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Factors which determine what information to include in a brochure

By: Avinash Narula

Just as in the case of any kind of advertising and promotional material, one of the key question that comes up while developing brochures is what all information should be included in it. The volume and type of information you include in a brochure will depend on the following factors:

1. Promotional structure: The promotional structure will guide you in terms of what and how much information should be included in a brochure (Article on promotional structure available on this website). The type of information we include in a brochure as we go down the promotional structure shifts from macro to micro level and from brief to detailed information.

2. Costs: It is obvious that the more informative and detailed brochure you make, the more costly it becomes. The cost increase is not only in terms of designing and printing cost but also in terms of mailing cost. Somehow whenever we think of the cost of brochures, most of us do not think of the mailing cost. You will be surprised to note that the cost of postage can at times be higher than the cost of printing a brochure. One of my clients was so conscious of the mailing cost that he took the decision on the size of the brochure as well as the type of paper to use based on the applicable mailing cost. He made sure that the complete mailing package fell within the weight slab for minimum postage. If the weight of the mailing package would have fallen in the next slab, the mailing cost would have gone up by 60%.

You have also to look at costs from another perspective. Let us suppose you have sent a mailer with minimal information in order to save costs. Now the interested customer asks for more information. Now again you will be spending money on postage, another brochure and an envelope. So when you think of costs you need to keep in mind the complete marketing and sales process as well as the communication process with your customer. You cannot think in isolation about just one piece of advertising and promotional material that you are preparing.

3. Target market: The amount and type of information that you would include in a brochure would also depend on your target audience. Technical people are more detail oriented while the general public and general management executives are more concept oriented. So if you are trying to sell a technical product to the CEO of a company, the information that you include in the brochure would be brief and presented in a conceptual form. On the other hand, when you approach the technical people in the same company you will have no choice but to give more detailed technical information.

As mentioned before, the promotional structure helps in developing a range of advertising and promotional material that meets the requirements of the different segments of the target audience. The Corporate and the Product Line brochure will be less detailed and will deal with products and services in a conceptual manner. These will be ideal for the CEOs, financial and general management audience in the company. On the other hand, the detailed Product brochures will address the need of the technical people for more details.

4. Awareness Level: If the awareness of your company, brand and products is high, the need for giving detailed information is reduced. This is because most people are aware of your company, brands and products. In such cases, you are advertising more for reminder purposes than for convincing people to buy your products.

5. Distribution Method: How will the brochure be distributed? Whether the brochure will be mailed or placed at the point of sale for customers to pick up will also determine the amount of information to be included in the brochure. Usually, a mailer which is mailed at the home of the prospective customer can have more information as he is expected to have more time at home to read the same. However, if the mailer is being sent to a customer in his office, the information needs to be brief. While in office, an executive is very busy and does not have much time to read brochures. Also, if the brochure is placed at the point-of-sale, the information has to be brief as the customer is on the move and does not have much time to read a lengthy brochure.

6. Objective: What do you want to achieve? What is the objective of your brochure? What do you want the customer to do? Do you want him to make a purchase decision or you just want him to get interested in your product and ask for more information? Do you want to increase awareness level? Do you want the customer to try your product? The amount and type of information you include in a brochure will depend on what your objective is. If you want the customer to make a purchase decision, you will need to give him as detailed information as possible. If you want to generate enquiries, you need to give as little information as possible but be sure to present the same in an interesting manner.

7. Type of product / services: Simple FMCG products do not require too much information to be given. However, as products and services become more and more technical, generally the amount of information that needs to be given to the customer increases.

8. Changing information: Developing and printing brochures is expensive. As such, you have to take steps to ensure that the “shelf-life” of the brochure is long by not including information that is expected to change in the short-term. The following information will shorten the “shelf-life” of the brochure:

(a) Prices: Unless the brochure is designed to promote a specific promotional offer or it’s an Order Generation Brochure, you are advised not to include prices in the brochure. For instance, prices should not be mentioned in the Corporate Brochure.

(b) Special offers and schemes: You can discuss the special offer if it’s a brochure to promote the special offer. Details of the special offer should not be mentioned in the Corporate or Product Line / Brand Brochures.

(c) Names: Names of employees except maybe the names of the promoters of the company should not be mentioned in the brochures. Employees move around a lot but the probability that a promoter of the company will move in the short-term is low.

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