Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when creating a brand’s custom-slide template? More than you’d think. In this post, we shed light on how we helped a multi-national corporation (MNC) upgrade their presentation by consolidating and accentuating the essence of their brand. After operating for nearly a full century, Panasonic made a strategic decision of moving beyond their initial offerings. Problem is, their existing brand image was still deeply entrenched in the minds of their loyal customers.The challenge here was to re-position their company offerings in the minds of their consumers.
Keep in mind, the templates would be used by departments manned by over 254,000+ employees. Hence, the presentation system and library had to be malleable enough to convey a uniformed message whilst still be tailored towards the context of the presentation.
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When you think of the Panasonic, what is the first impression that comes to mind? If your first impression is a multi-national electrical appliance company, you aren’t alone.
As a Japanese household brand, Panasonic built their reputation through distributing electrical appliances. Through a series of successful expansions, they grew to become the global brand they are today.
Over the years, however, they have evolved beyond household electronics towards providing solutions that impact lives and the environment. Today, they even produce organic produce for household consumption.
Their motto “A Better Life, A Better World” sums up their aim to provide a better living for their customers through revolutionizing their living spaces. Spaces such as their homes, communities, businesses, journeys, and automobiles through building smart cities and intelligent machines. In order to create a presentation that is both customisable while delivering the brand essence, we focused on developing a solid presentation strategy.
More About Presentation Strategy
To clarify, presentation strategy is more than just pretty images and fancy copy. Instead, the support visual’s function is to serve as a potent vehicle in selling a message.
Its end goal is to prompt the audience towards desired business outcomes ( e.g. strategic partnership). This involves the careful consideration of a brand’s identity and business objectives while incorporating effective visual storytelling techniques. Generally, it is common to disregard these three elements and jump straight into designing.
While this might sound more efficient in theory, it actually makes your presentation less persuasive and more unlikely to fulfill your objective.
In the following paragraphs, we will be revealing the behind-the-scenes steps we took to enhance their story through our four-step methodology:
Business & gap analysis
Structuring a story that sticks and captivates
Designing visuals that accentuate the story
Production of templates and guidelines
Starting with the business objectives as the primary consideration, we uncovered that these slide decks were primarily meant to be used by the sales departments across different product and solution verticals. The objective of these presentations is to convince potential partners to collaborate with Panasonic towards achieving their vision of a sustainable world.
The objective of these presentations is to convince potential partners to collaborate with Panasonic towards achieving their vision of a sustainable world.
The Panasonic team mentioned that they would like to tap on the reputation of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic. Known to be the “god of management” in Japan, his deep management philosophies helped Panasonic grow and tide through difficult financial times.
While he is no longer alive, his name serves as a key asset in lending credibility to Panasonic as a brand. Through this, partners can trust that working with the company would bring about a good cause for the world.
Next we analyzed Panasonic’s competitors such as Philips and Siemens. This gave us an in-depth perspective of the wider industry while defining what made Panasonic’s brand special.
Their rich history and their innovation efforts that is aligned to their founder’s philosophy on sustainability. Therefore, projects like smart cities development are unique to them.
The Storyboarding Process
Panasonic strived for a single deck that can be used across various verticals. Hence, they needed a story framework that allow them to edit the content without losing the essence of the overall story.
Based on this requirement, we created the following story structure:
It involved a roundabout loop. Starting off with a broad landscape overview, it covers three main points and goes back to the beginning with a call to action.
Let us break it down in more detail: The introduction describes a landscape overview of how technology has changed the world drastically. Yet despite the change, Panasonic will continue to strive to live by the timeless philosophy laid down by its founder to continue enhancing the quality of lives throughout the world.
It goes on to describe how Panasonic has moved beyond consumer electronics. Instead below are the three areas where Panasonic strives to make a positive change:
Lives of people
Within each area, there is a case study/evidence to illustrate the respective points. To end off, the slides presents a call to action that YOU can be part of it. This is the prompt for potential partners to come on board and join Panasonic on their world-changing mission. With that, Panasonic reinforces its new mission: to create “A better life, A better world”.
Designing The Presentation
With the storyboarding process completed, we proceeded to conduct a visual brand analysis. This comprises of studying current brand assets and defining the brand personality. As the presentation deck is a part of the company’s brand collateral, the style had to be conveyed consistent across all mediums. Through this exercise, we created three different themes for the Panasonic team to choose from.
This comprises of studying current brand assets and defining the brand personality. As the presentation deck is a part of the company’s brand collateral, the style had to be conveyed consistent across all mediums. Through this exercise, we created three different themes for the Panasonic team to choose from.
Creating An Instructional Brief
The size of the Panasonic team is huge, servicing diverse vertical and geographical locations. Therefore, we created an instructional deck enabling the staff to understand how they could tailor specific areas of the deck. This framework enabled them to tailor the slides according to their situation, without affect the overall story flow.
This framework enabled them to tailor the slides according to their situation, without affect the overall story flow.
To Recap What Happened
[fancy_box id=5][content_upgrade id=938]Bonus Download: 7 Things You Must Do For Visually Persuasive Presentations[/content_upgrade][/fancy_box] So there you have it – Here are the steps we took when helping Panasonic upgrade their presentation slides while consolidating and accentuating their brand essence.
So there you have it – Here are the steps we took when helping Panasonic upgrade their presentation while consolidating and accentuating their brand essence.
To recap, here were the steps we took:
Analyzing the business background
Structuring a story that flows and captivates
Designing visuals that accentuate the story
Production of templates and guidelines
Ultimately, this project has enabled Panasonic to highlight the impact of their legacy and invite potential partners to their mission of “A better life, A better world”.
What do you think makes an impactful presentation deck? Many tend to think that it is the designing part that makes the cut. While this is somewhat true, there is no point of you having a beautifully designed presentation deck if it’s not designed in a functional way – where your message is able to be conveyed to your audience.
“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be functional” – Cameron Moll
An impactful presentation deck does not compromise the design or content. Or both. Instead, it reinforces the two so that the presentation deck has the best of both worlds – it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye while still being informative and succinct at the same time.
So how do you make sure your presentation sells? There are so many different factors that come into play. From the structure and colour, to the typography and image used.
All of these elements have a part to play. Hence, it’s important to understand these design principles which can help make your presentation much more impactful.
To make this easier, we have broken down the principles of design in a step-by-step guide. This guide will give you a solid foundation to launch any impactful presentation if you follow it closely.
1) Structure Your Content
First and foremost, it’s essential that you organise and structure your content. Many make the mistake of jumping right into designing their slides when they have not even created an outline for their content.
Even a great topic with the best content and ideas will be rendered useless if it’s not organised in a coherent manner. Not only will you confuse your audience, you’ll also find it difficult to design the slides – disorganised content entails an even more disorganised presentation deck.
One way to organise your content is to create an outline as it restructures your speech to make it clear and concise. After you’ve decided the points you’d like to bring up, start arranging them in a way where it can smoothly transition from one point to the other.
This leads me to my next point.
One idea per slide
Take a look at this slide:
Do you feel overwhelmed? Or as if you can’t tell what the slide is trying to convey? You aren’t the only one. The reason you may feel this way is because there are too many ideas placed on one slide.
Let’s face it. Everyone gets overwhelmed and blank out when bombarded with a sea of information. There is also a scientific reason behind this.
Low memory retention happens when your audience has to split their attention between reading the text on the slide and listening to you speak – an almost impossible task to absorb anything.
Therefore, ‘less is more’ when it comes to presentation slides. It all boils to breaking down the content in a way that your audience is able to digest and keep up with.
Here’s how to organise your points so that they are informative yet concise:
Identify the main points
Assign one slide per main point
Elaborate the details – the sub points and etc – in your speech instead (or put it under your notes as reference)
It’s important to be attentive to visual hierarchy. Take a second to think about the eye movements of your audience as they look at your slides.
Are they reading from left to right? Or vice-versa?
Take note of where, you should position your text based on the language you use. In most western languages, people typically read from left to right. However, other languages like Arabic, Persian or even Japanese are read the other way round.
People are also conditioned to read from top to bottom. So it is best to adjust your visual elements to go with the flow of their eye movements.
2) Create a Moodboard
After you are done organising and structuring your content, comes the conceptualisation of the presentation deck. One of the difficult parts of designing is executing it. Even if you have great design ideas in mind, it can be tough to know how exactly you will execute it. This is the part where moodboards come in.
So what is a moodboard?
In simpler terms, it is a collage of images and colours that help inspire the beginning stages of your presentation deck. It gives a rough idea of the look, feel, and tone of your presentation – a roadmap that shows the outcome of your presentation deck.
Moodboards of presentation decks usually consist of the following:
a) Colour Scheme
It’s important not to underestimate the effect of colours. A recent study called the “Impact of Color in Marketing” discovered that 90% of quick judgments made about purchase can be based on colour alone.
Colours are able to evoke feelings, associations, and experiences in us. Knowing this, you should make use of the appropriate colours to use for your slides to bring out a certain feeling you have in mind so that you can further reinforce your message.
Here’s a video explaining the meaning behind certain colours and what they are associated to:
With that in mind, now ask yourself what is the emotion or feeling you wish to evoke in your audience? When you’ve decided, create a colour palette that meets the emotion you wish to evoke.
Coolors and paletton are great if you need inspiration to create a colour scheme.
Mix & Match Colours
When selecting colours, you need to choose a harmonious combination that accentuates the message of your slides.
A good strategy for selecting a colour palette is to choose three that represent the following:
The rule is simple: background and base colours should be in a similar range of the colour wheel while the accent colour should represent a shade furthest away from the background and base.
Ensure that your background and base colours pale in comparison to your accent colour as the accent colour role is to captures your audience’s attention in the presentation. To make sure your accent colour remains in the limelight, it is best to make it the ‘loudest’ colour among the three.
You’ve probably heard this many time but a picture really is worth a thousand words.
According to brain research studies, we are six times more likely to remember visuals compared to text-based content.
With that being said, including images on your slides are not enough. This brings me to the next point.
Use High-Quality Images
When selecting images, it is essential you find high quality ones. Many speakers make the mistake of choosing low or medium quality images as from their laptop screen, it looks normal – fine even. However, if it gets showcased on a full-sized screen, it may end up looking grainy. So even if you provide great content, your slide designs will suggest otherwise.
Avoid going to Google Images and selecting the first image that appears on the search results – who’s to say the next person won’t do the same?
Visit this list of websites that offer free stock photos instead. If you are aiming to go full screen, we recommend that you go for pictures that are of at least least 1,000 pixels.
Apply The Rule of Thirds
Here’s a key principle to take note of when selecting an image.
Rule of thirds dictates that the most powerful images have their focal points at the intersection of the thirds of the lines on a given canvas.
So, if you divide your presentation slides into vertical and horizontal thirds, the intersections of those lines are like crosshairs, and you want to place those crosshairs right on top of the focal point of your image
Here are some insights by David Peterson, Digital Photo Secrets of why that is the case.
“If your subject is in the middle of the image, it’s considered static.Your eye is drawn to it then has nowhere to go from there because the object is equal distance from all sides.
Therefore, when your subject is positioned closer to one of the edges, it forces your eye to follow it…to find it.
This allows the viewer to linger on your image longer. It makes for a more captivating photo because it’s almost interactive. Like a conversation going on between the photo and you.”
He showed his participants three images labelled ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.
Image ‘A’ did not abide by the rule of thirds while ‘B’ and ‘C’ did. When asked which of the three slides the audience felt were pleasing to the eye, many roughly chose Image ‘B’ or ‘C’ half of the time.
Less than 5% of the audience chose Image ‘A’. When asked why they chose Image ‘A’, some said “It’s boring.” or “I couldn’t decide what was important in the photo.”
One Image Per Slide
Just like the principle of one message per slide, it is also important to not overwhelm your audience with so many images per slide – which only makes them look cluttered and hard to focus on. Space the images out across several slides.
It’s simple, powerful and highly effective. Also known as ‘negative space’, white space is a design term referring to space that isn’t occupied by text, images or other visible page elements.
You’re probably thinking, shouldn’t you maximise every inch of your slide deck? Instead of wasting it with this ‘white space’?
Firstly, it creates separation. White space helps declutter your slides by creating separation between objects.
In addition, it emphasises or bring out the important points. White space, in simple terms, is a blank canvas. There is absolutely nothing to look at when it is fully being utilised. But, add in content surrounding this blank canvas and that content will stand out even more.
Last but not least, white space improves readability. Want your slides to be impactful? According to a research by Dmitry Fadeyev, (creator of Usaura), white space increases comprehension by almost 20%.
Turns out, whitespace around a block of text helps people comprehend what they are reading better – and therefore, make your slides easier to remember.
An icon can be defined as an image of a high symbolic value, used for the purpose to communicate ideas and messages without the use of words.
With icons you can also draw attention and list things without it being boring and repetitive. You can also add value to your presentation by making use of icons so things are more understandable for your audience.
Icons make content easier to understand as it contains meaning. Unlike bullet-points, icons contain a drawing or picture which in the audience’s mind will associate it with a task, function or is aligned with the point you are trying to convey. If the meaning of the icon is clear, your audience will be able to link it easily to the content.
For example, an icon of a phone will quickly help your audience associate it to contacts or communication.
In addition, icons help facilitate text skimming. Although drawing your audience’s attention to your presentation is important, making it easy to skim through it is equally important as well.
People just don’t have time or interest to fully read everything they see. But with icons, you can reinforce skimming while ensuring the message is still being conveyed. This is because icons quickly tell your audience what the presentation or point is about.
d) Select a Font
Serif vs San Serif
Do you know the difference between serifs and san serifs? Urban Fonts describe the two types as the following.
Serifs have small lines detailing the edge of letters and symbols. Serif fonts are usually associated with something serious – formal even. This is because of their traditional and conservative look and feel.
On the other hand, san serifs do not have the small lines projected out of the letters. This gives a more minimalistic and modern effect as a result.
Knowing this, make sure to understand what type of feel you want your presentation to invoke. Choosing a font according to the age group you will be speaking to is also vital.
For example: sans serifs are much more appropriate to use especially if your audience are young children. This is because the simplified letterforms are easier for them to identify with as they’re still learning how to recognise letters and words.
Given the strengths of each font type, it’s also not a bad idea to combine the two types which can bring out a unique combination. You can make use of serif in headlines for greater emphasis while serif can be used in the body text in order to give a more cohesive feel and easier readability in your slide.
Imagine going to a speech where the speaker is speaking in a monotonous and rigid tone. There is a lack of intonation, speed change and excitement. Boring right?
The same applies to the usage of fonts. You need different fonts to add spice and texture to your presentation.
Experimenting the pairing of fonts can be fun, but time-consuming. As a rule of thumb, having contrasting font types help. Here are some examples:
Wide vs Narrow
Serif vs San Serif
Bold vs Light
Big vs Small
With that being said, although pairing different fonts help spice up your visuals, do take note not to overdo it. Only use two to three fonts at most to keep it consistent. If not, it will end up looking overwhelming, distracting and messy.
Supersize Your Fonts
It’s important to remember that you are creating a presentation deck for a room full of people. That means ensuring your audience from the front all the way to the back of the room are able to see your slides and the content.
To ensure that they do, make use of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule – minimising the number of words on your presentation slides.
This gives you a chance to supersize your fonts as a result and yes, although it is better to have slides that are short and sweet, make sure not to compromise any important information just to hit that criteria.
“Now at our studios we don’t write our stories, we DRAW them.” Walt Disney
A storyboard is a rough sketch of how you want your presentation deck to flow. It all boils down to two words – visual outline. Just like your content, even your designs and layouts need an outline.
Despite so, it also happens to be one of the most neglected practices in designing a PowerPoint presentation since many are unaware of this method.
Storyboards are important step to take as it helps you design you design a ‘deck that sells’ with minimal effort, time and money.
This is because it helps you to visualise the structure of your presentation- from the beginning, middle and end. Starting straight to designing your deck on PowerPoint or Keynote will only kill of any chances of how you want to layout your content and design.
Sketching your presentation deck also helps cut down the time taken for you to design your presentation deck. This is because it you are dumping all the ideas you have in mind as opposed to keeping all the information in your head – which you may forget about after a while.
If you are in a stump, however, there are many sites that you can visit to gather inspiration for your deck. Some examples include Creative Market and Dribbble.
And there you have it! Designing an aesthetically pleasing yet informative presentation deck requires a lot of patience, dedication and effort. To recap, remember that these are the design principles you should keep in mind the next time you craft your presentation deck:
In the modern age, effective business leaders are compelling storytellers.
Think about it – We live in a digitally connected world, where various forms of media are attempting to grab our attention.
Whether you’re having a conversation with your team, presenting to a client or to a large audience we need ways to cut through and get our messages to stick.
That is where visual storytelling comes in.
As part of our human conditioning, we are primed to process visual element and storytelling elements efficiently.
Hence rather than resisting our innate desire for visual storytelling, we should embrace it.
Here are various leadership areas it could enable you to thrive in:
. 1. Winning The War For Talent
With collaborative tools available and a globally connected marketplace, the competition for talent has never been so fierce.
Competing merely on pay cheques and employee perks is the sure-fire way to lose talent.
Instead, you need to communicate a vision that is bigger than the people involved.
Take Mindvalley for example, the story they tell is that the tradition education system has serious gaps. Gaps such as failing to teach individuals about mindfulness and relationships.
Hence, Mindvalley’s mission is to bridge that gap. This has attracted talent from all over the world to their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, all eager to be part of the story.
. 2. Facilitate Organisational Change
Human beings are creatures of comfort. We are resistant to change.
According to Hans Donckers, an organisational catalyst, storytelling is critical for organisational change.
“People often refute that business shouldn’t be about stories but about facts and figures? About rational analysis and objectivity, rather than about emotions and subjectivity. Probably it should be when it comes to taking important decisions. But once decisions are taken, the biggest challenge lies in changing the mindsets of people to adhere to the decision and in igniting the action that is needed to make the decision real.”
Visual storytelling helps facilitate the viral effect as transmitting the fundamental message is much easier that merely memorising numbers and facts.
. 3. Communicating Your Vision Into Reality
Walt Disney was a genius at this.
He used storytelling to help his team understand his vision for experiences he was trying to create.
The stakes were high as the animators were going to spend the next three to four years of their lives putting his idea into a film.
In the end, he nailed it by producing masterpieces such as Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
4. Encourage During Turbulent Times
With industries getting their business models disrupted by hot startups, it is easy to be wary of the turbulent environment.
That is where storytelling can have a comforting effect on key stakeholders such as employees, investors and customers.
According to research by Paul Zak, storytelling evokes a strong neurological response.
“Our brain produces the stress hormone cortisol during the tense moment in a story, which allows us to focus, while the human, emotional factor releases oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that promotes connection and empathy.”
This results in helping individuals to make sense and operate effectively in the turbulent environment.
In the infographic below, we have listed scientific data backing up why visual storytelling is key to effective communication as a leader.