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What are Designers’ Go-To Fonts for PowerPoint Presentations?

Your performance as a speaker, with the effective integration of powerful visuals, make a good presentation. If you want to get the branding right, you should balance these two in every pitch.

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If you’re going to use a PowerPoint presentation for your pitch, you have to remember that the content of your deck should reflect your overall message.

One way to emphasize the content is through using the right fonts. This aspect of visual design is one of the most important choices you have to make. Arranging the text strategically in your presentation can help you send a powerful message.

Getting a customized PowerPoint presentation? Here are a few things you should know about font styles?

Serif vs Sans Serif

These are font styles that you should familiarize yourself with. You can use these for various parts of the presentation, differentiating one part from another, or putting emphasis to retain information.

If you see small elements extending from the letters, these are called “serifs” and fonts with these are commonly used in magazines, books, or anything related to print. Sans serif lacks the projecting elements jutting from the edges. You can see this style dominating most web-based experiences.

To give you a visual representation of the two styles, take Garamond and Arial for example. Garamond is characterized by the small lines at the ends of its characters while Arial has none of these.

While on the topic of various font styles, fonts are categorized in five different ways: Geometric, Humanist, Old Style, Transitional, Modern, and Slab Serif.

Font Alternatives

Times New Roman had been the default font for Word Documents for decades, only to be replaced by Calibri in Office 2007. If you would like to veer from the norm, here are some fonts you can use as alternatives:

  • Libertad
  • Carrig
  • Helvetica
  • Raleway
  • Open Sans
  • Alégre Sans
  • Roboto
  • Futura
  • Lato
  • Centabel Book

Before you choose your font, however, here are factors you need to consider before:

Theme

The font you choose should go well with the theme of your presentation—it should match the message you’re trying to convey—because if it doesn’t complement the look and feel of your deck, it will be noticeable.

Demographics

Know who your audience is—their age range, their interests. It’s important that you engage them through things they understand and like. For example, if you’re presenting to a group of young people, make sure that you’re using a typeface that can be easily understood.

Legibility

To make sure you hold the readers’ attention, make sure the text is readable. Save the fancy-looking fonts for headlines and more prominent usages.

Mood

This is what you get when you combine the aesthetics of the typeface to the readability of the text. The font you choose evokes an emotion, but its readability can take communication to a whole new level.

There are plenty of fonts to choose from, which is why you should stick to just one. Two to three types should suffice—no point in combining two fonts that look the same. Improve your design by combining the ones that complement each other and let your presentation stand out.

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References:

Saltz, Ina. “Serif vs. Sans Serif.” LinkedIn Learning. February 1, 2013. linkedin.com/learning/graphic-design-foundations-typography/serif-vs-sans-serif

Mann, Meredith. “Where Did Times New Roman Come From?” New York Public Library. December 9, 2014. www.nypl.org/blog/2014/12/09/times-new-roman

Friend, Joe. “Why Did Microsoft Change the Default Font to Calibri?” Forbes. December 18, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/12/18/why-did-microsoft-change-the-default-font-to-calibri/#11a89f613e06

Bonneville, Douglas. “How to Choose a Font—A Step-by-Step Guide.” Smashing Magazine. March 24, 2011. www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/how-to-choose-a-typeface/

PowerPoint as a Communication Tool When Rebranding a Business

Every company experiences a rut. Perhaps it’s because of the ever-changing world, technology (and the lack of capability or desire to adapt), and/or a new management. It may even be the work of external circumstances. A strong yet underhanded competitor, maybe? Whatever the case, when your company is losing steam, there’s a fix. But it will take a lot of time and effort.

You know what it is. Rebranding. Not all companies need one since it’s very risky. But what about those that do? There have been success stories and huge failures. It’s a long campaign, and taking shortcuts may very well compromise everything: years of history, customer trust, employee loyalty, etc.

Any self-respecting entrepreneur knows that those are just as important as every ounce of effort you put into your business. That fact alone makes it risky from the get-go, but any miscalculated step you take is a potential snowball waiting to roll down. In short, disregarding a lot of considerations during a rebranding will only make things worse.

When it’s time to say goodbye to the old and say hello to the new, every person involved must be on the same page. For each process, everybody should work towards the same short- and long-term goal. Since rebranding doesn’t happen overnight, the possibility of people getting ahead—and, of course, people lacking behind—grows more or more. So letting each level of the hierarchy know what, where, and why is essential.

This, then, is corporate communication. Because you’ve got a lot of pointers, conditions, and rules you need to cover, transparency and reachability are definite musts. And what’s a better communication and presentation tool to use than Microsoft PowerPoint? Nothing, according to an awesome presentation design agency. Check this infographic on how you could leverage communication with your people in the best way possible.

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Resources:

DeMers, Jayson. “5 Examples of Rebranding Done Right.” Forbes. July 7, 2016. www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/07/07/5-examples-of-rebranding-done-right/#3c8c60492124

Shandrow, Kim Lachance. “The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Infographic).” Entrepreneur. September 10, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/237296

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Brand Conquest: Mainstreaming Your Niche Like Star Wars [Infographic]

The latest Star Wars film is coming out next week, and excitement is in the air with the buzz created by fans, both online and offline. Like all big franchises, the Star Wars brand name is one that’s inspired and influenced many. But before it got to where it is today, Star Wars’ brand was a new name in the market, and its niche, space opera, wasn’t as popular yet in films.

Star Wars’ reputation for being one of the films that popularized the space opera genre can be attributed to several factors. Among these is its strategic use of film elements to bring the Star Wars universe to life. It also tapped into the social trends of its time, and took a compelling approach to a story set in space. Compared to its competitors, Star Wars was a novelty that drew from and capitalized on its audience’s interests.

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Get some inspiration from the movie franchise and expand your own niche. Knowing what you’re good at is the first step to building your brand. Working with your strengths gives you a direction on what approach to take in the market. Like Star Wars’ masterful use of the medium, you also have to find something that you can use as a leverage over existing brands.

Innovation and uniqueness are two things that catch people’s attention. Brainstorm creative ideas that both reflects what you stand for and piques prospects’ interests. Observing your market and keeping track of people’s preferences can be effective in your brand positioning and getting more people to subscribe to your niche. Remember, focusing on your customers’ needs is the way to good business.

For more ideas on how you can follow Star Wars’ example and become a well-known brand name, read through our infographic on the film franchise’s brand conquest:

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Branding Lessons from Volkswagen’s Emission Test Fiasco

Your brand is your key to building and maintaining your customer base. Keeping your brand’s promises consistently keeps people loyal to your brand. A single mistake can instantly break that trust, which may cost years to get back.

This is why the recent allegation of Volkswagen using software for cheating diesel engine emissions test results is such a big deal.

What happened during the 2015 Volkswagen scandal?

Why the Volkswagen Scandal was Such a Big Deal
Why the Volkswagen scandal was such a big deal.

According to reports, the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the automaker had installed a program to adjust engine performance when the cars were subjected to carbon emission tests. This led people to believe that Volkswagen’s diesel engines were compliant with environmental standards, meaning they were supposedly cleaner.

As if this wasn’t enough, reports also say similar models shipped to European and Asian countries could also be affected by this software as well. The total number of affected vehicles could reach at least 11 million.

CEO Martin Winterkorn has already apologized for his company’s apparent violation of environmental safety standards, and is set to step down. While we have yet to hear news about a product recall, it’s safe to say that the public’s trust in Volkswagen has dropped significantly. Even then, there are also lessons we can learn about safeguarding your brand during trying times:

1. Do a Product Recall

Volkswagen should do a product recall 2015
Don’t let defective products stay in the market, or your brand’s reputation could tank further.

If anyone finds something wrong with your product, do a recall as soon as you can. Auto manufacturers like GM and Honda have also done recalls over defective parts when problems have been reported. This shows that you’re not willing to risk the public over the mistakes you made. You also give the impression that you act swiftly to correct your mistakes.

2. Issue an Apology

Volkswagen issued a public apology about the 2015 emission tests
Own up to your company’s mistakes. Never run away from them.

Owning up to your mistake is a crucial part of the brand recovery process. If you don’t share your side of the issue, the media will just keep reporting complaints from people and accidents caused by defective products This can be seen in the public apology done by Winterkorn. While it’s true that the public is still angry with Volkswagen, at least they humbly admitted their mistake and didn’t point fingers.

3. Keep the Public Posted

Volkswagen should keep the public informed about the 2015 issue
Once you’ve acknowledged the problem, keep taking steps to solve the problem, while keeping the public informed at the same time.

Maintaining a presence and updating your customers is another crucial lesson here. It goes without saying that you need to improve your product and fix what was broken. But as you do this, always remember to keep the public informed about the steps you’re taking.

As of this writing, Volkswagen has yet to take action over the affected cars. Expect that a costly recall will come up, though. While billions of dollars and euros might be spent to fix this problem, the people will be watching the company’s every move. It’s best for them to avoid taking wrong turns at this juncture.

The Bottomline

Volkswagen has a lot to learn from its emission test scandal
Volkswagen has a lot to learn from its public scandal, but the company can still recover with a lot of hard work.

The hardest part about your brand is that you will, at some point, have to own up to your mistakes. When this happens, it’s important to be quick in recalling any affected products. Don’t forget to share your side of the story and what you plan to do about the situation. This will help minimize the damage done by bad publicity and show that you‘re doing something to address the problem.

As for the Volkswagen fiasco, the company’s going to need a lot more than an apology to get their brand back on the right track.

References

DeBord, Matthew. “VW’s Cheating on Emissions Tests Goes to the Heart of Its US Business.” Business Insider. September 21, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2015. www.businessinsider.com
Thomas, Chad. “VW Chief Winterkorn Steps Down After Emissions Scandal.” Bloomberg.com. September 23, 2015. Accessed September 24, 2015. www.bloomberg.com
Thompson, Mark, and Ivana Kottasova. “Volkswagen Scandal Widens: $7.3 Billion Cost, 11 Million Cars.” CNNMoney. September 22, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2015. www.money.cnn.com

The Secret to Defining Your Presentation Ideas and Style

Giving a presentation is similar to marketing and advertising. You want clients to invest in your idea in the same way that company ads convince you to buy their products.

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This is why branding matters when pitching to an audience. This principle not only extends to your company, it also defines your presentation ideas and style.

Think about how certain companies advertise themselves.

Renowned author Jim Aitchison cites how Avis Taxi is marketed as the humble yet hardworking number two option. Compared to this, Volkswagen’s early ads talk about practicality while Volvo banked on safety as its defining trait. Having this kind of consistency is crucial for building your own brand as a speaker.

Why We Need Branding

Every client operates under their own corporate values. Find which ones are compatible with your company to establish a certain level of trust, especially when offering your products. Doing this over and over builds your reputation over time.

Why do people immediately give their undivided attention to speakers like Al Gore or Steve Jobs? Why do they have their own unique approach to giving speeches?

They didn’t earn this undivided attention overnight. The more they pitched, the more they gained experience and refined their styles. This style became their personal brand, their standard for PowerPoint content and tone.

Building Your Personal Brand

Businesses should be familiar with their identity and image to effectively market themselves.

For example, Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee. Brand communications specialist Carmine Gallo shows how it promotes a comfortable environment for its patrons, a so-called third place between work and home. This true purpose affects how they present themselves.

Ideally, aligning your purpose with your company can define your core beliefs as a person. This builds yourself as a brand.

A person who believes in keeping people relaxed can incorporate humor as needed. A straightforward person can immediately begin with the PowerPoint’s main thesis, while a friendly person would appeal to listeners by citing similar experiences to concretize their discussions.

Take Lessons From The Pros

From the words of ad veteran Luke Sullivan, there will always be people who have already tackled problems that you will soon face.

People have dealt with things like keeping the audience entertained during technical glitches and finding benefits your products can bank on, sometimes in a fun and entertaining way.

Given all these possible scenarios, only you can decide how to handle them in a way that makes you memorable. Take a few tips from Interbrand’s Chuck Brymer and see how the way you speak also affects the way you build your personal brand .

Conclusion

As you gain more career experience, you’ll figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some people prefer to ease a tense atmosphere before diving into the heart of their topics, while others keep their slide content to a minimum, allowing for a more conversational presentation.

Staying consistent to and committing yourself to your corporate values greatly influences how you present.

Pitching your products in an interesting, original and imaginative way will let you sell them the way great businesses do.

 

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References

3 Secrets from the Most Trusted Brands Around.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 01, 2013. Accessed May 5, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising (2nd Ed.). Jurong, Singapore. Prentice Hall, 2004
Brymer, C. “What Makes Brands Great.Marketing Magazine. 2004. Accessed May 5, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed May 5, 2015.

Prezi Design Tips: How to Leverage Your Brand

A company’s brand is an integral part of its identity. For this week’s Prezi feature, we discuss a few ways you can incorporate branding to make sure your presentations stand out from the competition. 

Whether it’s a small business or a multinational corporation, branding is always a process that’s integral to any organization. That’s why it’s important to make sure your brand is in the presentations you deliver. No matter how well-designed, it’s not enough to use stock templates and illustrations. You need to present visuals that highlight your company’s story and experience. If you want to stand out from your competition, branding your presentation is a step you can’t afford to skip.

In Prezi, an easy way to start branding your presentation is by uploading your own custom logo. If you’re either a Pro, EDU Pro, Enjoy, or EDU Enjoy user, you can replace the Prezi logo that appears by default in the lower left  corner.

brand prezi 01
Replace the logo with your company’s own logo by upgrading your Prezi plan.

All you have to do is head to the Theme Wizard by clicking on ‘Customize’ and choosing ‘Advanced’ from the right sidebar. From there, you’ll easily find the “Upload custom logo” feature. You can watch this video tutorial for a step-by-step review of the process.

 

Of course, uploading your logo is only the first step to fully branding your presentation. After all, the logo is only a single component of your company’s entire brand. You still need to make sure that the rest of your design remains consistent with your company’s core message and identity. To do that, you need to create a prezi that tells the complete story.

Here are some things you can keep in mind when building a presentation to leverage your brand:

Look to your logo to make font and color choices

brand prezi 04
The logo is your first source of inspiration when branding a presentation. (View Prezi)

One of the easiest ways to brand your presentation is by looking to your logo for some quick inspiration. It’s important to keep your integral design elements consistent with the visual representation of your brand. Head back to the Theme Wizard and customize your prezi by choosing colors and fonts that work well with your logo. Your choices doesn’t have to be directly similar. In fact, a bit of variety can add some interest to the look of your presentation. However, keep in mind that the fonts and colors you pick should still be compatible with the overall look of your logo.

Use images that fit your brand’s personality

brand prezi 03
The visuals that enhance your design should be consistent with your brand’s personality. (View Prezi)

You should also make sure that the images in your presentation are a perfect representation of your brand’s personality. You can check this resource to uncover more details about this. Once you have everything figured out, sit down for a quick brainstorming session. List down the words that come to mind when you think of the qualities that make your brand unique. You can then use your list to come up with keywords that will facilitate your search for the perfect pictures and illustrations.

Think of a visual metaphor that describes what you do 

brand prezi 02
Keep your brand story engaging by finding the perfect visual metaphor. (View Prezi)

You can also turn your story into a visual metaphor that will give the audience more insight about what you do. Designer Meghan Hendricks created a presentation to illustrate how an architecture firm made use of Prezi to pitch to a big client. In order to tell a story that corresponds to their brand, she used a blueprint as the design’s central metaphor. For your own presentation, think of an object or symbol that perfectly describes the service or product you’re offering. If you want to make sure that your presentation is as unique as your brand, stay away from cliches by taking the time to brainstorm and  hash out your ideas.

Presentations are the perfect opportunity to leverage your brand. Make sure your design remains consistent with your core message and identity by following these tips.

 

Featured Image: Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo / Prezi logo via Wikimedia Commons

Business Storytelling: Turn Presentations into a Powerful Marketing Tool

Business storytelling has been helping brands add more impact to their online content, and it can do the same for your presentations.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Your presentations have the potential to become one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal. During presentations, you’re directly talking to the people you want to reach out.

So don’t waste a good opportunity by boring potential clients with bad delivery. Engage them with a simple technique that’s ‘as old as time’. Tell them a great story.

What is business storytelling?

According to Mike Murray, business storytelling is basically about “brands sharing their messages in ways that engage audiences and drive them to a desired action.” It might sound similar to the definition of content marketing we gave previously, but Murray maintains that they are two separate, but related things.

“Business storytelling is a distinct content discipline that leverages well-crafted narratives in a diverse range of content types, while content marketing is much broader and speaks to the collective efforts that companies use to communicate with their audiences in informative and engaging ways.”

To frame it, content marketing refers to a collection of things you do to reach out and engage consumers and potential clients. One of the ways you can do that is through presentations that reveal the core identity of your brand and company.

What business story should you tell?

In her book, “Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins,” Annette Simmons identified six kinds of stories that can help facilitate business communications:

  • “Who am I” Stories
  • “Why am I here” Stories
  • Vision Stories
  • Values-in-Action Stories
  • Teaching Stories
  • “I know what you’re thinking” Stories

While Simmons uses these stories to help frame interactions that are more straightforward, her insights can also be helpful to marketing presentations. Particularly, it’s the first three that are important to business storytelling in your presentations. These are the type of stories that help reveal insights to build trust and establish rapport between you and your audience.

Obviously, you won’t be telling stories from your own personal experience. Instead, think of answers to “Who am I”, “Why am I here” and “What do I envision” in terms of your brand and company identity. Here are a few specific questions, courtesy of Content Marketing Institute, to help you narrow it down:

  • What’s your reason for being?
  • What’s your history?
  • Who are your main characters?
  • What’s your corporate mission?
  • How have you failed?

Humans have always been storytellers. It’s our way of connecting with each other. In whatever form, the core of all our communications is the primordial impulse to tell and hear stories. Why not use that to improve your presentations?

 

References

Murray, Mike. “Business Storytelling: Key Questions.” Content Marketing Institute. April 23, 2014. Accessed July 24, 2014.
The Six Kinds of Stories.” Annette Simmons. 2014. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Williams, Debbie. “Find the Heart of Your Brand Storytelling with These 6 Questions.” Content Marketing Institute. June 19, 2013. Accessed July 24, 2014.

 

Featured Image: UNE Photos via Flickr

Your Brand Should Be In Your PowerPoint Designs

PowerPoint is a powerful business tool, especially in marketing. If you’re presenting to potential clients or pitching to investors, your PowerPoint designs need to be consistent with your company story. Your presentations will stand out. More importantly, you’ll help your audience become more familiar with your brand. Here’s a quick lesson on how you can add branding to your PowerPoint designs, and enhance the presentation experience.

Why it’s important to upgrade your PowerPoint designs with branding

powerpoint designs-the brand formula
The formula to an effective brand. (Image by Troy Thompson)

Your brand encapsulates the entirety of your company identity. You become more accessible to your target audience because it involves a heavily visual component. It usually consists of a logo, a tagline, a specific color scheme, and distinguishable fonts, illustrations, or other graphic elements. You see this applied to your websites, social media profiles, print ads, and brochures. Why is it important to your presentations as well?

By creating PowerPoint designs that correspond to your brand, you’re helping your presentations become more distinguishable and unique. Think about how athletes would wear their country’s flag during the Olympics. Your presentations work the same way.  The content you’re delivering is a representation of your company.

Incorporating your brand to PowerPoint designs: Quick case studies

It doesn’t take an expert to incorporate your brand to your PowerPoint designs. All you need is creativity and imagination. Of course, it won’t hurt to consult with professionals, especially if you’re pressed for time. However, as long as you’re familiar with the visual components of your brand, you can definitely create slides that are adjacent to your company story.

To explain further, let’s look at some examples from the SlideGenius portfolio:

PowerPoint designs by SlideGenius 01

Logo Inspiration: This title slide is decorated with the distinguishable “X” from the Nintex logo. The blown-up “X” is also enhanced by the addition of pictures. The images chosen work well with the tagline, “Workflow for Everyone.”

PowerPoint designs by SlideGenius 02

PowerPoint designs by SlideGenius 03

Color scheme and graphic design: These slides show a color scheme that is consistent with Jubaloo’s logo.The color red is used in the second slide as a “highlight” color, which allows key points to stand out. Also, notice how the geometric effect of the box in the company logo is translated in the background of the title slide.

PowerPoint designs by SlideGenius 04 PowerPoint designs by SlideGenius 05

Overall theme: These slides for HomeClick follow the overall theme represented by the brand. Since the company is mainly concerned with home decor and improvement, the slides were designed to give it that same ‘homey’ feel. Notice how the green background is actually a pattern that looks like wallpaper, and how the title slide shows a computer on a wooden desk.

Your presentation has the power to become your best marketing tool. As long as your PowerPoint designs are on point, you can effectively spread your message to your target audience. For more inspiration, read up on how we improved our clients’ slides to give them the best foot forward.