Yes, of course you need some sort of “company brochure.” It will frequently be requested by outsiders and often be left behind by you or your staff as a calling card. Your own staff, any new recruits as well as potential staff will all expect you to have a brochure of some sort, but I feel it is unlikely to be the means to winning new business. I very much doubt that potential clients will make their selection of who to work with on the basis of the company brochure and I suspect that they will have a low probability of reading it. It is likely that it will be seen as a calling card at best which is filed for reference or as junk and filed in the recycling bin at worst.
The process of putting together a brochure is not an easy one. It can take months or even years and evoke all sorts of passions within a company (it can also bring out company rifts too!). Not forgetting the expense incurred by the company – the hours in discussion re the design, the arguments re the budget, the quality of the print, the presentation format and even the actual quantity required!
At the end of this massive process when the numerous boxes of brochures do finally arrive in their hundreds at your office, one question that can arise is………..”what do we do with them now!?” This is because more often that not no thought has been given to this as the focus was given solely to the look and content forgetting the actual application!
What tends to happen is that someone decides to just send them out and or give them out willy nilly to avoid the boxes cluttering up the office so these expensive documents are mass mailed to all and sundry, and guess what…….nothing happens! Not a thank you. Not a congratulatory note and not a whisper of new business.
Another common problem with the company brochure in my experience is that they tend to be written in house and contain lots of “we do…..” and “the team does…..” showcasing what the organisation does rather than show what help and benefit the organisation brings.
I’m not meaning to come across as some sort of grumpy old man here. I’m just passing on my experience in the hope that this article might help you sit back before rushing in and spending thousands on something that could go to waste!
So what does Bath Marketing Consultancy suggest you do when it comes to the company brochure? Well, to be honest the answer to this is something that might be better discussed over a coffee, but I feel that the planning and production of the company brochure should be seen as a necessary starting point in a process of producing a range of print material for the company. The thinking should be extended maybe to the corporate ID and general design issues like signage and stationery. Once the decision process about the brochure has been got out of the way, the real creative thinking can start which is where you aim at producing genuinely client orientated, helpful marketing material that will be collectable rather than binable!
Following on from my previous post, I think that the planning and the production of the company brochure should be the catalyst for producing a range of print material for the organisation. I am talking about looking at corporate ID and other design issues such as stationary. Either way, my suggestion is to change the way you view printed material to try and produce genuinely client orientated, helpful material that will be collectable rather than binable.
The aim should be that anything printed takes elements of your business and your expertise and, without telling everything, puts it at the client’s disposal thereby offering genuine help in a convenient format. This should result in it being an efficient sales tool due to its appetite whetting and longevity.
In addition to the brochure, there are also other initiatives like the newsletter. This can be a valuable print tool if well produced. Most organisations find that contributors don’t meet your deadlines and that once a quarter becomes far from easy! Newsletters have to be single-mided and client orientated offering really up-to-date news, opinions, technical advice etc. They must avoid being ego massaging tools!
Whenever consideration turns to print material, the question of design rears its ugly head. Let’s be totally clear, I would never underestimate the power of design. It is undoubtedly a vital element in the marketing of your organisation. With design, you have the power to distinguish yourself from your competition. It is a way to reveal your personality – your brand – so get it right. Use a blend of house style and creative identity.
Print is very much a subject I could go on and on about, but I am hoping that this and the previous article go some way to helping you in your thought process.
After nearly 20 years in the industry, I am not 100% sure why companies have such an obsession with a company brochure! Yes, by all means have one so that you and your staff have a leave behind, but it is very unlikely to be a means to winning new business i.e I doubt whether potential clients are going to make their selection of provider based purely on it. In my opinion, a company brochure is something that can act as a showcase for your business that organisations will treat as a calling card at best and junk at worst.
|Looks great, but what do I do with it?!
Sorry to open with a bit of a downer this week, but getting the brochure to become a live entity can very often be the result of months of gestation within a business – a birth process that often produces great passion and/or great rifts as it is often an initiative driven by the MD, but becomes a committee process!
When the beautifully printed brochure finally arrives in their thousands in numerous boxes after vast expense, most companies have a question – “what do we do now?” The answer usually has a predictable logic: “well, there’s no point in having them here gathering dust, send them out.” This means that these expensive documents are sent out to anyone with their details on your files or anyone you have crossed paths with and guess what, nothing happens. No letters of thanks, no congratulatory notes and no new business.
In my experience most brochures are full of words like “we” and “me” meaning that they tend to concentrate on the business and what it offers i.e. “we do this” and “we have 20 years experience”…..
Does any of this sound familiar?
I don’t see the company brochure as a sales vehicle. I see it is as a way of showing your prospects what you can do for them. You MUST think about how you want to use them, what they will say and what they hope to achieve.
Tomorrow’s article will be Bath Marketing Consultancy’s suggestions on how to utilise the company brochure…..