How to design effective marketing collateral?

May 18, 2020

The three principles of designing impactful content 

The job of your marketing collateral is to inform and engage your target audience with your brand. While there are many things to keep in mind when you are producing content, three basic principles should be at the core of everything you and other content creators release, whether it be a newsletter or a member magazine. 

What is marketing collateral? 

Let’s start with the basics. Naturally, your work as a brand or marketing professional involves a lot of planning, strategies, workflows, brainstorming, etc. which form a necessary base for creating content. Marketing collateral encompasses the deliverables of your marketing or branding department. Marketing collateral refers to any content that is used to promote your company or products to new customers or prospects or to retain or upsell to existing ones 

Many of us tend to immediately think of more conventional pieces of content like corporate magazines, brochures or catalogues but it’s good to remember that blog posts, newsletters and all externally focused branded content falls under this term as well. 

When it comes to visually designing your marketing collateral, some content pieces require more effort than others. Brochures and banners are examples of collateral that needs to get a treatment in a design software, such as Adobe’s InDesign. Your website copy or retargeting emails are also a part of your brand design, but more covertly. The pictures, font and tone of voice in your collateral have all been specifically designed and selected to fit the image your brand wants to portray.  

Make your design stand out 

As a marketeer or brand specialist, you need to be able to create consistent, well-designed content that gets your point across and immediately conjures up the emotions your brand wants to awake in the people who are targeted by your collateral. 

This is not easy to achieve, I know. However, in my experience there are three main guidelines to keep in mind no matter the type of marketing collateral you are designing 

1. Focus on the customer
A traditional ad focuses on explaining what your product is about and what qualities it has. Nowadays, you need to look at your marketing collateral messaging from a customer perspective. In order to do this, you must know your customer personas, what interests them and what the unique problem you are solving is. Focus on what they need, not what you can sell. 

2. Clear visuals
Now that your message is clear and customer-centric, check in on the visual elements of your collateral. Is the text easy to read? Is the background image high enough quality? Adjust your font size, make sure the color of the font pops from the background, and make sure that the elements flow together. Do these adjustments really matter? You tell me. 

An unfortunate brochure for an immigration workshop (Source)

3. Consistent Branding
Your collateral piece is starting to look good by now! But does it conform to your branding standards? All companies have rules and recommendations around what kind of images they use, where you should place the logo and which logo variations, color and size you should use.  

Why does consistently branded content matter? 

When it comes to making sure that your target audience knows that it’s you who is trying to get their attention, you need to be consistent over time and for every single thing your company releases. Why is this so important? Check out these ad campaigns: 

A billboard shows an ad for Doritos, part of its 'Another Level' campaign



These ad campaigns from Doritos and Coca Cola are only possible because they’ve spent decades building their brand. When you were looking at the pictures above, did you almost taste a cold Coke and a crunchy Dorito in your mouth? I know I did and now I’m hungry for a snack. Mm, ranch sauce… 

These brands are at a point where just seeing the Coca Cola swirl on a red background and the shape of a Dorito with some flavor names printed underneath, people’s brains jump to conclusions. Even the slightest change to any of the elements you see in the ads would break the connection with your mind and the product you are supposed to intuitively recognize. 

Automate brand consistency 

Okay, now you know why customer centricity, clear visuals and brand consistency are so important in designing your marketing collateral. But you are not the only one creating collateral. In fact, there are dozens of people communicating about your brand and I can promise you with 100% certainty that there are some who don’t follow the three principles 

How can you as a brand ambassador make sure that all your marketing collateral is designed with consistence? Maybe send a link to this post and then do a workshop on your brand style guide and brand book? Sure, but what happens when a guideline changes, you start working with some new external partners or you get new colleagues who weren’t at your original presentation session?  

Tough one! The easiest, most scalable way to make sure your marketing collateral follows the principles of creating effective content is implementing a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, like Lytho. 

The right platform will have locked templates that allow you and other branding colleagues to control the most important aspects of the created collateral, without you having to design every single brochure and newsletter from scratch. 

With Lytho’s Create & Publish function you can have colleagues and external partners creating beautiful, on-brand marketing collateral without any knowledge on using technical design software, in fact, they don’t even have to have any software installed on their laptop! This solution is uniquely connected to the Creative Cloud and has a full integration with Adobe’s InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator 

After a colleague is done with creating an on-brand piece of visual content in the DAM, they can directly publish this content to your website, e-commerce platform, social media or printing company (with your approval of course). 

Want to learn more about creating on-brand marketing collateral? 

If you’d like to explore more how a DAM will benefit your organization and make creating new marketing collateral a walk in the park, get in touch with our experts for a demo! It's free and online and takes up no more than about 20 minutes. 



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