What can the Punch Powertrain Solar Team teach you about content?

The Punch Powertrain Solar Team is a group of students who are building a solar-powered car. Cypres coached the team, helping them to create a brochure. Here’s what we learned.

Do you know the Punch Powertrain Solar Team? This group of KU Leuven engineering students are building a solar-powered car with the aim of participating in the biennial World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The team wanted its communication with its potential partners to run as smoothly as its vehicle. That’s why, in early March 2015, Cypres offered to coach them and help them review their brochure. Karel Winderickx, the Punch Powertrain Solar Team’s head of PR & events, explains how it went:

“For a long time, the Solar Team had been using an A4 print brochure to attract new sponsors, which it updated every two years. Cypres felt that there was room for improvement in the quality of the content. We couldn’t help but agree, as nobody had ever read the entire brochure, not even –‘ he laughs – ‘our own team members! There was just so much text.”

 

In the shoes of potential sponsors

“We started with a brainstorming session about our key audiences. This revealed that, besides potential sponsors, we also wanted to address a wider audience interested in our work. We soon decided to make two versions of the brochure.

“We created personas so that we could put ourselves in the shoes of our key audiences. This made us realise that the existing brochure was far too long and technical. We’d made the typical mistake of starting from our own needs rather than those of our ‘customers’.”

 

More focus, more photos

What sorts of things are sponsors and other interested parties looking for?

“We changed tack completely and worked with Cypres to come up with a completely new brochure. We reduced the number of words and changed the focus of the content. Together we created an infographic of issues that are of real interest to sponsors – the Solar Team’s media reach, for example – and, above all, we added a lot more images.

“To do justice to those, we designed the new brochure in A3 format, so twice the size of the previous version. It looks great – we now also use it as a sales tool at presentations. It took our potential partners a while to get used to it, but now they really like the result.

“Because we have a limited budget, we ended up having only one brochure, for both potential partners and the general public. The former do get an extra attachment, with a clear list of their options and what they would get in, to make them see immediately the possible advantages of sponsoring us.”

 

Two important lessons

So what did Karel and the team learn from the collaboration?

“First, we learned that focus is crucial in communication: choose a key audience, tell that audience what it wants to hear and keep it at that.

“Second, we now know that you should use your visual strengths to your advantage as much as possible. If you have a photogenic product, by all means show it off!”

 

Discover the new Solar Team brochure here:

 

 

Could you also use some help with the creation of your own brochure? Contact us.