Thursday, March 27, 2014

Manage your next corporate capability publication

Few would dispute the keystone significance of a corporate capability brochure, even as the Internet has (for some businesses) superseded an actual print rendition. Building a website has similar issues. Those who have been through the process know what a minefield the development process can be for any major communications work. Here I share my notes for taking on and managing such projects.

Identify your audiences.
Keep in mind ALL of your company╩╝s potential publics, including: prospects, customers, vendors, bankers, employees and investors.

Note the development & production process
•— Concept development
•— Concept refinement with mockups, user interface design
•— Creative development - Research, Writing, Imaging
•— Prototype design and graphics with content text and images
•— Hosted Staging, testing. For brochure: Print ready artwork and print specifications
•— Live rollout. For brochure: Print production and distribution

A good plan well executed will fulfill its mission, net greater returns, have a longer life than an ill-conceived or poorly executed work.

Involve stakeholders from the outset
Nobody likes surprises, from the executive suite to the boots on the ground. Establish a representative team for the mission. Consider involving important partners, too. With skin in the game the hierarchy ensures that buy in is complete.

Research. Discuss. Listen.
It’s not just a marketing exercise. Collect many points of view from a broad variety of sources. C-level execs, managers, product engineers, department managers, sales and application engineers, HR. Begin with a free-form wish list from each stakeholder. Work this into a more detailed outline:
•— Introduction, company background
•— Capabilities & scope of operations
•— Industries and markets
•— Systems and products
•— How we work, sales & service support
•— Contact information, partner imprint.

However, avoid design by committee
Excessive delays in collecting input, proof approvals, etc., are the bane of any major project. Anyone missing a deadline forfeits bragging/bitching rights later. Not everyone’s opinion can or should be accommodated. Establish which experts will have final say for what project component.

What are others doing?
Review competitors, partners, suppliers samples to set the bar.
Develop a project timeline and stick to it.

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