Posted on August 8, 2016
Brochures are still a big part of how the financial services industry communicates. But the problem is that in a world full of diminishing attention spans, marketers are having to work much harder to make their brochures stand out and do something different.
This is resulting in an impressive array of printed designs and finishing techniques, and they look beautiful – they really do – but the cost is staggering.
Such big investments of time and money are a big risk for something that may very likely end up in a bin or at the bottom of the “I’ll get around to reading it later” pile.
Without abandoning the brochure format and culture altogether, is it time for a change?
Online and digital formats offer an increasingly smart way to revitalise your brochures and try something new. They’re often achievable at a fraction of the cost and time and come with all the additional benefits of digital marketing: associated analytics, alignment with user habits, and zero waste.
Here are three of our favourite, innovative ways to produce brochures in 2016, highlighting formats we have either already implemented for our clients, or are enjoying trying and testing for further development.
1. Interactive PDFs
Interactive PDFs are a popular choice for many of our financial services clients. Often designed to look and operate in a similar way to simple, flat web pages, they feel familiar and are easy to navigate. Functionality is fairly basic – no 3D page turning effects here – but still enough to produce something engaging and appealing. Interactive buttons, forms, hyperlinks, image rollovers, slideshows, and videos: rather than just passively reading, your audience is invited to join in.
Readers are much less likely to skim-read, and their interest in a topic can be quickly directed to specific actions: why not contact us here, visit this page, fill in this data? Done right, this, in turn, means you can respond more quickly, making the most of buying interest while it’s hot.
Interactive PDFs are easily distributable: via email, website download, or even copied onto a branded USB memory sticks as part of a promotion. Their only real drawback is their limited compatibility with mobile devices, but saying that, most functionality aside from video playback does seem to work fine. We currently show our Talisman portfolio as an interactive pdf on our iPad Pro, and it works very well.
2. Online publishing
Online publishing websites offer another approach to traditional brochure publishing. Here, you can still design your financial services brochure in the same way you would for print, using InDesign or QuarkXpress. But instead of paying for expensive print and complicated finishing, you just upload a pdf of your brochure to a service like Issuu and their widget will quickly turn it into a slick, online version.
It’s a great way to keep the brochure style that is familiar to your readers, but because it’s online, you’re not limited by print runs and gain access to potentially millions more readers. Your brochure can be shared via email campaigns, social media, and websites. You may even attract new readers simply from the millions of visitors that use websites like Issuu every month looking for publications that interest them.
Like interactive PDFs, online brochures can be made fully interactive, allowing you to add videos, links, and navigation. Issuu’s software offers additional functionality, too. For example, you can highlight links on a page for a brief moment when the page is turned to encourage the reader to click, and the software adds a nice 3D, glossy look.
The result is a paper ‘look’ brochure that feels like it’s sprung to life by magic.
3. Adobe Digital Publishing Solution
This last one is our favourite.
My colleague Sarah, posted a blog about an earlier version of this publishing software back in October of last year, and we liked it then. Since then, it’s been updated further and is now even easier to use.
The big selling point for Adobe Digital Publishing Solution is its mobile potential. The software allows you to create mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows using intuitive design tools and frameworks. Designers and marketers can quickly create beautiful brochures in app form using nuanced navigational structures, all backed by native working code.
Adobe DPS is the tech behind Top Gear Magazine and the in-flight magazine of Qantas Airways. Their success is proving an inspiring act to follow. With virtually no paid marketing, traffic to the Qantas app increased 6x over in the last six months of 2015, and now averages 125,000 monthly page views.
Recently, I’ve been exploring the benefits of this software and having fun adapting our PDF Talisman portfolio to a new app-based design. There’s no denying this one needs a little more investment in cost and time, but Adobe have made it easy to use, and it looks fantastic.
Although we’re not used to thinking of apps as a financial services publishing medium, their potential to make attention-grabbing brochures is not to be underestimated. Adobe DPS software gives you the opportunity to create compelling content with all the popularity, and usability of the phone apps we’re used to using.
If you’re looking for a way to engage a new generation of readers with your financial news and communication, this is it.