The biggest single failing in 90 per cent of business brochures we see is their self-congratulatory nature.
When people sit down to write their brochure copy, it’s almost as if they’ve imagined a visit from Michael Aspel and he’s announced: “[Insert business name], this is your life.”
They immediately lose sight of the purpose and target audience of their brochure and instead set about bragging.
It’s such an easy trap to fall into that we’re going to call upon the services of Daniel Day-Lewis to help you avoid it.
Rather than your business, imagine you’re writing a brochure for Daniel Day-Lewis. The work has dried up and he’s pitching to directors for parts through the medium of a brochure.
The guy has won three Best Actor awards at the Oscars – he’s got plenty to show off about. It would be easy to follow the same route that millions of other brochures have gone down before:
Triple Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis is the ideal leading man
Daniel Day-Lewis is the world’s greatest actor. With no fewer than three best actor Academy Awards to his name, Day-Lewis’ talent, versatility and pedigree set him apart from the competition…
Do his customers – in this case film directors – care about those things? Yes, but that showy, self-absorbed tone immediately irritates readers. They’re probably wondering if this person who thinks they’re so great is really someone they want to work with.
It would be far more effective to view those key selling points through a director’s eyes. What’s in it for them? What do they care about?
Instead of boasting about Daniel’s previous achievements, why not appeal to a director’s ambitions to win an Oscar in the future?
An easy piece of casting that will boost your Oscar chances.
Did you know that one-in-five Daniel Day-Lewis performances earn Academy Award nominations? Put your movie in the mix come awards season…
What are your ‘directors’ looking for?
Now apply those principles to your own business. Yes, you want to appear in the best possible light in your brochure, but idle boasting won’t necessarily achieve that.
Instead, think about how your achievements and experience will benefit your reader. View everything you include in the brochure from a potential client’s perspective.
Day-Lewis can help you here, too. He’s renowned for his method acting, which involves sinking himself into the psyche of the person he’s playing and often staying ‘in character’ while he’s making the film.
You don’t need to go to those extremes, but you should build up a picture of your reader. What are they called? Where do they work? What matters to them?
Remember, there are plenty of opportunities for in-house backslapping. The brochure is about what’s important to the target reader.