When you first approach the idea of putting corporate calendars together, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a pretty simple process that’s difficult to get too wrong. After all, what you’re technically talking about is a bunch of pictures spread across 12 pages with a few choice marketing snippets slipped in, all in hope of advertising your brand and your business to the recipient for a full year. So, when you look at it in paper it all sounds really easy, so why is that then so many, if not most business calendars handed out each year never make it any near the walls of their recipients?
Well, the interesting thing is that more often than not, it all comes down to one or more of a select handful of hugely common design mistakes that are very easy to fall foul of. It’s not like any standard business can be expected to produce world-class calendar designs without at least a little professional help, but along the way it’s crucial to watch out for the following in order to avoid a calendar catastrophe:
1 – All Form, No Function
The first and perhaps most common mistake of all is that of coming up with a calendar that looks absolutely amazing, though sadly doesn’t serve any practical purpose whatsoever. Now, in rare instances these may find their way onto the walls of the recipients’ offices for decorative value, but in terms of brand exposure you’ll be missing out on 365 days of full hands-on interaction. The best and most valuable calendars for use in a business setting are the ones that can indeed be used, so it’s important to make sure there’s at least some level of practical value to the calendar.
2 – All Function, No Form
Right at the opposite end of the scale, it’s pretty safe to say that the same kind of rule rings true once again. In this instance, the mistake made is that of creating a business calendar that’s wonderfully functional but doesn’t have the kind of necessary visual punch to a) say good things about your brand and b) find its way on the wall of the recipient. Ideally, you should be looking to achieve a good balance of the two where both form and function are present in equal measures. If unsure, speak to the professionals before going ahead with the final batch print.
3 – Mediocre Materials
There’s nothing more irritating that one of those bargain-basement calendars that start to rip, fray, warp and generally fall to bits the very moment they’re hung. It’s frustrating to say the least and tells you quite a lot about the brand behind the calendar…and nothing positive, at that. If budget restrictions are an issue, it’s technically better to run off 100 great quality calendars for the most important clients or peers of all than to print 10,000 and summarily convey a bad company image to all 10,000 of them. As you probably won’t be printing the calendars yourself, it’s up to you to look into the third party you’re looking to work with to see if they’re up to the job.
4 – Pitiful Printing
Speaking of the printing itself, if there’s even the slightest indication that corners were cut to save costs during the printing process, your calendars will again do nothing but knock your brand’s reputation. This could be anything from poor alignment of images, faded printing in general, skewed images, general inconsistencies or really anything else that gives the impression of a hashed job. This is another reason why it’s important to look closely into the background and capabilities of the printing company you’re looking to work with ahead of time – the last thing you want is a shipment of 5,000 calendars you’re too embarrassed to give out.
5 – Mass Marketing
Last but not least, the biggest role of the calendar is of course to promote and market your brand, but this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to turn it into a year-long campaign of OTT promotion. For the recipient, what matters most is that the calendar looks and performs well. As such, you need to make sure that the brand marketing takes a backseat to both form and function as if they get wind that it’s all about you, chances are they won’t be so keen to hold onto it. Create a good enough calendar and it will sing your praises without you really having to try hard at all.