Strategy, competitive advantage and the promotional mix
A Polestar Group case study

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If you have ever been tempted by a promotional item on the front cover of a magazine, played a scratchcard game, received information about Tesco's loyalty card, flicked through a holiday brochure or ordered something through the Ikea catalogue then, you are likely to have come into contact with The Polestar Group. Polestar is a leading independent printing company serving publishing, retail, travel and direct marketing businesses through the production of catalogues, magazines, newspapers, packaging and direct mail.

The Polestar Group is the UK's largest independent printer and the fourth largest printer in the world. It has a turnover of approximately £500m a year and employs around 5,300 staff worldwide. The company has 25 facilities in the UK, Europe and North America. It is a private limited company which means that it is owned by shareholders but its shares are not traded on the Stock Exchange. It consumes 4 tonnes of ink every hour. Each week it produces 33 million magazines and supplements including The Sunday Times, Hello!, The Radio Times, Ikea catalogues and Cosmos holiday brochures.

The Polestar Group

The Polestar Group is a specialist printer and data solutions provider providing a wide range of services for its clients. It sells its services to other companies - this means it operates in a B2B - Business to Business - market. The Polestar Group's products and customers include:

  • magazines e.g. TV Times and Hello!
  • newspapers e.g. Sunday Times supplements
  • direct mail e.g. information for Tesco Clubcard
  • retail catalogues e.g. Ikea and Christies
  • packaging e.g. Twinings tea boxes and Nescafé labels
  • holiday brochures e.g. Cosmos.

Polestar's activities include a wide range of printing services such as:

  • personalised printing
  • wrapping
  • selective inserts or onserts
  • reply cards
  • coupons and vouchers
  • database management
  • packaging
  • data solutions.

By offering such a wide range of services which are reliable and cost effective, Polestar provides clients with a quality service, enabling them to hand over this aspect of their operations with peace of mind. It provides a complete service from pre-production through to packaging e.g. advertisements and flyers are collated and inserted into the relevant magazine. This is then wrapped in a polythene bag to ensure the advertisers' messages get to the reader. This strategy means Polestar becomes more important to its customers as the amount of sales generated by their customers increases.

Polestar Group | Strategy, competitive advantage and the promotional mix