Program Highlights

  • 150+ Media Placements
  • Key features in MSNBC, Mashable, The New York Times, Discovery News, Engadget, Gizmodo, Appolicious, ReadWrite and other top outlets
  • Generated more than $500,000 in new business
  • 81,000 app downloads

HarperCollins UK App Launch

HarperCollins UK Increases Brand Awareness and Drives Revenue With High-Profile U.S. App Launch Campaigns

HarperCollins UK is one of the world’s most respected book publishers. With product offerings that cut across traditional and new media categories, HarperCollins UK has established itself as a global leader in both print and digital publishing.

The Problem

With traditional publishing companies transitioning from books to tablets and mobile devices, 194-year-old publisher HarperCollins wanted to establish its brand in the digital world and make a splash in the U.S. marketplace. HarperCollins engaged Walker Sands to launch a series of new products for Apple devices—Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of Life apps. Based on the popular BBC TV series, both apps leveraged the features and capabilities of the new iPad with retina display, giving consumers a 3D experience of the world using rich multimedia elements, video and interactive animations.

The Solution

In conjunction with HarperCollins, Walker Sands embarked on a creative public relations and marketing campaign designed to gain media and blogger coverage that would drive downloads of the app. Walker Sands kicked off the project by developing distinct key messages for each target audience, including educators, parents, technology/app reviewers, science and astronomy publications, and top-tier business outlets.

Although talking points were tailored to specific audiences, all the messaging highlighted the cutting-edge features of the Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of Life apps and promoted their ability to provide highly interactive learning experiences.

After crafting impactful, audience-focused messaging, Walker Sands executed media outreach targeting high-visibility placements in print and digital outlets. Key elements of these campaigns included:

  • Exclusive outreach to top-tier media outlets prior to launch
  • Sneak peek opportunities for top-tier technology blogs
  • Free app downloads for high-traffic parent, teacher blogs
  • Targeted media and blogger outreach at launch
  • Sponsored Engadget iPad giveaway contest
  • Partnership with astronomy, science and education blogs for app and book giveaway contests
  • A comprehensive range of app review and award submissions
  • Heavy social media activity and engagement with top social influencers

For the tech and publishing media, Walker Sands focused on the app’s crisp imagery and use of 3D capabilities, specifically designed with Apple’s retina display in mind. Particularly, for the Wonders of Life app, the pinch-to-zoom functionality allowed users to see the magnitude of the Earth and our place within it, all available at the user’s fingertips.

"Wonders of Life for iOS takes you on a spellbinding tour of Planet Earth." -The Next Web

For the education and parent audiences of Wonders of Life, messages focused on the educational value of the app and its presentation of a new vehicle for students of all ages to interact with nature in a new, engaging manner. For science and nature-focused audiences, Walker Sands highlighted the app’s unique blend of aesthetic quality and comprehensiveness, thereby creating a new avenue for interactive experiences with science and nature.

The Result

As a result of Walker Sands’ work, the U.S. launch of HarperCollins UK’s Wonders of the Universe app exceeded initial projections, producing more than 81,000 app downloads and generating more than $500,000 in new business. The app received several awards from app review sites, being named to best of lists in 148 Apps, iMore, iPad Insight and Tech Radar and even appeared in several U.S. television commercials for the iPad.

"We count ourselves lucky to have found such a supportive, dedicated and smart team at Walker Sands. We're delighted with the results the team achieved. We were particularly impressed with the speed at which they 'got' our business and their ability to nail media releases." - Judith House, Head of Marketing, Collins Language and Geo, divisions of HarperCollins

Wonders of Life was also very well received with notable feature placements in The Next Web and The New York Times. Within a week of release, Wonders of Life reached the top spot in the App Store’s reference charts in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and remained a top 5 reference app for these markets for more than two weeks.

Overall, Walker Sands improved the visibility of HarperCollins’ digital offerings in the U.S. with more than 150 media placements including key features in MSNBC, Mashable, Discovery News, Engadget, Gizmodo, Appolicious, 148 Apps, iMore, ReadWrite, Education Week and other top-tier, tech and niche outlets. Together, the successful launch campaigns positioned HarperCollins as an innovative leader in digital publishing and resulted in increased brand recognition in the U.S. market.

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