To brochure or not to brochure

To brochure or not to brochure

To brochure or not to brochure? We think the solution lies in a hybrid approach.

I was called to a briefing session with one of our local clients to discuss the production of their corporate brochure.  As we discussed the amount of content they wanted the brochure to cover, a few things quickly became apparent:  there is limited space in a brochure and, with the nature of things nowadays, the content will certainly need to adapt over time.  That, in turn, means the inevitable reprint batch run at a hefty cost. The discussion concluded with us agreeing to do an interactive PDF housed on a nicely branded and packaged memory stick.  Possibly with a QR code on the cover linking to more information on the corporate website – a good solution we thought.

And then a funny thing happened a short while after.  At the meeting, they gave me a printed version of the Annual Report we’d just concluded, so I could show our team.  As I handed it to the one designer who had poured many hours of blood, sweat and tears into it, her face light up in sheer delight.  It hit me:  there’s something special about print.  It’s tangible; the aroma of fresh ink just does something to the senses.  Design comes alive when in printed format, and no matter how fancy our PDF page flip or hover buttons are, there’s just no beating the appeal of a well-designed brochure.  It’s easy to flip through and shows the company’s image straight away.

And there’s more.  Did you know research shows people read word-for-word when reading print, but only scan online text? If we went the memory stick route we’re reliant on the recipient to actively choose whether to insert the stick into their computer and click on the attachment.

There are other elements to consider in deciding whether to brochure or not.  Your target audience for one.  The corporate brochure in question will be given out by senior leaders to stakeholders they intend to do business with, so we assume they are aged 45+.  This generation prefers printed media over online so a printed brochure is a good fit.

So there’s a strong case for print here, but we believe a hybrid approach is the ultimate solution where print and digital support each other.  Our proposal would be to create a succinct brochure printed on good quality stock with folds, so there’s a tangible experience of opening it up.  A three or four panel works well.  On the back panel we’d place a QR code with a link to an interactive PDF hosted on the company website, with more detail, but not too much – balance is key.

The additional of a QR code is the perfect link between print and digital because the recipient can scan it with their mobile.  They don’t have to wait to get back to the office to fire up Explore/Chrome and type in a URL… and then possibly get distracted by other online media, notifications and the like.

The digital elements can be more easily updated which alleviates the need and cost of reprinting brochures too frequently.  So, a match made in heaven where print and digital meet.  I’m off to the printer now to get some brochure samples!


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