When Brand Recognition Counts - Saying Yes or No to the Capabilities Brochure

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 in CHI Insight
Tags: public relations, integrated marketing communications, marketing communications, pr, pr tips, seo, internet marketing, search engine optimization, website development

Before the advent of digital marketing, many companies made a big investment of time and resources to produce their capabilities brochure, the formerly signature piece of a marketing collateral program. Now that websites perform so many functions originally owned by the capabilities brochure, some firms forgo the effort to create a capabilities masterpiece.

This is the right decision for some firms, but not all. The decision to produce a capabilities brochure should be based on what your customers need, and not whether you think your website already does it all.


Industry standards and the food chain

Just as some companies still utilize print media to reach their trade industry audiences through magazines and other traditional media, the capabilities brochure can provide a touchstone for potential leads. We all know people like to share information up and down the “food chain” in order to get consensus and make decisions. That food chain might initially involve a procurement official at a municipality, followed by board members and staff for that organization. Sooner or later, your material reaches the chief executives as well. So you want to look good, and often these customers want something to hold. To make it feel like they’re buying something real.

Online marketing works well to introduce your company to these stakeholders, but a well-designed capabilities brochure can do much to tell your story in impressive order. People still trust that a company able to make an investment in a well-designed, clearly communicated capabilities brochure knows itself well, and is therefore a potentially strong partner.

Developing a capabilities brochure can produce many great effects for your company. Here are just a few benefits:

  • A capabilities brochure can help you review your graphical presentation and branding
  • Writing copy on your capabilities delivers clear messaging that can help in sales and marketing
  • Your capabilities brochure can force you to consider which service lines are most important
  • The development process can be an important team-building exercise


A tangible value proposition

The value proposition of a capabilities brochure is therefore its tangibility, so long as you’re smart. At today’s postal rates, you probably don’t want to send a large brochure out wholesale unless you have qualified contacts. The capabilities brochure has always played more of a role in closing the deal rather than prospecting.

Given the flexibility in today’s digital printing, it may also pay to examine the quantities you need to print, and where the break points fall on pricing versus offset printing. With shorter digital print runs, you can even allow yourself room for changes and revisions as time goes by, or produce targeted versions for specific industries.

Consider your overall marketing strategy and interview your sales director to find out how your company is making sales contacts and what is needed to promote dialogue with prospective customers. Over a lunch, it can be quite efficient to walk through a capabilities brochure rather than risk getting bleu cheese dressing on your iPad.

Remember, loosen up! A capabilities brochure can be many things, but it doesn’t need to be stodgy or traditional.

Short, sweet and punchier is now possible with brochure copy because your website can tell the rest of the story. So free up your senses and surprise yourself with what your capabilities brochure can do for you in marketing, sales and public relations.

CHI has developed award-winning capabilities brochures for our clients. Take a look at a recent example of a capabilites brochure we produced for Hampton, Lenzini and Renwick, an engineering firm.

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