Contrary to common belief, the value of creating killer presentations to market your brand is a marketing tactic that’s here to stay. Despite the digital revolution, knowing how to talk about your business; conveying your expertise and the value you provide, is an essential skill to attract partners, customers, and investors.
Presentations run the gambit from online webinars to small presentations hosted in a boardroom to massive presentations that fill a ballroom. A presentation is the equivalent of a lively introductory business card about your company. It can serve a variety of purposes depending on the type of presentation, such as:
- Showcase a new product feature
- Share the annual growth and or strategy for the brand
- Launch a new product to investors or members of your target market
- Explain complex and technical concepts related to your industry
- Train a team or an audience group to use a specific tool or solution
- Share your expertise as part of a community or trade show event
- Pitch your business to potential investors or share your annual report with shareholder
Yet, a presentation is essentially a lesson about your company, which makes you a teacher, and your audience becomes the students in your classroom. Unfortunately, if you hope to grab the attention of your audience, convey a memorable message, create brand awareness, and encourage positive action, you must create a killer presentation and many folks fail miserably in accomplishing their goals. Today, we’ll focus on how to build presentations to market your brand and achieve your marketing goals.
Creating killer presentations to market your brand
Pictured above is Steve Jobs introducing an early version of the iPhone. For him (and Apple), these launch presentations were the stuff of legend. The presentation was more than a product launch, it was a carnival bringing together the media, stakeholders, and influencers. Part product demo, part media circus, part sales pitch, these launch presentations were critical for the success of the Apple brand.
The presentations to market each new product were carefully crafted to portray the product in the most favorable light possible. I once heard a story of the product launch for one of Apple’s early computer models where a key feature wasn’t working at the time of the demo. Jobs convinced engineers to “fake” the feature for the demo. Obviously, by the time the first computers came off the assembly line, the feature worked.
We can categorize presentations into 3 types and each type requires different resources and planning. The 3 categories are:
- Traditional presentations backed by a slide deck and a speaker or speakers
- A deck where the presentation consists of the deck
- A presentation without visual elements
It’s critical to know the type of presentation planned and to understand how each type is constructed.
With this type of presentation, you have a slide deck and a presenter or presenters who guide the conversation. The slide deck in this situation should focus on creating a visually appealing background while not detracting from what the speaker has to say. These visuals make the presentation more memorable but don’t convey much information.
After teaching for decades and requiring these presentations from hundreds of students, both graduate and undergraduate, I can say from a place of authority that people don’t understand how to construct these presentations. As a matter of fact, the average individual is so bad at creating killer presentations to market a brand or for any other communication task, that major companies and professional speakers hire graphic designers trained in creating presentations to craft the deck.
A traditional presentation is essentially a mixture of reading and listening. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your message simple and straightforward through your slides and oral communication. The best presentation slides are simple, using key points, little texts, and quality data visualization. The worst mistake inexperienced speakers make is when they write down their speech word-for-word on the slide. Slides that contain too many words, are poorly designed for visual appeal, and contain unrelated graphics that don’t contribute to the overall presentation. Slides with a lot of words lull your audience into reading and ignoring verbal elements of your presentation, which leads to poor communication, poor recall, and a poor perception of your brand. Keep your slides short and to the point.
More recently, students and professionals use the precepts of Presentation Zen in constructing killer presentations. Zen presentations don’t contain a large number of slides, no more than 10 words per slide, and are image-heavy. Below, you can see an example of a slide demonstrating how to construct slides that don’t suck. The slide quickly conveys the message in a few words, it’s visually appealing, and memorable
In contrast, a deck is a slide presentation that stands alone. In this situation, you might need more slides in your deck than in a traditional presentation. Still, keep the precepts of Presentation Zen in mind when constructing the deck to avoid putting your reader to sleep. Remember, a picture paints a thousand words, so let your visuals convey much of your messaging.
Here, think of presentations such as those given from the TED stage where the presenter speaks with few if any visual elements. Instead, the audience concentrates on the storytelling presented by the speaker.
Below, we focus on both traditional and TED-type presentations rather than decks.
Goals of a presentation to market your brand
Grab the audience’s attention
Professional speakers often describe the process of holding a presentation in theatrical terms. You need to own the stage as if you were the main actor in the play. It’s no surprise that some of the best presentations are as much about the presence of the speaker as the content of the message. Therefore, when it comes to making your presence seen, it helps to replicate the elements of a professional stage, such as investing in portable stages for presentations in conference halls or large meeting rooms, focusing on quality lighting solutions, and procuring professional sound equipment including microphone and even an earpiece for large venues.
Additionally, speakers should “dress” for the stage, such as wearing an outfit that represents the brand’s colors or personality. However, avoid wearing something that distracts from the presentation such as clothing that’s revealing, too colorful, or doesn’t present a professional image due to wrinkles or stains unless that’s part of the personality of the brand.
Create brand awareness
Everybody loves a good story. That is the second most important part of your message: Your ability to tell a good story. The slides focus on the written words that summarize the story. The speech requires a script and rehearsal to ensure you engage and motivate your audience.
It’s helpful to create your presentation script with staging elements, such as a dramatic slide change or a light effect to emphasize your message. Surprisingly, successful vloggers who create great video scripts use a similar set of skills as someone creating a presentation speech.
Writing out a script and practicing it beforehand is especially important if you’re new to making presentations or you get nervous before making a big presentation. The trick then is to make your presentation look fresh after much rehearsal.
Encourage positive action
As with any other marketing effort, when creating a presentation to market your brand, you need to include a call to action. What do you need your audience to do after the presentation? If you expect a specific action, you need to guide your audience into taking the right steps and make it easy for them to accomplish the action, such as:
- Provide a follow-up meeting for discussion
- Offer a quiz and test for training
- Give a contact number for purchases
- Include a QR code to allow your audience to connect with you, visit your website landing page, or find the nearest store location
Presentations involve multitasking: You might create a stand-alone lead generation tool that attracts customers, investors, and new talent. As a result, it’s important to understand how to maximize the potential of each presentation.
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