The Importance of a Branded Presentation

About Presentation Design Pro

My name is Amy, and I am a freelance presentation designer, working in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. My passion is creating branded presentations that represent you as a trusted professional in your industry, strengthen your brand in the marketplace, and engage your audience with an elevated experience that will convert and make them remember you for all the right reasons.

Ready to get started? Book a free consultation with me today. I look forward to talking to you

I know I constantly preach on the importance of having a branded presentation, but trust me, it is for good reason. Having a branded presentation makes a huge difference in the success of your presentation, and ultimately, in your business. No matter how good your presentation information is, a non-branded presentation will diminish your returns. If you’re wondering why branding your presentation is so important, please keep reading!

Why Slide Decks Should Follow Brand Guidelines

Professionalism

When any designed collateral  looks uniform and expertly designed, people immediately have the impression that the company it represents is professional and legitimate. Basically,  having well-designed materials makes it look like the company knows what they’re doing. This gives a potential investor or customer a feeling of stability, trust, professionalism, and success, and makes them want to be associated with the brand.

Example of a well-branded brochure.

Folleto Apple Airpods brochure, by Jorge López

This brochure is a great example of a branded piece of collateral. It properly represents the company brand, consistent with the very clean and minimalist design Apple is famous for, as well as the great product image, and the emotion-evoking photography found in all of their marketing materials.

Regardless of how good the product, service, or information being shared by a company, you wouldn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t have branded materials or any consistency in the design of their collateral. They don’t even know who they are! So how could you even figure out if they were a good match for your investment of time or money?

Example of an un-branded brochure.

Regardless of the content of this brochure, there is nothing that draws a potential customer to this document in terms of brand. What company is this for? What do they do? What is this information about? Can I trust them? Are they running a “real” business? Only a branded brochure can give the positive visual impression required to convert people to customers, and this look and feel needs to be consistent with the rest of the company’s collateral in order to be truly effective.

Brand Recognition

Can you imagine if a company like Netflix had a slide deck with blues and purples? No! You would expect them to have the classic red and white branding you are familiar with. That’s what identifies them as Netflix, and you know immediately who they are. When you have branded slides, the goal is for customers to immediately recognize your company and to associate all of the other touchpoints they have had with your brand into the presentation they are now viewing. Should this be your customer or investor’s first impression of your brand, you definitely want it to represent the rest of your collateral and to give them a consistent experience with every other experience they have with your company and brand.

How to Follow Brand Guidelines

In order to follow brand guidelines, you first need to identify what your branding is. Most people who think of a brand, think of a logo. While this is a part of your brand, your brand is really every experience your customer has with your company. It is the logo, but it is also the name, the color palette, the fonts, the type of photography, the type of language used in your materials, what your materials say, your corporate culture, the way your company’s employees handle customer service issues, the way your employees dress, the music used in your advertisements and offices, the types of furniture in your locations, where your locations are, the types of products you offer, the packaging you use, etc. It is every. single. thing. Your customer experiences when dealing with your company.

And once these have been developed, keeping your company’s specific ideal customer in mind, you want to be consistent in using them. While they will organically evolve over time, unless your company is launching a major rebrand, you don’t want to be going through a major rebrand very often. You’ll just confuse your customers. If you don’t already have an established brand, I highly recommend working with a branding specialist to get exactly what you need to make the right first impression.

Next, use your brand guidelines to guide every design decision that needs to be made. Consistently use your brand guide (aptly called a “Brand Bible” by many companies) on your website, social media, emails, brochures, signage, menus, mailers, packaging, blogs, and yes, slide decks. Make it super-clear who you are and you will create brand recognition among your target audience.

Ensure all employees, consultants, and contractors creating materials for your brand understand the importance of following the brand guidelines as well. That’s why it’s important to have templates (that properly follow brand guidelines) ready for them to use. If nothing is available, they’ll go out and create something on their own, which will usually end up being inconsistent with your brand.

How to Work With a Designer

When you’re ready to hire a designer to create a branded presentation template, there are a few things you need to do first. It’s best to prepare the designer as much as you can, and this is how you do it.

Figure Out Your Brand

Sometimes, I work with clients who haven’t figured out their brand yet. They’re very early in the development process, often pitching for first investors,  and haven’t identified their brand identity or strategy. Many times, their first successful pitch results in the budget to hire a branding specialist. This makes a pitch-deck designer’s job very hard, because we have to start guessing, and often the client just starts asking for things that suit their personal taste. A good deck designer will be able to create a great pitch deck to represent your unbranded business, but in order to be really effective, you should  research and think through your brand strategy from your ideal client’s perspective, so you can give the designer the right information to make the deck appeal to your investors or your company’s intended target market. And a small hint here, if the designer asks who your target customer is, the answer is not, “everyone”. Trying to appeal to everyone, will mean you appeal to no one. Choose your audience and speak directly to them. If you do well there, you very well might end up appealing to a great number of people who want to be associated with your brand, even though they aren’t your target customer, and that’s the gravy on top for your business.

Provide Visual Examples

One thing that helps guide the designer is providing visual examples that work with your brand plans. This can save a designer so much time, as a picture is worth a thousand words, and when someone says “clean and modern” it can mean different things to different clients. For instance, it could mean a very simple, white design with tons of white space and a very calm feel. To another client, it can mean dramatic and bold with very thick, large lettering, and bright colors against a black background, but no ornamentation. Visual examples will really help the designer get a clear idea of the direction you want to go… and the examples don’t typically need to be the same format as your required project. For instance, if a client shows me a website they love, or a magazine ad they saw, or a book cover that spoke to them, I can easily apply the visual idea of any of those to a presentation. Conversely, if they show me something they don’t like, that can also be helpful. The ultimate key is to ensure the style references have been selected to suit the target client of the company.

*Which of these is clean and modern?

Answer: They all are, to their respective owners.

Pay a Little More to Save on Getting What You Need

If you really can’t provide your designer with some basic design direction, I would highly recommend asking your deck designer if they are willing to work out some basic branding for you. This generally requires a questionnaire or interview with you to ask about your business and your ideal customer, your competitors, your challenges, and the feeling you want your audience  to have when they see your presentation. Not all PowerPoint designers are willing or able to do this type of work, but those with branding experience will likely do it, though they will charge an additional fee to cover the extra time and effort required. This can be a smaller investment than the full branding process, but can give you a look and feel for your presentation that will be professional and aligned with your ideal customer.

To Sum it Up

Always using a branded presentation is an easy way to portray professionalism and legitimacy to potential and current clients and investors. If you don’t, you will look amateur, and confuse your audience. At best this will detract from the effectiveness of your presentation. At worst, this could mean not landing the investor, or turning a potential client away from your company altogether.

When you’re ready to have a branded presentation, contact me for a free consultation. I’m happy to discuss  your needs and provide you with a custom presentation that will help you to grow your business.