Friday, 25 February 2011

An new start with a new brochure...

Now I am going to start by admitting something that is often very hard for people like me to say..

I got it wrong.. (you can quote this)..

Now that statement has a pretty wide scope to it, so let me put it into perspective for you. When I first started Dovcor, my knowledge ran to how to make good products. I had no clue how to sell them, and certainly not how to market them correctly.

So like any good student, I got a few brochures, studied them, and then set about taking the best bits from each and making my first brochure. Now logic states that this should leave me with the best brochure going... but it didn't.. so what went wrong?

Well firstly, it was based upon everyone else's brochure.. meaning it had no individual identity.. I was telling people we were different.. but our brochure didn't say it (well it did actually, in written form, but not in terms of looks).

It had a good layout, it had nice bathroom sets, and it even had the prices laid out so as to show the total price you pay.. and yet it just didn't work. Now there are a few reasons for this, toilets blocking vital design pieces, and roofs visible in reflections, but these were minor points.

In reality the brochure neither worked as a sales piece or represented who we are.

The first part is straight forward... you can't put your best selling unit near the back of the brochure and expect people to find it, if its your best unit.. show it off.

But the second issue, the one of not representing Dovcor is a hard one.. and one that took me too long to figure out.

I suppose its like being a parent, so proud of what I had created I was blind to its failings. Essentially, as I set off I knew nothing of the importance of image to a brand, and now from my own failings I have learnt just how vital it is.

Image doesn't just mean getting the products right..its far more complicated than that. If you have a brand, everything you do should match that brand, your people, your website, and especially your brochure. What we had were designer products, with a run of the mill brochure.. 2+2 certainly did not equal four.

We had a £600 unit essentially being sold under the same marketing technique as a £50 one, albeit with expensive paper! What I had failed to realise was that while others had made this mistake, their brands were already established with the stores, so it didn't matter if they got it wrong... so much so that getting it wrong became the industry norm.

To anyone looking in from the outside, this norm appeared to be the way forward, so those inexperienced in the industry would quite naturally fall into the trap, but a years hard experience has taught me to follow my instincts and create a brochure which is unlike any other.

By taking the good points of other brochures, while making a statement about our brand image throughout I could get 95% of the way there, but there were a few big calls I had to make.

1. To put in the original drawings to replace the traditional range shots when introducing the ranges

A big call, never done before, but I had this image of Jaguar cars in my head, showing you the design stage and how it was really effective. Room sets still play a big part, but they support rather than lead the brochure.

Reason - its different, they look great and we design all of our products, why not be proud of it?

2.  To make the brochure A5 landscape not the standard A4 portrait

Again, a big call, but with all these big brochures hanging around people can neither carry them easily or tell them apart! A4 is an unnatural size for a picture, so why squash it upwards to fill space.. with A5 landscape we get a compact brochure that easily displays a drawing or a photo.

Reason - its different, they look great, they are user friendly and they fit in a handbag

3. To take the prices out of the brochure

With all the havoc of re-prints due to VAT changes there was a reason to do this, but more subtly, I think pricing up products throughout cheapens the brochure. People are shopping around more than ever, so they are not going to expect to pay the RRP in any case!

Reason - its different, it looks more up market and it allows the customer to dream

4. Less is more

If you open a competitor brochure, the first thing that hits you is a page of text.. we open with two blank white pages and a quote from apple founder Steve Jobs:

"The difference between leaders and followers is innovation"

Reason - it sets the tone for the whole brochure in one sentence and uses Apple's brand image to stimulate a correlation to ours. A cheat to get the gut instinct reaction we are looking for.

All in all, the new brochure is stunning, it may have driven me crazy over the past 6 months but its exactly what I wanted it to be.. a statement of intent that we are different.. and a true reflection of our brand.. so please request one and give me your feedback.. I will be starting the next one soon enough!

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