Embrace the preparation of the Corporate Profile as one of the most important jobs you’ll do. A fascinating ‘top-down’ view of what the company is all about – with engaging and interesting copy – is a winner! If you can’t get a commitment from the top managers to do this kind of work, don’t get involved.
In essence, the above quote is what the director of a serious and well-established plastics company told me during the preparation stages towards producing a 4-page Corporate Profile about his enterprise. He wanted everything done ‘his way’. He said: “I just want a simple overview without any special claims and don’t bother with any eye-catching elements”. And these inputs were based on what? His evaluation of how his potential readers would review his publication or just his own limited and narrow experience?
OK, I’d accepted to do the project (Gulp!). I asked myself pretty early why he wanted a Corporate Profile at all! Was it just to pump up his own ego? Would there be anything different or valuable to say at all? How much effort would I need to invest in order to inject some added value?
The corporate profile of a company – the document near the top of the brochure pyramid – is one of the first things that potential customers and business partners see.
It should be composed in an engaging and different way. We all know how dull and self-serving such Profiles generally are. They don’t contain any special messages or claims. They don’t try to define what are the most interesting aspects of a company’s business. Instead they remain a mediocre summary of where the company has been and what it has done. I doubt that they have any real marketing effect at all.
For people like myself in the Marketing Communications business, always seeking to do something fresh and different, this is a deadening approach. The client is telling me “I don’t care what my readers are interested in; I care only what I am interested in”. Unfortunately in the industrial sphere, many people respond in this way. They are afraid to step outside their comfort zone. They produce brochures like they have always done. And potential readers ignore these documents like they’ve always done.
Where does that place me, as a senior specialist in my field? Well, I have to fulfill the present contract as it stands. I have to give the client what he wants. But I don’t have to continue working with him. I prefer to invest my energies in looking for, finding and serving more market-aware marketing people who actually want to create market support materials that succeed in moving the sales process forward.