What is collateral? Broadly speaking, collateral is a collection of all the physical touchpoints your audience has with your brand. Traditionally, collateral refers to tangible promotional materials, such as business cards, brochures, POS displays, banners, direct mail pieces and product packaging. It can also include branded items like coffee mugs, jackets, flash drives, umbrellas, and other goodies you might hand out at a trade show.
How collateral supports your business
You want your customers and prospects to recognize your brand when they see it. Consistency is key for making that happen. You’ve surely heard the marketing rule of seven, which says someone needs to see or hear your message seven times to remember it. That’s where marketing collateral comes in! It’s a piece of your larger communications puzzle that helps you set your brand apart by presenting it multiple times in multiple ways. Through this repetition, your audience will come to associate your brand (logo, tagline, color scheme, fonts and more) with your business.
Just like a painter needs certain tools to do their job – paint rollers, paint, drop cloths and tape – a salesperson needs tools to perform theirs. In this case, printed materials like business cards, brochures and folders give your sales team the tools they need to effectively schedule appointments, make pitches and follow up with prospects.
A leave-behind packet, like a nice folder with waterfall inserts, can be a little pricey to create and produce. But if that $7 folder lands you a $10,000 job, it was worth the investment! You wouldn’t want your dentist to buy the cheapest tools on the market, so don’t leave your sales team hanging with inadequate tools, either.
Awesome first impressions
First impressions matter! In fact, a report by PwC shows that 41% of senior business leaders make decisions based on instinct. That’s why first impressions matter. Don’t make a bad one by printing off a brochure on your desk printer or ordering cheap business cards online.
Collateral materials convey your message and make an impression for you. What story does your business card tell? Consider things like color, paper weight and texture, and even the shape of your cards. An orthodontist might use a quality paper that’s die-cut to look like teeth, then foiled to look like braces. A wealth advisor, on the other hand, may choose something more understated that speaks of quality and discretion, like a thick, heavy paper with simple lettering and rich colors.
Your business doesn’t serve everyone. You know who your ideal customers are, and branded collateral gives you the opportunity to position your business for the exact audience you wish to attract.
First, identify who it is you want to attract and what problem you’re trying to solve for them. Then, design your collateral to meet their needs, and firmly establish your position in the market.
For example, a family-friendly restaurant may print menus that are laminated for easy cleaning and have lots of colorful pictures. They’ll probably also print a second version on plain paper that includes a kids’ menu and activities to keep children occupied.
An upscale restaurant, however, is more likely to have a menu that’s printed on heavy, textured paper, with a clean, simple layout. They might present the menu in a leather folder. Nothing on the menu has to say “elegant, upscale dining,” because a customer can sense that already from the atmosphere and the menu’s look.
Like the menu example above, the way you present your brand begins telling the story of you who are and whom you serve. In your materials, you may wish to include actual stories, too, like case studies, success stories, and client testimonials. Those content pieces literally tell your story. Your materials can speak for your brand, even when you’re not there.
Investing in your employees by presenting them with branded materials is a good way to show you care about them. It’s also a good way to help them take ownership and act as brand ambassadors. You don’t have to spend a fortune here, and your investment can vary depending on your situation. If you’re rebranding or updating your look, it’s a great time give employees branded products like shirts and travel mugs. But any time is a good time to provide them with things like pens, notepads and ID lanyards that will let them rep your brand and feel more pride in your business. Don’t forget, screen-printed or embroidered items like t-shirts, hats, blankets and pullovers make great employee appreciation gifts, too!
Ready to refresh or expand your brand collateral? Contact us!
When you choose Accuserv, you get more than a great-looking product. You also get service, creativity and experience you can trust.
Our print & collateral division ensures your company gets what it deserves: complete pricing transparency, direct access to a world-wide selection of manufacturers, the best products at the best prices, a technology platform that provides custom e-commerce solutions, and the support of hard-working Accuserv employees ready to ensure your products are delivered efficiently and on time.
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