Process, methods, and tools
To reposition Brooks for dynamic growth, my first step was a new brochure and image piece, and a new literature set:
My vision of the solution hinged upon graphically communicating with the customer. I developed a series of Icons representing Brooks' products and, more importantly, the benefits that Brooks delivered. To illustrate Brooks' story, I will employ a few of the Icons in a dual role;
Two new corporate "colors for the new millennium" were identified:
A "five-column analysis" extracted a ranked list of customer needs, aligned each product's features (specs) against those needs, and articulated the benefits delivered.
Graphical Icons were conceived in the visual language of the customer; in the vernacular of the semiconductor fab. Creation of each Icon was guided by the "five-column analysis" to address each customer need.
Next, each Brooks' product was identified with a unique ensemble of Icons, grouped in the rank order of the customer needs addressed by that product. Text describing each product was written in the same order of customer needs. The customer needs, the graphical Icons, and the text were brought into alignment. For example, see the Icons for Brooks' Vacu-Tran™ Robot.
With the ensemble of Icons, data sheets were then created to convey the ensemble of benefits delivered; keyed to the product features and detailed specifications that supported delivery of those benefits.
Product photography was the final step.
Brooks products presented several unusual photographic challenges. First of all, Brooks units were unfinished stainless steel; absolutely required for clean semiconductor processing in high vacuum. Paints would flake particles while other finishes would emit contaminating vapors. Shiny, unfinished stainless steel reflects light from everywhere and is nearly impossible to photograph well.
Another complication was that Brooks' products looked like ungainly, utilitarian, business-like machines. The combination posed a unique challenge to creating exciting photography.
My solution to these challenges meant:
I created a method to keep data sheets fresh, accurate, and up-to-date even though the technical specifications were constantly changing, with a combination of traditional printing and simple desk-top publishing that I call "graphical shells:"
Data sheets were partially printed on the familiar printing press. Two color printing and quality photography projected an impression that complete data sheets came from the printers. These formed "graphical shells." Portions expected to remain constant were printed in one large press run, achieving economies of both money and time.
"Graphical shells" were completed with a word processor and laser printer, enabling ten-minute updates to current specs with the latest marketing intent. Portions expected to change rapidly such as the selling message and product specs were published in small batches in-house. Each "batch" was normally one piece of literature, and was rarely more than one week's supply.
Brooks' selling messages, communications, and specifications became as dynamic and up-to-date as the company. They were able to revamp data sheets regularly, in a few minutes.
Brooks had a quality presentation system and useable literature for the first time in four years; and they used it. I installed a sales automation system for literature fulfillment and lead tracking.
"Graphical shells" were further employed creating press releases, new product announcements, and application notes.