Why do so many sales decks look the same and why do businesses ask us to make theirs look, well, better?
Without wanting to sound too simplistic, it’s largely down to the fact that the tools we use are far more effective than PowerPoint, which is what clients tend to use.
PowerPoint is a great tool for knocking out presentations that will be projected but it is not a tool designed to create design for print, or more often, design for screen. So PowerPoint does have its uses, but this should not be confused with being a professional design tool.
Our purpose in life is to create stimulating, impactful and effective communication. Agencies employ creatives; banks, venture capitalists and consultancies employ analysts and deep thinkers. We have a skill that turns the ordinary into something far more visually-stimulating, taking a standard PowerPoint presentation and making it look far more impactful, legible and interesting.
We always try to look at a sales deck, presentation or information memorandum from the perspective of the person who is going to receive it: they don’t know what’s in it and will not have spent hours developing the content.
So, we think about pace, giving an idea of what’s coming up, providing visual punctuation as well as literal pauses. Give the page enough room to breathe. White space is our friend, not an opportunity to cram more data in!
And then there’s colour. Why, if a company has a set brand guidelines, do so many presentations rely on blue, black and white?
As creatives our role is to stimulate, excite and expand our clients imaginations. We always start with a set of brand guidelines and use these to dictate how a presentation may look. It’s not about using every colour of the rainbow and a myriad of clever devices but about using key elements of a brand identity to help make points more impactful.
Typically we design a number of options that explore how a deck may look focussing upon:
– charts, graphs and tables
It’s really useful to present the creative stage to all stakeholders. Often this may be a varied set of advisors, bank, venture capitalist, private equity and the client team, all with strong opinions, hence the need for a set of brand guidelines.
Quite often it is the person who expresses doubt about using a creative team who gets the most excited. Once these options have been presented and discussed we will distil the feedback into a definitive solution that is rolled out across a whole document. Depending upon the project this can be a simple task or a lengthy process.
With information memoranda we will often design a teaser, followed by the memoranda itself and a management presentation. With a sales deck, the process is much quicker but no less intense.
Design is better – using the tools already available to a brand we simply create a look and feel for a presentation that is visually impactful.
Or as the brief often states “Can you make this look good please?”
… it starts with Listening Intelligently.