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Don’t skimp on the printing process

Posted by: Thomas Harrison-Lord on 6 September 2017

I received a brochure through the post last week. If you know me, then you will not be surprised to learn that it was for a car, the stunning Alfa Romeo Giulia. The car is way out of my price range, but I still decided to have a quick flick through nonetheless.

The car is priced between £30,000 and £60,000, aimed squarely at the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. These are popular cars with a premium image. Alfa Romeo has a reputation for looking great, being average to drive, and falling short when it comes to reliability. The new Giulia is meant to be a step-change for the brand and is charged with increasing sales.

It was a shame then, that the brochure was falling apart before I opened it. The paper was disconnected from the bottom staple, as each page turn threatened to create an imbroglio of paper.

Alfa Romeo Brochure

If I were in the market for a new £30,000 saloon, this would not speak to me on a positive level. Having spent all the money on the excellent chassis, clearly the budget had run out when it came to the marketing team. This is a great shame, first impressions count. It brought back bad memories of Alfa Romeo reliability.

The importance of not skimping on the right promotional elements is crucial. The design and imagery in the brochure were of a high standard, but the print production quality was lacking.

It can often be tempting to spend a fortune on producing the perfect brochure or catalogue, only to cut corners on the printing process. In a previous life, I worked on the creation of a hair and beauty catalogue. The business needed to save money across the whole production process, but the understanding was that quality could not take a hit.

Parker Redfined Brochure

The solution was to visit many different suppliers and ask for test copies to be created. Most print businesses will offer this for free, or at least provide like-for-like samples that already exist. We also decided to make the catalogue physically a bit smaller, scaling down from roughly A4 size, to something more between A4 and A5 – similar to the smaller versions of magazines in WH Smith airport branches.

The upshot was a new printer that could provide the same high quality, but in a smaller size, using less paper and thus reducing costs. The end consumer received something that was easier to carry and we saved money; but crucially, quality was not sacrificed.

Both cases are a reminder that print materials can and do take significant investment to get right, but it is critical to campaign success that production is of a high standard. So many companies are eager to cut costs, which I fully understand, but a leaflet, brochure or catalogue also has to represent your brand values otherwise things can quickly fall apart, sometimes literally!

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