How to Write a Corporate Brochure They Won't Forget

A few years back, a client of mine went through a rebranding exercise. It was not meant to be that; their business came mostly through their website and through trade shows, and they simply felt that the website needed a revamp.

At the time, Mike Leigh of Strategic Business Management LLC was managing the company’s expansion and approached me about the redesign. My first comment was that the logo was what most needed redesigning (it was pretty bad at the time)…and as you can imagine, that lead to a full rebranding discussion.

We came out with three key parameters.

1. The branding had to reflect what the company does. It bends metal.

2. It had to move the image upscale, because the effect of their work is in most cases fancier architectural design.

3. The website needed to be effective, but the corporate brochure also had to be effective at trade shows.

Never mind the website; that one was easy. And no need to go into the reasons for choosing a gold logo over a silver logo, for upscale branding. The real challenge was what to do about the corporate brochure. If you have ever been to a trade show, you know that people will collect their weight in paper at the various booths, and very few pieces ever leave the hotel room and make their way into participants’ luggage.

Ours had to say “Wow!”

Let’s be frank – bending metal is a very blue-collar occupation. It’s about hard hats, machinery and metal. But the curved walls and ceilings and occasional railings and sculptures are very artsy. Very architecture… Aha!

We decided to emulate the style of a fancy architecture magazine that one might find on coffee tables. In practical terms, what this meant was:

  • Magazine format.
  • Luxurious printing style.
  • Lots of photos of the finished product (not shop floor images)
  • Less text
  • Magazine article style writing.
  • Thick, quality paper.

To make the brochure feel even more luxurious, we made it all black, so the writing was white on black. The result was a striking and memorable brochure that conveyed an upscale image and that stood out among the piles of trash headed for the hotel room garbage can. You can see everything but the special printing tricks in the online version here.The special effects cost more, and most people don’t actually notice them unless they look at the surface of the cover at a very low angle; but the printing tricks do make the brochure feel more luxurious.

And it worked. People actually took home this brochure and the company was pleased as punch with the results.

A magazine-style brochure might not be the right style for you, and you might not be competing for valuable suitcase space at trade shows. But you do need publicity materials and you are competing for your customers’ attention. So what can you learn from this success story?

1. Think outside the box. If your competitors are doing it, what’s the point in being a copycat?

2. Focus on what you do, what your benefits are and how you can most impress your audience.

3. Don’t be cheap.

4. Make your brochure something people will want to hold onto.

If all your competitors are handing out fridge magnets, what can you do to be better? Please don’t say “bigger fridge magnet”.

This article is a great example of advice on how a real estate agent can make his mark by writing a book, or in this case by writing a very different book. Again, you can see the value of thinking outside the box and creating something people will want to hold onto. In fact, the article outlines how to follow all four points above. The advice is not just for real estate agents.

What can you do for your corporate brochure? The options are wide open; let your creative juices flow and create a brochure that people will want to keep.

via Shutterstock

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