A corporate brochure has to work harder today than it ever did in the three-plus decades I've been producing them.
As Daniel points out, it's mostly about making the reader feel great about the company and eager to learn more.
But I don't agree that the reader should be asking what the company does - that should be eminently clear. I also don't think the company's mission, vision and values have any place in a deliverable where adding information adds to the cost.
As far as I'm concerned, the brochure's job is to make an emotional connection with the reader that drives him/her to the company's website - for more information, yes, but more important, to start a conversation (or several) that will:
- Get the visitor into the company's sales funnel and
- Make sure the company can meet the visitor's needs.
One thing that means is that the brochure doesn't need to be nearly as big as in the Analog Age. It doesn't have to be standard letter-size, like an annual report, and surely shouldn't be anything like as long.
It should tell its story simply and visually, and from the reader's point of view - not the company's.
The writing should be in the same language we all use to talk to each other, using the tone we might take with a friend over coffee.
(It should never use the words provide or utilize, or any word that has a shorter or more energetic replacement. When we use big words, we don't sound smart. We sound like we're trying to impress an English teacher.)
Images should be of your real people and the things they really make and do.
And as with the rest of what we produce, it must realize that nobody cares about any of our messages, clients, products or services. Nobody. Ever.
According to research done a few years ago at Cal State-Long Beach, hat they do care about are five things:
- Their family.
- Their finances.
- Their passions and pleasures.
- Their personal growth.
And above all,
5. The problem they need to solve RIGHT NOW, and permanently, if possible, because it's keeping them from getting closer to one of the four things above.
Or, shorter version:
A brochure is your chance, in print, to show the reader how much you care about his/her problem. Because that's the only way he/she is ever going to care about you.