If you want to promote yourself as a technical leader it might be worth thinking more traditionally.
This was certainly the case for our long-term client Zoetis for whom we recently designed a set of reference manuals that provide information on parasite treatment for cattle and sheep.
It was an interesting project, as in this highly digital world the animal pharmaceutical company wanted to produce something purely printed.
“One of the key focus points of the project was to produce a document that would be as simple as possible to access and use by the readers,” says FdK Partner Simon de Kretser.
“Our reader profile was predominantly suitably qualified persons (SQPs) and veterinary students, as well as practising vets and key opinion leaders (KOLs).”
SQPs in particular would use the manuals as a handy reference tool during training and when in sales conversations with farmer customers. This was the main reason for printing the manuals rather than making them available electronically, which would certainly have been cheaper to produce and distribute.
Printing them ensures the information can be quickly accessed and shared in environments where electronic devices and internet connection may not always be available. The wire-bound format and relatively small size also makes them easy to fit into a bag, large pocket or under a sales counter and easy to open and keep open at the relevant page.
The manuals have been produced in a neutral textbook-like format as Zoetis wants to show they engage with education, research, white papers and the opinion of KOLs, a number of whom have contributed to the content, together with Zoetis’s in-house expertise and experience on subjects such as physiology and parasitology.
All of this meant that the design needed to reflect the quality and authority of the content by being clear, consistent and logical throughout.
“The content is very comprehensive and technical, but the experience and understanding of the audience is very varied, so the manuals needed to be ‘all things to all men’ and clearly understood by both the experienced vet and the novice SQP,” says Simon.
“An ill-considered design that contained all of the same information but was dense and impenetrable would not have produced demand for the books across the wide range of people who are interested in sheep and cattle parasitology.”
But it is not just content design that is important and an often overlooked feature is the ‘feel’ of a document, something we were keen to make the most of for Zoetis.
This is another advantage a printed book has over a digital version and while it is tempting to consider cheaper and thinner materials in order to save costs, producing a book with a high quality feel and weight reinforces the proposition that the content within is also of high quality.
If you are thinking of using printed materials to connect with your customers, here are five things to consider:
– Ensure that you properly understand the profile and needs of your readers.
– ‘Content is King’ – make sure that your content is valuable and relevant.
– Make sure that the design and feel of the item is aligned with the core branding and values of your company.
– Establish a clear business case for producing an item and set measurable objectives for it so that you can properly assess its value to you and your customers.
– Don’t underestimate the positive effects of a well-considered, well-designed and high quality printed item in these days of ubiquitous digitalisation.