When running a business, one of your most valuable assets is your company and it’s personal brand(s).

It differentiates you and your offering from the competitor. With subtlety, it also promises a particular experience.

That’s why some of the most ubiquitous and successful brands ( i.e. Apple, Nike) are worth more than meets the eye. Sure they have great products, but their brands elevate them above the competition, but their customers also have an almost visceral connection with the brand. Nike sees anyone with a body as an athlete and Apple wants you to embrace your originality.

For those of you who have known us from the start, we used to be called SlideComet. Along with our very cool (at least we thought it was) tagline: ‘Make an Impact’. Recently, however, we decided to re-brand ourselves to HighSpark.

This decision was met with shock and surprise by both friends and clients alike. ‘Why?’ they asked. The reason is slightly obscure.

Why The Rebrand

Here’s a look at some of the considerations as to why we decided to rebrand.

A Misguided Brand

The problem is, we might have done too good a job in branding ourselves for the wrong things. A couple of years back, we were more than happy to call ourselves ‘presentation designers’. Due to semantic stretch, however, the word ‘design’ has lost its original meaning of functional problem-solving. Or at least, that was what it meant to us.

We’ve had our fair share of prospects mistaking us for ‘the guys that make slides pretty’ when the truth was that we did much more than that.

Behind-the-scenes, we go to great lengths to help our clients craft effective presentations and trust me, it’s no child’s play. For example, for one of our clients: Graebel – a relocation firm, we conducted interviews with stakeholders from four different global territories all before we even began creating a script, much less a slide.

An effective presentation should motivate behavioural change, empowers the presenter and acts as an enabler for one to achieve his or her goals. If it just looks ‘pretty’ it defeats the purpose, as some would say: putting lipstick on a pig.

An Unclear Offering

In hindsight, one of our greatest blunders was being unclear from the beginning what exactly we stood for and what we were essentially offering. If we could turn back time, we’d have put in more effort into defining a clear vision, mission and ethos of our brand before really putting ourselves out there.

Luckily for us, going into this Rambo-style allowed the personality of our brand to develop naturally through our interactions with people both online and off. It became something a little irreverent but also something bold and unconventional, which was more than we hoped for.

As we started taking on bigger corporate clients, we soon outgrew our original brand identity. Even the former name “SlideComet” no longer seemed to convey what we stood for. It put too much focus on the aesthetic design aspect of presentations that we no doubt did well, but was only a small part of what we offered. At our core, we were strategists.

Our mission now is to provide the right tools to empower leaders to deliver high-stakes, persuasive presentations that sell and we do it by crafting visual stories.

Fast-track to two years later and we felt it was time to give ourselves a fresh look – a new name that encapsulates who we really are and the vision we uphold.

More About Visual Stories

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Stories are powerful tools of influence. On the psychological level, stories stimulate feelings; they help us to retain information better and comprehend things faster. As Kevin R. Daley rightly puts it: “Decisions are made on feelings about facts, not on the facts themselves.”

Even for the more rational individuals amongst us, our decisions are still largely influenced by how we feel. Visuals paired with stories offer a potent double whammy.

Picture the last time when you sat through a really good movie – great visual effects, great plot. You took home the moral and shared it with your friends. It might have even impacted the way that you live your life! That’s the kind of effect we want to help our clients achieve.

It’s incredibly difficult to tell someone else’s story the way they’d tell it unless you know them and their topic intimately. With each client engagement, we treat our clients as partners. During client engagements, we need to wear many hats. We have to get ‘into character’ as one of their own (team members) and also offer perspectives from an audience’s point-of-view.

Essentially every storytelling encounter involves a storyteller and his or her audience – covering both fronts ensure the best results. There are many ways to tell a story but we felt that ‘The Hero’s Journey Approach‘ and ‘Mystery Storytelling’ are one of the simplest yet highly effective ones at best.

The Next Stage – HighSpark

Moving forward, the brand new SlideComet, HighSpark, strives to empower even more change-makers throughout organisations to ‘make a dent in the universe’.

We realise that it’s difficult to do so if we continue working within the four walls of the office. At the same time, we don’t want to stop serving individuals who have supported us thus far.

Along with a new identity, we’ve created two new avenues – our new blog as well as offline training and workshops, to equip leaders with essential know-how on creating visually persuasive presentations.

It’s an exciting journey ahead for HighSpark and we thank you in advance for being part of it. Cheers to a new start!

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Eugene Cheng

Eugene Cheng is the co-founder and creative lead of HighSpark (formerly Slide Comet, a strategic presentation consultancy serving Fortune 500 companies like: Panasonic, Dentsu, Nike. A self-confessed presentation obsessive, he relishes in building compelling visual content for his agency’s channel and his personal channel on SlideShare and is also a Keynote Author ( top 1% of SlideShare)

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