My previous blog was about figuring out where to start your new brochure. This blog will give you a little info about what to do next and help you answer the question about “brochure size”. I often get calls from clients asking me to quote a brochure, but that’s hard to do without more information than that. If you reviewed my last blog, you can use that info plus you’ll especially need to know how much text you’re going to have. The size and design of the brochure is, to a large degree, driven by the amount of text you have (aka “the ad copy”). To determine that, start with an outline of what you want the brochure to “cover”. If you’re working with an experienced advertising copywriter, and I hope you are, then they should be able to tell you if your outline is “correct” or not. Don’t be offended if the writer uses your outline as a general guide and creates a new one based on his or her experience. AFTER ALL that’s what you’re paying them for, right? A wonderful author. Roy H. Williams. who wrote “Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads”, said:
“In one critical aspect, the advertising business is unlike any other. The idea that the customer is always right may be true in every other business, but it will lead an advertising person to ruin just as surely as if he had jumped off a cliff. The ad writer who believes the client is always right will give the client what he requests instead of what he really needs. Everything will be roses in the short run, but when the campaign yields disappointing results, the ad person will get all the blame for the client’s bad idea.”
With that in mind, don’t forget ADVERTISING RULE #1: “Copywriters and designers are NOT MIND READERS”. No matter what you ask them to do, it’s very likely you’re going to have to provide them with feedback, and as a result, changes will need to be made. THAT’S TOTALLY NORMAL and an important part of the proofing process. You’re the one that knows your business and your ad consultant knows advertising and marketing. To get the best results out of any consultant, try to give them as much input as you can from the beginning. On the other hand, try to make them feel comfortable giving you feedback in return. There’s nothing worse than when a client verbally attacks a consultant. That only makes them afraid to tell the client the TRUTH (which is what they so desperately need to hear). Once you’ve agreed on the outline, then the writer can develop the text based on that. It’s usually at this point that a good ad person can give you an estimate of the size brochure you should do, even before the text is written. Just remember this, most clients want to say a lot more in their brochures than the ad person will generally recommend. Try to see things from your clients’ perspectives….they’re only going to give you so much time, so keep things short. (now look who’s talking). There’s a lot more to say about “advertising copy” but I’ll leave it at that for now. Next time, I’ll give you a run-down of the different “standard” brochures sizes.