Product Brochure: How to Optimize the Design Process (with a Lot of Stakeholders)

Even in today’s digital world, product brochures are an effective type of marketing collateral. But every project manager knows it isn’t easy to manage the brochure creation process. Since there are so many stakeholders involved, the review and approval process can quickly spiral out of control. 

So here are ways to optimize the brochure design process. 

Why Is It Challenging to Manage a Product Brochure Design Process with a Lot of Stakeholders?

Frequently, it’s very difficult to coordinate collaboration with a large number of colleagues in different departments. When it comes to the product brochure design process, this rule of thumb is definitely true for the following reasons:

1. Multiple files

As soon as the design team sends out the first draft of the brochure design, the number of working files you have to track will exponentially increase. Your stakeholders will often work on their own individual files, which means you’ll lack a single, centralized file.

2. Long feedback rounds

The more people involved in creating the product brochure project, the longer you’ll have to wait to complete feedback rounds—because you’ll have to spend time chasing team members and adjusting to their busy schedules.

3. Difficulty with maintaining an overview

It’s often difficult for project managers to maintain an accurate overview of the brochure design process. They have to try to simultaneously manage feedback and different versions, which can quickly create confusion that can feel impossible to manage. 

4. Inconsistent collaboration

If lots of people are involved in your brochure project, the potential for downtime dramatically increases. Soon, you’ll inevitably find that some of your stakeholders are out sick, away on business, change roles, or leave the company.

5. Gaps in feedback

The success of your brochure design project often depends on input from a range of team members with busy schedules. Since it’s not their priority, they’ll inevitably forget to give feedback or put the process on the backburner.

6. Language issues

If you work for a large multinational company, you might find it difficult to manage the localization of your brochure. Different language versions multiply the number of files you need to manage, and translations can cause lots of headaches.

7. Extended downtime

You’ll often need to secure feedback from senior colleagues within your business. But you might find that they frequently travel. Because of extended periods of time outside the office, you may have to put the brakes on your brochure design process while you wait for feedback.

Which Stakeholders Should Be Involved?

In a typical enterprise company, there are often lots of stakeholders involved in product brochure projects. Here’s a look at the key parties involved in each project.

Project manager

The project manager is the person responsible for managing the overall brochure project and guiding it to completion. These project managers might work within the marketing department itself, or they could act as general project managers who work across departments.

Marketing team

The marketing team is made up of professionals who turn the brochure project into reality. This team will often include marketing managers, copywriters, and international marketing experts. To make the brochure a success, they each contribute their abilities.

Design team and/or design agency

The company creating the product brochure might have its own internal design team, or it might decide to collaborate with an external provider. This team will work alongside the marketing team, in order to create an attractive, informative product brochure.

Product management team

The product management team is responsible for verifying the accuracy of the content within the product brochure. Their knowledge provides the foundation of the content. To verify that the brochure is accurate, this team will need to offer their final approval. 

What’s the Ideal Workflow for Creating Product Brochures With a Lot of Stakeholders?

Wondering about the exact ways to manage the product brochure design process? Here’s a look at the seven steps you should follow to seize success. 

For your convenience, we’ll divide each of these steps into these four convenient sections:

  • Who’s involved? 
  • What does each team member do? 
  • Who needs to provide feedback? 
  • How do you know when each step has been completed?

With these sections, you’ll never lose sight of ways to organize each step of the brochure design process.

1. Prepare all necessary workflow steps.

First things first: You’ll want to set the foundations for success. Here’s a closer look at ways the project manager can work to achieve this step. 

Who’s involved?

  • Project manager

What does each member do? 

The project manager should define the necessary workflow steps before initiating the project. After talking to a lot of enterprise companies that are creating product brochures on a regular basis, we’ve found the following process to be the most efficient one:

  • Briefing [Product Management > Marketing]
  • Briefing [Marketing > Design]
  • Approval [Design > Marketing]
  • Approval [Marketing > Product]
  • Approval [Product > Management]

The project manager can either write those steps down for himself or use a review and approval software such as Filestage to make them transparent for all relevant stakeholders.

Review Steps in FIlestage

Who needs to provide feedback?

At this point in the process, no feedback is required.

How do you know when this step has been completed?

Once the necessary workflow steps have been defined, the project manager can move onto the next step.

2. Briefing [Product Management > Marketing]

Now that the workflow is clear,  it’s time for its product managers to communicate their needs with marketing.

Who’s involved?

  • The product team
  • The marketing team

What does each member do?

  1. The product team identifies the need for a new product brochure, then works to create a brief for the marketing team.
  2. The marketing and product teams are asked by the project manager to conduct the first review.
  3. The marketing team reviews the brief. They request changes, ask for clarification, and agree on a final version that has to be approved by every involved stakeholder.

The briefing can be either shared via email or directly reviewed in an online proofing software like Filestage. The benefit of using an online proofing software is that stakeholders can directly comment on documents and leave in-context feedback.

in context feedback in Filestage for product brochures

Who needs to provide feedback? 

At this point in the process, the marketing team provides feedback on the brief provided by the product team. 

How do you know when this step has been completed?

Once the brief has been confirmed by the marketing team, it’s time to move onto the next step.

3. Concept [Marketing]

Now that the marketing team has a clear, finalized brief from the product team, it’s time for them to work their marketing magic.

Who’s involved?

  • Marketing 

What does each member do?

  1. The marketing manager will distribute the brief among the relevant members of their team.
  2. The team members apply their various skills to move the brief forward and create a concept. This phase might involve a copywriter and a content strategist.
  3. The concept is confirmed by the marketing manager.

Who needs to provide feedback?

At this stage, the marketing team works in harmony to create an excellent concept.

How do you know when this step has been completed? 

It’s time to move onto the next stage after: 

  • The marketing manager confirms that the concept has been finalized. 
  • Every marketing team member is happy with it. 

4. Briefing [Marketing > Design]

Now that the concept has been created, it’s time for the marketing team to contact the design team. It’s important to note that the design team could be in-house or external.

Who’s involved?

  • Marketing
  • Design 

What does each member do?

  1. To create an actionable brief for the in-house or external design agency, the marketing team should elaborate on the concept.
  2. The marketing manager asks the design team to review the brief.
  3. The design team should request changes, ask for clarification, and make sure that the brief is exactly as they need it to be.

Who needs to provide feedback?

Since the design team should provide feedback and ask for further clarification, a tool such as Filestage makes it easy for them to leave in-context questions and comments. Then the brief can be finalized as efficiently as possible.

How do you know when this step has been completed? 

Filestage makes it easy to see how many outstanding comments remain in a document that’s being reviewed. In other words, the team tracks the progress of the brief and works to rectify any outstanding issues. 

review management in Filestage

The team will know that the brief is ready for the design team to use after: 

  • the comments have been resolved. 
  • All the team members have given their approval.

5. Approval [Design > Marketing]

Now that the design team has created an initial draft, it’s time for the team to come together with marketing and make sure it fits the initial brief.

Who’s involved?

  • Marketing
  • Design

What does each member do? 

  1. The design team shares the first version of the product brochure with the marketing team.
  2. The marketing team goes through the draft, and shares suggestions and comments.
  3. The design team reacts to those change requests, and makes any necessary adjustments.
  4. The design team shares another version, then repeat the process until both teams are happy with the design.

Who needs to provide feedback? 

In this stage, the marketing team is responsible for providing high-quality feedback to the design team. A review and approval tool like Filestage makes version control a breeze. Specifically, it allows users to cycle through versions and confirm that changes have been made.

The design and marketing teams can use this functionality to make sure everything is ready for the next stage.

How do you know when this step has been completed? 

After all members have confirmed the most recent design, marketing will instantly know that it’s time to execute the next step.

6. Approval [Marketing > Product]

With a finalized draft in hand, it’s time for the marketing team to secure approval from the product team.

Who’s involved?

  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Design

What does each member do? 

  1. The marketing team shares the finalized draft of the product brochure with the product team.
  2. The marketing team presents the brochure to the product team.
  3. The product team goes through the draft and provides feedback. This phase ensures that the product team leaves clear, insightful feedback, which can be implemented by the marketing or design teams.
  4. Until the version is approved, the marketing and design teams will implement any requested changes..

Who needs to provide feedback? 

Throughout this stage, the product team has to provide feedback that will guide the design and marketing teams.

How do you know when this step has been completed? 

Once the product team has signed off on the draft, they have their collateral. So now it’s time for them to secure final approval. 

7. Approval [Product > Management]

Now that the product team has effortlessly coordinated the creation of their product brochure, the team needs to secure final approval from management.

Who’s involved?

  • Product
  • Management
  • Design
  • Marketing

What does each member do?

  1. The product team presents the brochure to the executive team.
  2. The executive team (including management, compliance, and other important departments) goes through the final version, shares comments, and requests changes.
  3. Design and marketing work to implement and request changes until the final version is ready to be printed.

Who needs to provide feedback?

At this stage, the management team has to provide feedback. The size and complexion of the management team usually vary from one business to the next. For instance, larger businesses might have compliance departments.

How do you know when this step has been completed? 

After the brochure is confirmed by the executive team, it’s ready to be printed and used to attract new business. To simplify this process, companies can use a tool like Filestage that keeps all reviewers updated, it’s easy to see when every reviewer has confirmed the final version. 

final approval of product brochure

Streamline Your Product Brochure Design Process

Are you ready to tackle the product brochure design process and create the perfect product brochure? Request your free Filestage trial and demo today. It’s easy to get started, and you can take control of your design projects within a matter of seconds.

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