As brand stewards, marketers have a vested interest in how their companies are represented. They are given budgets – significant ones, in some cases – to tell their company stories in engaging ways. The goal, of course, is to resonate with prospects and, hopefully, inspire them to act.
How a company tells its story can take many forms, across a myriad of channels, but without question, there will be a presentation deck in there somewhere. And despite marketing’s best attempts, many of those slides won’t follow company brand standards. That’s because the vast majority of people who use presentation software aren’t designers. They know the story they want to tell but they typically lack the design chops to know how to bring that story to life most effectively. Therein lies the biggest rub with work presentations to date: Too many of the software options have lacked the right process.
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The good news is marketers no longer have to settle. As visual storytelling methods have evolved, so too has their technology. Software exists today that addresses the six fundamental ways the work presentation has changed:
1. Blank slates are burdens and brand killers:
While presentation software has evolved significantly over the decades, the marketplace is still full of stale, traditional tools that offer one common flaw to users: a blank slate. The best example of this is PowerPoint. When the people who use software like PowerPoint aren’t designers, they’re saddled with the burden of design. Rather than focusing on the company story they want to tell, they have to figure out how to tell that story and format it on slides. Blank slates are burdens and brand killers because inconsistencies are almost guaranteed.
2. Designer-in-the-box software:
To avoid placing the burden of design on non-designers, marketers should update the tools their companies use. Teams can now tap software with built-in designer-in-the-box functionality – meaning the technology does the heavy lifting of slide creation and design.
3. Smart design and templates:
How is this possible? The answer is two-fold. The right presentation software should employ both smart design and smart templates. Smart design, also known as design artificial intelligence (AI), enables the designer-in-the-box functionality. Smart design builds the intelligence of a designer directly into the presentation maker and applies AI-driven design principles, in real time, for whomever is using the software. Presentation software with smart templates then gives users a creative head start through pre-built, on-brand slide and presentation templates. These templates remove the pressure to start from scratch or the tendency to reuse questionable presentation slides that make marketers cringe.
4. No more Frankendecks:
Those questionable slides are often found in presentation decks known to marketers as Frankendecks. They’re considered the “the junk drawer of content” because they are a terrible, jumbled branding and design mess. Frankendecks have slides that are jammed with information that overwhelms and confuses the audience. They also use a mishmash of brand assets and design elements, such as logos, colors and fonts. Frankendecks lack any visual appeal or aesthetic polish. Presentation software equipped with smart design and smart templates thankfully eliminates these branding and reputational risks. Marketers can rejoice knowing there’s no excuse for questionable design anymore.
5. Workflow efficiencies:
Companies deserve technology that makes work – including presentations – easier and less of a chore. For starters, presentation software should be cloud-based – meaning anyone can version and update the deck from anywhere, in real time, even on-the-fly in the middle of a presentation. This level of collaboration should be an expectation in the marketplace today. Presentation makers should also streamline work processes and eliminate unnecessary or outdated steps to save companies valuable and expensive time. With design AI at work, each choice users make in a smart template lessens the remaining work they have to do in the deck. Run-of-the-mill tools like PowerPoint can’t compete with modern presentation software until they offer the workflow efficiencies business demands today.
6. Presentation analytics:
Finally, and perhaps most impressively, the best presentation makers today offer incredibly valuable insights to companies through presentation analytics. Once a presentation has been delivered, the right software can determine the efficacy of it. Examples of presentation analytics include the number of times the presentation was viewed, who viewed it, the number of unique and total views, the average and total view times on individual slides or the entire deck, and how many viewers made it through to the completion of the deck. With insights like these, teams can track how they’re resonating with prospects and adjust their messaging and tactics accordingly. After all, a presentation should be measured by the people who act on it, not the number of people who had the opportunity to view it.
For marketers, the look and feel of their company stories will always be a paramount concern. Thankfully, technology today removes one of their biggest brand management headaches: the presentation deck. With the right presentation software, marketers can breathe easier and ensure the decks their colleagues create and present are polished, on-brand, design-forward and repeatable.
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