How is your company brochure performing? Is it a marketing workhorse, tirelessly sending prospects to your website already convinced of your value and ready to convert? Or does it lack social grace and charm, positioning your company more as a Leisuresuit Larry of your industry? Your brochure may actually be harming your company’s marketing efforts, creating perceptions that you hadn’t counted on.
Brochure design matters, and here I describe the five biggest killers to an organization’s image that show up in company brochures.
1. Lofty and Unlikely Claims in Your Tag Line
Making ridiculous claims on your brochure cover is a mistake frequently seen in the do-it-yourself brochures of small mom-and-pop businesses. This could be likened to meeting someone for the first time and blurting out “Hi! I’m incredibly handsome!” If your company brochure looks like it was designed by your nephew, Travis in Microsoft Publish, your audience will not be convinced by lofty claims such as “The Next Generation of Real Estate Marketing.”
2. Use of Meaningless Buzzwords
Do you think outside the box? Are you an expert, a guru, or a maven perhaps? And is your marketing REALLY “Evolutionary”? It’s unlikely to find anyone that could still be convinced by these terms, so why do we still see them in marketing? This is like saying Ah, Screw It – Just Put Anything On The Cover. Real professionals know that to have any chance of speaking meaningfully to your audience, you need to use real language, not clichés. As seen in this example from Paradigm Real Estate Solutions, terms like Expert, Visionary, and Evolutionary lack credibility and even meaning. Leave them out of your marketing.
3. Cheesy Stock Photography
Want to really make your audience think you have no idea what their business is about? Contrived scenes of happy, sexually diverse, architects with no sense of personal space are probably not going to make a connection with prospective clients, and are likely, rather, to position your company as a b-grade player. Instead of following this approach, select imagery that indicates you understand your audience.
4. Amateur Typography
In 1979, a computer program called Apple Writer was published, and it was amazing! It would allow anyone with an Apple II computer to use all kinds of text effects within a word processing document. These effects included different font sizes, various font colors, a choice of font families, and an assortment of font styles such as bold, italic, normal, and underlined. With this new freedom, came new responsibility – the responsibility to avoid using all the effects in one document. These days, most of us have matured beyond this temptation, and typography has returned to its once noble place in design, but we still see examples in the websites and brochures of legitimate organizations. Use typography to present your information, without getting in the way.
5. Incohesive Story
When presenting information to an audience, it’s best to apply some kind of structure. There are many types of information structure to choose from, and the decision relies on the type of information being presented. For example, when describing a process, it is common to use a sequential structure. When explaining the cause of something, a series structure can be very effective because it indicates how one event leads to another and then to a third, and so on. A list of supporting arguments can be presented in a parallel format, with each argument supporting the motion like legs of a chair. Each of these formats makes it easier for your audience to mentally digest your information, providing structure they can understand. Failing to lead your audience through a recognizable structure can seem like pointless rambling, with pages lacking any relationship to each other, and headings which seem to crop up as interruptions to the previous topic.