In our last official issue of Views from the Tree, there is no better story to tell than that of our very own magazine in the Back to Our Roots column. It’s been six years since its inauguration and it has evolved throughout the years, raising the bar each and every issue. As we close the pages of this magazine, it’s the perfect time to take you on a behind-the-scenes journey and share how it all got started.
Two Visions Become One
In 2007, before I was even hired, President & CEO Marco Casol wanted a magazine that would educate and empower customers. Having produced a dozen or so brands’ custom magazines at my previous position, this was a promise I could deliver. But just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was this magazine. Magazines are not cheap endeavors, and without advertising, we had to make decisions about the size, frequency, mailing and distribution. We had to look at our overall marketing mix and determine if the costs would prohibit other marketing initiatives. As we assessed needs and crunched numbers, we came to the conclusion that a new website was needed first. It would be a whole year before the magazine got off the ground, but regardless it was happening.
The Name Views from the Tree
Having a year to plan and launch a magazine in the publishing world is a dream come true really. We had time, and time is always of the essence. Or is it? Too much time to brainstorm and mull over names led to weeks upon weeks of name concepts that truly ran the gamut. And at the time PreGel AMERICA was only a small company of about 15, so everyone had an opinion. Should the name be edgy, reflect our heritage, stay true to our branding, or echo the dessert industry and its trends? The list went on and on, but as it began to take shape we found that if the magazine was going to tell our and the industry’s story, it had to have something of PreGel woven throughout. Our original branding, the PreGel Tree, provided the opportunity for weaving a piece of our own company’s story throughout every page. Trees also have many facets to them, from strong roots to changing leaves and blooms, so it set the stage for a piece that could grow and evolve. But we didn’t want the perspective to be one-sided, otherwise the magazine would be nothing but a glorified sales brochure. Therefore it was important for us to insert the viewpoint from the industry – as in you the clients, partners and industry experts. Bringing these two thoughts together, we landed on the name Views from the Tree.
In coming to the tree part of the name, we had an easier time segmenting the guts of the magazine as all the walking parts of a tree made the perfect column names. Tree Talk for News; Berry Healthy for technical and health-oriented content; What’s Blooming for trends and timely pieces; Back to Our Roots for features on the company itself; From the Chef’s Nest for pastry education and news; Branching Out for out-of-the-box recipes utilizing our products; and From the Top of the Tree for insights from our own Gelato Master Marco Casol. Creating these columns really helped develop a flow, content direction and an overall guide for each issue so readers would know what to expect and where to find specific editorial.
The People Involved
It takes a village to produce a magazine, and more than you see in the printed mast each issue. It takes many staffers at PreGel to produce the content, edit it, pull and clean up the customer and lead mailing lists, identify partners and vendors who receive the magazine, lay out and design the magazine, and even our warehouse team to distribute the magazine from delivery to desk. There are also the chefs and gelato masters who create and test recipes, type them out and submit, then make them beautiful for the photographer to shoot. And you cannot forget everyone who contributes to content ideas from customers, partners and vendors – influence and ideas come from every corner of the industry.
Once the magazine is ready to go, it then gets sent off to the printers. United Printing has been our partner on Views from the Tree since day one, and they have been great at meeting each challenge and consistently putting out an award-winning piece. Before we took it in-house, the magazine launch was also due to a graphic agency in Akron, OH, called WhiteSpace Creative – they made our first magazine become a reality and we couldn’t have done it without them. Each page equals the work of many people, and without them and their hard work, each issue of this magazine would never get completed.
With 24 issues under our belts, Views from the Tree has both met and surpassed the vision we had when we launched it. It’s been an amazing ride the last six years and what has made it even more fruitful is the client feedback. We love when a client calls asking why they don’t receive the magazine anymore; only to find out they just haven’t received the new issue – meaning they anticipate its arrival more often than its quarterly frequency. Our other subsidiaries have been begging for it to appear in multiple languages so their customers can utilize it as well. We are just grateful it’s being received and read.
While customer validation is all we need to keep producing Views from the Tree, achieving accolades from marketing peers in the industry has only sweetened the deal for us, which include:
• 2010 Hermes Creative Platinum Award in the Magazine/
Publication – Views from the Tree Summer/Fall 2009
• 2011 Regional Business Marketing Association (BMA)
ProAd Awards Bronze Award, in the Publications
category PreGel AMERICA’s Views from the Tree
magazine (issues 7, 8 and 9)
• 2013 Hermes Creative Awards Platinum Award in
Publications/Magazine – Views from the Tree, Issue 16
• 2013 Regional Business Marketing Association Carolinas
(BMA) ProAd Awards Silver Award Category #27 –
Publications for Views from the Tree
The Next Generation
The story of Views from the Tree will forever live on because it is the birth story of custom publishing within the walls of PreGel AMERICA. It is part one of a greater series that will now encompass the redirection and new redesign which will be revealed next issue.
In the words of Marco Casol, “We are once again challenging ourselves to new heights with the magazine. Our magazines will now allow us to reach more of our customers, prospects and aligned industry partners than ever before.” The world is evolving and new generations are taking the business reins, therefore it is the ideal time for us to see a new magazine emerge as a sign of continued innovation by our company to support its clients.