up with readers in Monchique to gain insights.
2. Swot and competitor analysis
With most small businesses, there is so much to do everyday, that keeping an eye out on competitors is often neglected due to time reasons. Hence, a little research into classifields and cultural newspapers and magazines around Portimao and Algarve and nationwide could be beneficial.
3. Collect Benchmarking examples
For inspiration and communicating how other newspapers handle classifields and cultural articles, benchmarking examples should be collected to support arguments and suggestions e.g. Loot or Viva Brighton
The website could benefit of a redesign and focus on language and navigation. At the moment only subscribers get access to commercial classifields, if you try to access it anyway, the error message is arguable rather unfriendly – it makes it seem as if it’s the users fault that they have not subscriped yet, which encourages searching another classified online platform for the same info.
5. Title page redesign
Directors are really up for new ideas. Re-designing the title page and printing it – observing reactions of sales and responses.
6. Contribute content
Write articles about the projects we do with locals e.g. craft or Veredas de Monchique.