Holyoke, Massachusetts   Paper. American Writing Paper Co. Cylinder Machine (making Matchboard).   NARA   518334

What Was That Thud?

Once you have created your key message and understand that company identity can be defined by absolutely everything in a company, creating the collateral to support both of these should be pretty easy right? Well…”easy” isn’t the best word to choose. When a client says to me, “I need a mailer” or “I want a company brochure”, the first question I ask is Why? What is it that you are trying to accomplish?

LastingImpressionsMastDid you know the first definition of “collateral” is something pledged as security? In the world of marketing and advertising, that definition is accurate. A company creates a series of messages designed to elicit trust—a sense of security; as in “I’m so good, you can trust me”. We trust the information we read and make our decisions based on how that information is presented—from pretty colors to finding typos.

Collateral is the physical manifestation of your message and identity. It’s a tactile experience of your identity, and it is an essential business tool. These pieces land with a thud on your desk and it has staying power. But collateral isn’t just paper. It includes the company shirt you wear, the PowerPoint presentation you made at last year’s annual meeting, the company’s LinkedIn page, and company website.

Each time you create a piece of communication or printed collateral, you are creating a customer touch point and extending their experience with your firm. Well, that is what you should be doing. Bottom line here, if the piece doesn’t bring value to your customer and further enhance your relationship with them, then you don’t need it.  Printed collateral has its place and can be key to face-to-face meetings you have with potential clients, employees, and consultants. It has a life and it creates an interaction between you and the reader. It lasts, unlike Twitter which is only good for about 8 seconds before it disappears.

The best way to start planning your collateral is with a Creative Brief. This is an outline of what you want to accomplish and how you will get it all done. You’ve done the research and studied identity, and having a Creative Brief will help you stay on track with the images and messages that help you tell the world who you are. A good brief will have a series of questions that will help pinpoint the purpose and identify the best method of delivery to the right audience. If you use an outside agency, like Giba Group (hint hint) a good brief will inspire the team to design and write the perfect message.

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