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Collateral material?

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Todd TerryCollateral material?
by on Oct 29, 2010 at 3:33:26 pm

I'm curious what you guys, especially those who own or run production facilities, have in the way of marketing and collateral material.

We're a production company that mostly does broadcast commercials, and the vast majority of our work is for advertising agencies.

For a long time we didn't really have anything collateral-wise... I literally went the first three years without even having business cards. We started the company with more or less a closed group of clients in place and weren't soliciting (nor could handle) any outside business and didn't really need anything.

Flash forward a decade+ and we still don't really have anything (well, we all do have business cards, and of course a website). I've considered things like brochures about us or "info packets" or whatever, but have never gotten around to developing anything.

We're blessed to have a pretty full slate of work, but keep talking to death efforts to grow... and possibly move into the two neighboring markets (bigger cities, each about 100 miles away, one due north and one due south).

We'll probably approach that by hitting up the creative directors at ad agencies in those towns.

We presently can hand them a reel, but that's all.

I'll have to say our reel is quite good. It's nicely packaged, has great content, is fun to watch, and even narrated by Peter Thomas. BUT... you do have to get someone to watch a DVD for it to do any good.

I don't mind developing other pieces, especially since they would only cost us the printing (all of the development, graphic design, and layout would be done here in house), but I don't want to waste my time or money on something useless.

I'm just curious as to what else we might need to arrive with in hand when we visit these agencies. Other than our hats.

What do you guys have and use? And what seems to work?


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Matt TownleyRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:07:01 pm

We are in a bit of a different boat than you, because our core business is not production. Our primary business is CD/DVD/Blu-ray Risc duplication and replication, and that is supplemented by graphic design, disc authoring, encoding and some light editing for certain clients. Just this year we started offering production to some of our clients, but we only help produce and coordinate it, we don't shoot anything ourselves.

We have a 4 page brochure that acts as an overview of our company. It can stand on it's own without anything else and it has a little bit of something for everyone. It has worked really well to get clients asking questions like "oh, you can do that too?" or saying "wow, I never thought about doing that..."

In addition to this, we have single page rack cards that highlight our services and go into more detail about them. We have a matching presentation folder that we put the 4 page overview brochure in along with any rack cards for the products or services that are of the most interest to the specific client.

Having a "modular" system like this works well since we can print the overview brochures in bulk to save money and have them look really nice, but the specialty inserts we print in shorter runs to keep them updated more frequently.

Here is what the overview brochure looks like:

Here is a link to download the PDF of the overview brochure:

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Mike CohenRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:10:30 pm

Just a few weeks ago we made a new brochure to hand out at a trade show we were attending. We printed 30 copies and they all disappeared. We got a few leads, and now we use this brochure as a leave-behind as well as to send someone by mail along with samples if requested.

What we also got out of this exercise was a chance to work as a group to hone our message. If you can summarize your key services as some bullet points and some text, rather than a long video or long blocks of text, you have your proverbial foot in the door. Once you get someone's attention, that's when you can get to the details of not only what you offer, but how you do it.

As we prepare to launch our new website, this message will be there as well. We have not really advertised our services online before, since our website has always been a shopping website. But we like shoppers of production services too!

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer

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Rich RubaschRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 30, 2010 at 2:21:21 am

Hey Todd, You just described us! Even more we just purchased a 9000 square foot production studio building (up from our 1100 sq ft rental space) and we will have a grand opening in January (coming fast). I know we will have new business cards and now with the studio we probably have to have something to have for them. We post our rates on our site so we are very transparent about numbers. Might have to put together something to the print piece above...and soon!

But in the 10 years we've been in business I've pretty much had business cards and a reel....and a pretty good web site.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post

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Chris BlairRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 30, 2010 at 7:03:05 pm

Todd...we're similar to you in how we started, but we've always had some form of a print piece to hand out. At the start, we printed folders that had pockets for one-sheets with pricing or proposals and a slot for a CD or DVD disc.

Now we have a glossy tri-fold brochure, but we only print-on-demand...meaning we take it to a local printer and they'll print 50 or so off and fold them for us. Those usually last us several months. That said, it's a very nice looking brochure designed by a graphic designers we use on a freelance basis.

But we also do print design, websites, kioks, trade-show stuff etc. so it really helps us to show a printed piece along with demos of our video work.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
Read our blog

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amar bhadauriaRe: Collateral material?
by on Feb 12, 2011 at 5:55:40 am

hi sir,
i am fully agree with ur point that we have mentioned that If you can summarize your key services as some bullet points and some text, rather than a long video or long blocks of text, you have your proverbial foot in the door.
but sir, i am added some points in ur words, sir this time its a scenario of what we see that we buy, means that if we look at the items in front of us(customer). customer want that items much more from this, so the target customer is important, if u r not targeted your customer before launching your product. so it is necessary that, in current scenerio, this is equally important that we have to also mentioned the advertisement in the presence of video's, that effect the customer mind, it effect like
how to attract the customer and hw it is benificial to chieve the sales target,
another thing is feedback from the customer side means that we focused the customer side and get feedback of the product from the customer, what is impact of the customer from this, is this reliable for the customer and for how long time they can use this product,
so sir, please read my point if you like this, and forward me the feedback of these,
baically i am the management student from newdelhi(india),
thanking you,
Amar singh Bhadauria

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Nick GriffinRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 31, 2010 at 6:21:10 pm

Full disclosure at the start: We don’t have much in the way of collateral for ourselves. When needed we have a one-off, color laser-printed, spiral bound presentation book. It contains a brief company history/philosophy, bios on my partner and I along with bios on the key freelancers we routinely use and ends with a sampling of our print work. Often, when appropriate, we include a DVD sample reel of video work.

I justify this simple and sparse amount of leave-behind material two ways. 1) The shoemakers children go barefoot because the shoemakers are always busy making other people's shoes, and 2) We only pitch new people two or three times a year. Our company doesn't have a large number of clients coming to us for a small number of services, instead, and mostly because of our technical/industrial focus, we have a small, hopefully stable number of clients for whom we go very, very deep. Simply put the guy working on the client's print ads doesn't have to explain anything to the guy working on the web page, the guy writing and shooting the video or the guy writing the press releases and magazine stories because they are one in the same guy. Works for us, but everybody's business -- and especially everybody's marketplace -- is different.

So why did I bring all of this up and offer so much detail? Because we do enough print collateral and have for enough years to know that in the right circumstances it works. Note that earlier I referred to it as "leave-behind material." Collateral is most effective when it's being left behind after a face-to-face sales call. It's not a substitute for the sales call and it's certainly not something that's sent ahead of a meeting.

Well done collateral does three things very well. First it says on an un-spoken level that your company is for real. Someone with just a business card and a demo disk doesn't have the same level of substance and credibility. Paper weight, print quality and enhancements like varnishes and custom diecutting add to the cost of the collateral but this is offset by showing that you are even more "for real." Fly by night, here today/gone tomorrow companies seldom have good collateral. Companies of substance and tenure in the marketplace do.

Second well done collateral gives the person with whom you've had your face-to-face meeting a tool for selling you "up" to the boss/committee members who were NOT in the meeting. In the corporate arena as well as the ad agency world it's not at all unusual for the person accepting the meeting with you to be gathering information for the decision maker(s), so it helps to give that person relaying your message the best tools.

Third, printed collateral provides a structure to your sales message that talking alone cannot. People forget. Paper rarely does. A capabilities list that would take minutes to say, and sound silly in the process, makes an impressive column of printed information. Then there's the old truism about a picture being worth a thousand words. Add to that the fact that an illustration or diagram is often capable of communicating some information which just words cannot.

From what I understand of Todd's business I believe that a serious brochure or perhaps a folder with step-downs (insert pages of varying heights going from shortest in front to tallest behind) will be a worthwhile investment.

PS - I also think Matt's sales brochure is effective and accomplishes much of what's discussed above. But then I like most things which quote me as a satisfied customer. :)

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Todd TerryRe: Collateral material?
by on Oct 31, 2010 at 9:10:01 pm

Thanks to all for the invaluable advice.

I think Nick's situation most closely mirrors our own...

We, too, are the cobbler who's own children have shabby shoes... although I've tried to be vigilant about keeping our reel up to date, at least.

We also rarely solicit business. Never, really. But we are occasionally called upon (maybe a dozen times a year) to meet with a prospective client who sought us out. Most of our clients are the same ad agencies we've worked with for years and years.

And yes, I was looking for exactly what Nick was talking about... a "leave behind" (in addition to our reel) for when we do visit prospects face-to-face. I'm not sure why I find this to be a struggle... these are exactly the same kinds of pieces that we have developed for our clients a thousand times. I guess I'm just not good at giving myself recommendations.

I think we'll probably do a bit more seeking out of new clients in the future, in other markets as I mentioned. We actually had a fantastic year and in many ways were were too busy for comfort (we're all very tired and need a rest), but I'm concerned nonetheless. Almost a third of our business this year was political... and with election day next Tuesday, that will come to an end for a couple of years. We'll need to make that up.

I guess I need to get off my butt and start developing some print pieces. Fortunately that is actually our art director's forte (broadcast is really more her secondary area of expertise)... so hopefully we can get a nice piece or two. I'm sure I'll have to reign her in though... given carte blanche I can foresee a lot of expensive paper, varnishes, and custom die cuts in my future.

Again thanks to all for the suggestions and examples...


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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