The boss wants a presentation. And he’s calling about everything else under the sun every five minutes. Your phone is ringing…. You don’t work in a vacuum. And all of this “noise” can totally take your mind away from the importance of the presentation you’re supposed to be coming up with yesterday.
But the fact is that the minute you enter a meeting room, you’re making your brand tangible, and when your presentation hits the screen, the audience is getting a new viewpoint. Worse, this may be the only chance you get to make your points and to promote your company, so nailing down the branding is crucial if you’re going to deliver a solid performance. And if everything is not aligned, then that work you rushed to finish may come to nothing because it doesn’t end up agreeing with the tone of all the other company communications established over a far longer time.
See, branding doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Branding is the result of a set of actions that manage both subjectively and concretely, consumer perception.
All told, here’s what is going on behind the scenes of most good corporate communications:
- Brand – Corporate image as a whole
- Identity – Visual aspects that are only a part of the brand
- Logo – typography and color and form, and/or an icon that synthesizes the message about the company
Okay, so what about branding?
The idea of branding exists to move a company beyond profit, so that the brand of a company becomes part of the culture and influences people emotionally.
The language and communication used in branding need to reflect a kind of intimacy, a personality, as Marty Neumeier discusses in his book The Brand Gap:
- You buy something based on your feelings about a product.
- You buy a service based on your feelings in relation to the supplier of that service.
- You involve yourself with an organization based on your feelings about it.
And so branding plays an important role in connecting consumer thought with experience. The idea of branding goes way beyond logo, because, depending on the way a brand is managed, what the consumer understands will depend on his/her interpretation, which is a reaction to visual identity.
So brand is visual identity?
No. Corporate visual identity expresses the values and personality of a brand; in other words, the identity covers much more than a simple symbol. Actually, it involves a “patchwork” construction that depends on the integrated management of identity and logo.
The meaning of the brand must be imprinted in the visual identity because it is intrinsically related to the corporate image of a company. And so everything that is shown in a communication is visually integrated with the company’s DNA by using color, shape and image.
So what about that presentation?
So branding needs to reinforce the brand in every communication issued by a company. In the same way that it’s necessary to ensure that everybody is speaking the same language about a brand, the message and the visual part of every presentation also need to have that brand DNA.
Because of this, it’s essential to plan in advance if your meeting is going to be successful. Even the most intelligent, appropriate and creative solutions can be further boosted by a well-done presentation.
So even if you have to get the thing done yesterday, in the midst of ringing phones and demanding bosses, the next time you’re going to create a presentation, keep in mind:
- For something institutional, use the visual elements and brand colors defined by your company.
- Research communication materials for reference points. You can use newsletters, websites, whatever to help you to develop your own work.
- About the images you choose: make choices according to the way your company communicates.
- Use a lot of empty space on your slides for a clean look. Remember that less is more.
- Choose fonts suitable to the tone of your presentation, like Times New Roman or Copperplate Gothic for technical presentations, and fancy, curlicue fonts for softer, more romantic messages.
- Have only the necessary words on a slide.
- For charts and graphs, use only the important numbers.
- Use animation when necessary but only if necessary.
With all this in mind, you should be able to present your ideas,in a way that is aligned visually with the rest of your company’s messages
And the end result is branding.