How fancy is your firm’s capabilities brochure?

Just when I thought nobody wanted a firm brochure anymore, I get a call from an upstart accounting firm. The sole proprietor had already created a “do it yourself” website, and she also wanted to have a printed brochure to provide clients and prospects.

capabilities brochure

Print brochure samples courtesy of Kelly Palmer

The capabilities brochure banter

“What kind of capabilities brochure options do you have?” she asked.

“What kind of information do you want to disseminate, and who is your target audience?” I asked.

The usual answers came forth,

“Something about me and my background, a description of my services, my contact information and I really want it to sell them on me. My prospective accounting clients are small businesses and individuals with fairly complex tax filing needs.”

“Don’t you have a listing of options from me to pick and choose from, you know like the way I did in choosing the level of website I just acquired online?” she asks.

“Well, no I don’t offer a canned brochure product. I try to make each brochure unique to the client.” I replied.

And frankly, between you and me, it seems everyone is the best at what they do, or at least they think so. It can be a real challenge to write something about a person or firm that makes them truly stand out. Isn’t everybody client-centric, skilled beyond human limitations, etc.?

So, you write good copy that flows well and tells their story as best as it can be told; and by teaming with competent art directors we can make a brochure stand out as coming from a professional, quality-minded professional service firm.

The request for a list of canned options did get me thinking, especially since the CPA firm owner did not have much in the way of budget. So, I offered her a brochure option using the “good, better, best” analogy. Here’s the basic description of each:

Good, better and best capabilities brochure options

  • Good Brochure: a simple sheet of 8.5 X 11 or 11 X 14 (legal size) that is ultimately machine-folded in order to fit into a number #10 envelope or perhaps a desktop brochure holder. Most businesses today go with color, versus one-color or two-color that might be a bit more economical to print.
  • Better Brochure: a presentation brochure/folder (approximately 9 X 12 when folded) that includes copy on a stapled insert (usually 8.5 X 11), and may have a pocket for additional materials, plus a slit for a business card. Printed on heavy 15PT card stock and 100# Gloss Cover, giving it durability and a higher level of impressiveness, versus the “good” approach.
  • Best Brochure: an “image” brochure is a capabilities brochure on steroids. It might be a unique size and shape, and with a unique paper stock. It might have “see-through” tissue paper when you open the first page. It might have a folder pocket. It can be a bit costly, but if one wants to impress, the image brochure will do the job.

My capabilities brochure recommendation

As a startup accounting firm, she was in the early stages of building her solo, professional reputation and client base. She offered accounting and financial services to individuals and businesses, as well as tax services and QuickBooks services/training.

If your accounting doesn’t have much money, then the good brochure may be your only option to get a professional quality capabilities brochure, written by a skilled copywriter and designed by a proficient graphic designer. It was just right for her startup accounting firm for now, and she can step up to a higher quality level as she grows her accounting practice.

However, if you really want to stand out, and you have a reasonable budget, you should consider the “better brochure” or the “best brochure.” They have size, which makes an impression. Think of how you get your mail. If you get a letter in a #10 envelope and another in a 9 x 12 envelope, which do you open first? Hands down, I bet it’s the larger envelope because it grabs your attention. It’s perceived as more important, even if the smaller envelope holds a check for you.

It’s good to know that even though I’ve jumped headfirst into online marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, or whatever handle you might use, there are many people and businesses who still value the qualities of printed marketing collateral. This begs the question, do you have a firm brochure, and how would you describe it?

Note: read more about marketing brochures.