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Looks Matter!

There is a lot to be said for how content is packaged. Last week, American Public Media’s Marketplace reported that a University of Miami School of Business Administration study found that the color of an annual report – those scintillating depositories of raw data and heavily parsed words – has been shown to have the same effect on perceptions as a 20 percent increase in annual revenue!

This interesting example also squares with a particularly noteworthy passage from Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, the memoir of former General Motors’ executive Bob Lutz:

The fact is that all U.S. midsize cars contain the same parts count, the same engine and transmission technology, the same safety equipment, the same ABS brakes and traction control, the same or similar seats and interiors—and many of these parts even come from the same suppliers. A Chevrolet Malibu’s material cost is within a couple percent of that of a BMW 3-Series.

The reality is that looks matter.

 Let’s examine a situation seen frequently in law and accounting firms. A major piece of legislation is passed. Three competing firms all release “Client Alerts.” Two of the three firms produce staid bulletins that fail to take into account layout, graphics or even paper quality (if said piece is mailed). The third firm creates a piece that marries excellent content (same as the other alerts) with well-thought out packaging. It is easy to see which piece stands out and will likely have the greatest marketing impact.

As a communications firm, we understand both sides of this equation. We also understand how to take the content that you work so hard to create and turn it into additional communication opportunities. For us, well-packaged content is a more effective calling card whether we’re pitching a professional for a speaking engagement or to a journalist for interview.

The larger narrative here is that it is critical that firms take the time to refine the details. It is an equation that must be thought out. Is it advantageous or even the most efficacious thing for in-house resources (especially those with billing responsibility) to spend copious amounts of time working on the editing and packaging of newsletters?

Whether you work with professionals at an external communication agency or create a robust in-house marketing department, you need to think about the details. After all, you want to stand out from the crowd don’t you?

–  Michael Bond

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