Design Business Council
Print design effective in government communications

Print design effective with local government communications

Research has found that Australians find websites, personalised direct mail and catalogues and flyers are the most useful when they want information about local council services.

Research by Quality Online Research was published in 2014 after canvassing advertising preferences and information channel usefulness. The survey was based on a sample of 9,641 Australians nationally.

Part of the research looked at local councils and how various demographics reacted to different types of communication. The audience segments were; Youth, Younger professionals, Younger families, Older families, Home duties, Older professionals and Retirees.

It showed that top channel preferences are very consistent for all demographics with websites, personalised direct mail, catalogues and flyers and press advertising making up the top four most useful channels for every segment. Further down the preference list shows that radio advertising, online display advertising, social media advertising outdoor advertising and telemarketing are not preferred by any demographic.

This opens up an area for discussion with local councils who are currently using any of those channels. The opportunity is to shift those channel budgets to print communications.

Websites ranked highest for every demographic, making it clear how important it is for councils to have an integrated digital and print strategy.

Personalised direct mail was rated a close second for all demographics. The high potential for personalisation guarantees that council communications are received by the right residents.

The research divided the audience into six attitudinal groups:

Ad junkies Find advertising highly enjoyable and stimulating.

Affirming realists Perceptive to the message: find it mildly appealing.

Ambivalent passives “Makes little difference either way” – only slightly engaged.

Blindfolded ignorers Don’t actually see it, so have little opinion or angst.

Grumpy rejectors “Distracting and invasive” – believe it’s mildly irritating and increasing.

Aggressive aggressives Can’t stand the concept: feel ads are oppressive.

At least half of the following attitudinal groups choose personalised direct mail as their most useful channel for getting local council information:

Grumpy rejectors – 69%

Aggressive aggressives – 58%

Affirming realists – 57%

Ad junkies – 55%

Blindfolded ignorers – 55%

Catalogues and flyers, ranked third for most demographics. The benefit here is that they allow councils to collate and deliver key information for residents that they can keep for later reference.

There is an opportunity for designers to show Councils that information to retirees about aged-care services and special-interest groups have a greater success rate when delivered as personalised direct mail (66%, compared with 56% for the total sample) and for press advertising (54%, compared with 40% for the total sample).

The take away point

This information can be turned into a white paper with graphics to illustrate the data. The whitepaper could be designed specifically for a local council and then sent to their communications team as a promo to get more work or to break into getting work.

Want to learn more about how design for print is growing?

There are methods to grow your studio by selling more print to existing and new clients. The Design Business Council has teamed up with BJ Ball Papers to present the Selling more design for print workshops. Read more about the program here.

Greg Branson

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed a series of business tools to help designers manage their business better along with a series of workshops that show designers how to use these tools.