Proud recipient of the Moreton electorate’s Australia Day Award 2016 – Principal and Director David Gowdie of Harcourts Graceville was recognised for his services to the community as the creator of a local magazine called Living in The Shires.
This magazine is hand-delivered by his sales agents to 12,000 homes and businesses in an area covering six suburbs of Brisbane, Australia – Tennyson, Chelmer, Graceville, Sherwood, Corinda and Oxley.
This magazine is David’s brainchild. The primary motivation of was to have a magazine that specifically catered for his community. It is not a newspaper in the traditional journalistic style, but more of a storytelling vehicle – ‘creative non-fiction’, if you like. It tells stories about local businesses, community events, some of the area’s incredible residents, and its history.
A deliberately small back section of the magazine is devoted to Harcourts Graceville, a break from the content marketing and storytelling . Even though David includes some advertising for his Harcourts business in the magazine, this is kept to a minimum.
Living in The Shires is a big investment for David. In terms of marketing opportunity costs, it is a ‘slow burn’, but increasingly the magazine is being associated with the Harcourts Graceville brand in a positive, feel-good, way. The beauty of this publication is that it has become the ‘glue’ for a community, engendering much pride in the area. And it gives the sales agents a fabulous entrée when engaging with local people – there is always something to talk about. The feedback to Harcourts Graceville is that the magazine gets read cover to cover, and its delivery is eagerly anticipated. It truly is a marketer’s dream.
The magazine has been so enthusiastically welcomed that print copies of back issues are now fast becoming collector’s items. The State Library of Queensland, at its request, now holds two print copies of each back issue. Electronic editions can be found on the dedicated Living in The Shires website, as well.
Susan Prior, a professional writer and editor, project manages the publication, which is printed on a quality recycled paper stock using environmentally friendly soy inks. David also uses professional graphic designers. Living in The Shires is rapidly becoming known for its very different and eye-catching cover art – a deliberate ploy to ensure it doesn’t get thrown in the bin.
David’s initiative with Living in The Shires reflects his oft-cited observation that ‘givers gain’. His staff and everyone associated with the publication are incredibly proud of it and David’s success.