Having collateral at-the-ready to distribute to prospects is necessary for every business. What’s unnecessary? File cabinets full o‘ folders full o‘ fact sheets—those are a space-encroaching requirement of the past. Here are the five pieces every business should have, now.
1. A killer deck.
The PowerPoint deck is today’s answer to that dated folder. Here’s where you tout your mission and vision, snappy bios and compelling images, client list and relevant products or services, all in a neatly designed piece in accordance with your brand style guidelines. Your deck should be updated annually and accessible as a template for everything from executive presentations to shareholder meetings to new hire overviews to sales initiatives.
Example: Microsoft Accessibility Toolkit Presentation
2. Business cards.
Even in our online world, we still distribute physical business cards. Give yours staying power by including web and email contact information in lieu of physical addresses. Even if your location changes, your website likely won’t—and online people will be able to find where to mail you a letter. Make it memorable by including an inspirational quote or helpful tip on the back.
3. Exceptional case studies.
Keeping 5-7 current case studies on hand is helpful for new business activities—and your sales team will love them, as well. State the problem, solution you delivered, and the outcome in a page or less with 2-3 relevant visuals included. Maintain a consistent style so it’s easy to grab and go—either virtually or printed out for an in-person meeting. If they’re older than a year, refresh your collection, but be sure to check out our Upcycle your collateral blog for what to do with pieces that aren’t front and center any more.
4. A responsive, effectively designed website.
Yes, your website is collateral. In fact, it’s the ultimate brochure for your company or organization. While printed materials can become dated, your website is the brochure that lives on and on, and should easily allow for updates and refreshes when new products or services become available. According to Pew Research Center, half of Americans are accessing the web through phones or tablets, so making your website mobile friendly is a must.
Example: Puget Sound Kidney Centers Website
5. Social collateral.
Your presence on social media is as much of an opportunity to brand your business as is your website. Your timeline/profile banners, sharable content, tone of voice, company overview and more should match the style also illustrated on your site and business cards, in your deck and case studies. And speaking of case studies, social is the place to show those off. Just remember the 80/20 rule for sharing content: only 20 percent should be directly about your organization. The other 80 should represent your thought leadership in the industry you’re in.
More social media tips: Minding your social media manners [Infographic].