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Marketing: Brush up on brochure basics

Every Issue

Cite as: (2005) 79(7) LIJ, p. 95

After your business card, your corporate brochure is the next most important marketing tool.

Surely the quality of my work speaks for itself. A brochure seems like such a waste of money and you can hardly put much information in it. What would I use it for anyway?
– Outer suburban practitioner

The basics of any marketing activity start with a couple of straightforward tools – your business card and corporate brochure.

There is a distinction between “corporate” material and material designed to provide information about an area of law for the benefit of clients, existing and potential. The mistake many firms (and businesses generally) make is to try to do both things in one publication.

Corporate publications are focused on the practice, what it does and what it offers. They are “about you”.

Other publications, such as factsheets, flyers and newsletters, show your expertise or offer information about an area of law. These kinds of materials are more “about them” (the client).

Corporate brochure basics

Corporate brochures can be distributed in response to general inquiries or when you do presentations. They can be provided to a number of complementary businesses and referrers in your area, made available in your office’s reception area or included in any kind of promotional direct mail.

A professional corporate brochure clearly outlining your service may be the first impression people get of your firm and most people will expect you to have one.

The corporate brochure should answer the basics in about 500 words. It should detail:

  • the services you provide;
  • the benefits or value from engaging your service;
  • reasons why to pick you (a one paragraph biography on your firm’s skills/experience/ qualifications); and
  • firm contact details (phone, email and web address).

The information should be standard and static – partly because this is the purpose of the publication (think of it as a form of advertisement) and partly to contain costs by avoiding the need to redesign and print.

Size and format
For most practices – that is, those that do not have their own marketing teams or a marketing person – a standard DL brochure is enough to do the job. It is an A4 piece of paper folded twice (roll folded) so that it fits into a standard business envelope, which will save money in postage as well.

While irregular sizes look lovely, they cost extra because you have to pay for larger sized paper which is then cut into the size you want. Stick to “standard” sizes such as A4 or A3 as they can be folded in various ways for much less cost.

Using a designer or desktop publisher
A professional will apply your logo or any corporate colours tastefully and creatively, and make you look polished. Desktop publishers are generally cheaper per hour than graphic designers because of a difference in creative skills and qualifications. Either will be able to advise on paper, format and printing options. They will probably have established relationships with printers of which you can make use.

Be prepared to pay somewhere between $100 and $200 per hour and ensure you brief the designer clearly about what you want to achieve. Get them to provide you with a rough idea of how much time they will need (and the bill). Always ask to see other work they have done and clarify the number of drafts included in the cost (two is reasonable).

An absolute essential in getting this right and containing cost is to ensure that you provide the designer with final text for your publication – that is, completely final, spellchecked, full stopped and utterly, utterly finished. Text changes can often lead to significant layout changes and that will cost you.

Printing tips
Printers (and designers) will want to know how many you intend to print, whether it is one, two or full-colour, the PMS colours required, single or double-sided, paper quality, size, turnaround time, delivery points, type of binding and if your publication requires a “bleed”. Colour that bleeds – that is, goes right to the edge of the paper and leaves no white border, is more expensive because it requires a larger sized paper and trimming.

There are digital and offset printers – many now do both. Digital tends to be better for smaller print runs, offset for large ones.

A tip with printing: printing fewer items will cost you more per item – so it’s better to bite the bullet and do a larger print run because it will cost you less over the course of a year or so (the fact that your brochure should be static information will help). If you’re doing a DL, roll fold, double-sided, full-colour (with bleed) brochure, you will be looking at somewhere around $800 for 1000 or $1800 for 10,000. Obviously, this is an approximation – but you can see the point about getting a larger quantity.

To do this month

• Assess your current corporate brochure against the content criteria – is it succinct and does it spell out the firm’s offering clearly and directly?
• If you don’t have a corporate brochure, have a go at drafting one using the outline above.
• Ask around for a desktop publisher or designer you could use – ask businesses in your practice neighbourhood or your local office supplies shop for contacts.
• Make sure you replicate the information in your brochure on your website if you have one – the content should be consistent.
• Review where you are distributing your brochures – do all your referrers have a few handy to give to potential clients?
• See flyer insert in this LIJ for information on LIV brochures and Client News which can be used to market to your customers. If you are not familiar with these, contact us on ph 9607 9466 to obtain copies and decide whether you can use them.

ALICIA PATTERSON is LIV Marketing manager and the former Victorian marketing manager of a large national law firm. She has extensive experience in marketing communications and PR campaigns. She can be contacted on ph 9607 9464.


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