What is a brochure? (alt)

People choose television, newspapers or other similar mediums to advertise their products. But for those that can't afford it, a brochure can be the best advertising option there is. It's definitely not as expensive as other types of mediums and it's also easier to make.


Brochure definition

A brochure is a leaflet or, otherwise known as a pamphlet, usually made out of one or more pieces of printed paper. Brochures may either have typified dimensions, or different dimensions and fold numbers.

A brochure is actually an advertising piece, generally used to present a company and let a target audience know about its products and/or services. They can be handed personally, distributed by mail or placed in brochure racks.


Possible purposes of a brochure

Brochures explain the purpose and services offered by your organization. They're useful for almost any perspective in which your group needs to be introduced to someone. If the information you have is too extensive to tell basic facts about – how can you be contacted, what your mission is, services provided by your organization, etc. - making up a brochure should definitely be taken into consideration.

It can easily provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding your organization. If you receive too many questions like "Do I qualify to receive your services?" or "How can I volunteer?", then you really need to consider coming up with a brochure. Perhaps it will not stop people from asking all sorts of questions, but it will at least give you a quick way to provide an answer to them.

Brochures can also provide specific information about the steps to be followed in order to reach specific results. If there's a particular process you want to teach people about, a brochure is a very suitable way to accomplish that. For example, explain sleep disorder types with the help of a brochure or come up with one about how people can avoid salmonella by properly handling raw meat.

A brochure tells readers how to find out more about your organization. It will give them the necessary information to get involved in any activity you want them to be interested in - making a contribution for example. You can include any relevant information about your group, from how it was formed to what staff members handle different departments.

Another thing brochures can do is to educate people about a particular event or program. If you are planning a big event such as an annual fundraising or if your group is sponsoring a peer counseling service, you can detail everything about these special events in a brochure.


Targeted audience

Brochures can be designed for a wide general audience or they can be directed towards a specific group. The idea is to decide whether to have brochures targeting each group or the average group interested in your company's information, along with those groups that you would like to be more interested in what your organization has to offer.

Possible targeted groups can include: potential funders, possible clients, potential sponsors, potential members or volunteers, the press, potential community supporters and partners or the general public.


How can brochures be distributed?

A brochure is a very flexible tool to send information through to targeted groups or to the public. Distribution can be made in different ways. One of them is direct mailing to targeted people, based on mailing lists for example. Another way is to give them to clients when visiting them, pass them around when at meetings, conferences, seminars, etc. or leave them at locations that are easily accessible. They can also be simply attached to reports or proposals, inserted into a press kit or presentation folder, distributed in workshops and classes or given to potential volunteers and employees.

If you plan to make brochures for your own group, be sure they are available anywhere your group is being represented.


Steps to making a brochure

A first step would be to gather examples and ideas. You can start by collecting a few sample brochures that you like. Get acquainted with those styles, graphics and writing methods that most catch your attention and that you are considering using in your own brochure.

Project brainstorming is a second and very important step. Try to firstly limit the information you want to include in your brochure. In order to do that, ask yourself what will be the brochure's target audience and how much time and money you have available to put together the brochure. Then decide who are the people that will be given an advance input on the project, those who will coordinate the brochure's making of and the people that will give you feedback on brochure drafts.

Make an outline. It will give you a chance to decide on how to organize your brochure and the target you want it to have. If the objective is to make a general informational brochure you should ensure it contains the purposes and goals that your organization has.

The topics must have a logical sequence and fit the brochure's general layout. You should also decide the order that the intended information should be presented in. You can try to first draft it out on a folded piece of paper, just like your brochure will be folded.


How to write and design a brochure

It's very important to use only clear and concise sentences. The simpler, the better, otherwise you risk confusing the reader. Also avoid jargon. It would be a mistake to assume the public uses the same terminology as you do. Most people would rather understand what "required" means than "mandated", for example.

Another important thing to do is to avoid clichés like "the tip of the iceberg" and also repetitions like same phrases or ideas, including words that are similar to ones already used.

Correct spelling is also a very important issue. There are expressions used in everyday life that might give your organization an unprofessional look, therefore damaging your credibility within the community. It's recommended to avoid these purposeful misspellings and spellings like "thru" or "nite". And don't forget to use the active voice because it's more direct and much easier to understand than the passive voice. Take the phrase "He should wash his hands after handling raw meat" as an example, instead of "His hands should be washed after handling raw meat".

Once you have done all of this, then develop a draft of the copy. It will give you an idea on how much available space do you really have.

This is what you need to take into account when making a typical brochure. The front cover usually holds a title, the name of your organization and probably a logo and a slogan. Your contact information will often end up on the back of the brochure and will include full contact details of your organization (name, address, phone and fax number, e-mail, website). A return address should be mentioned on an outside panel of the brochure, along with a blank area to write an address or stick a mailing label on. This will save costs with the envelopes.

The inside of a brochure is usually the part that gives a few details about what your program targets and the benefits it has for those who become involved in it. It can also include a summary on the history of your organization and directions to access, or simply use the services provided, even staff information if desired to be included.


Brochure functions

One of the most important functions of a brochure is the informative function, which informs potential customers with regards to your company. The information is related to the company's presentation, a new service or product offered by the company or any other recent change in your company's structure.

The identification function is what allows your organization to be recognized automatically, based on the same design concept unified in all brochure types. It gives your company credibility and prestige. And it's equally important to have a well designed logo to start your advertising campaign with.

A brochure has also an advertising function, being a very important advertising tool that allows you to promote one or several services or products. This function has two characteristics: it has an immediate effect and it's a material object at the same time.

These three functions should interact one with the other, thus resulting the brochure. One function may stand out more, but the design of the brochure should not be affected by it. Let's say your organization decides to design a brochure for a new product that it's launching. The function expected to stand out will be the advertising one, even if the brochure could also contain product information and company representation details.

On the other hand, if a project is presented to executives from another company, the primary function would be the identification one. This makes your organization to be seen as a prestigious and secure one, while both advertising and informative functions would be positioned in a second place.

Brochures are very important to your corporate image. The best brochure format must be agreed on together with your design company as it is decisive for efficient company identification. You basically have to decide which design is more convenient to maximize your benefits.

In summary, planning your company brochure includes:

  • Setting the objective and function of the brochure
  • Highlighting one of its functions
  • Marking those functions in the brochure, even though one stands out more than the other
  • Choose the appropriate brochure format depending on its objective

Making up a brochure can be difficult but it can be very helpful to easily explain what your organization does, to answer questions, educate your audience or successfully promote an event. By following the above mentioned steps, you will design professional-looking brochures that will significantly improve your efficiency to communicate with a wide range of audiences.



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