Extreme Makeover: PowerPoint Edition

By Heather Baldwin
Background: Suzanne Ruland is corporate vice president of sales at Novo 1, a company that offers client marketing teams and their agencies a powerful, single source for their direct marketing support needs (www.novo1.com). With her company offering such a broad range of services – Novo 1 has the resources and expertise to manage programs from research and strategy through execution and fulfillment – Ruland wanted a professional’s perspective on how to effectively portray the many dimensions of her business. Selling Power teamed Ruland with Ira Koretsky, chief storyteller at Koretsky Communications Group. He shares his feedback here.
Slide’s objective: To inform the audience about Novo 1’s products and services and establish the foundation for next steps.
Audience: Typically director level or above in multiple industries – financial services, healthcare services, telecom, utilities, nonprofit, insurance and publishing, to name a few.
Challenges: From a design perspective, Koretsky had concerns about the slides’ formatting, picture and template. For starters, the colors, fonts, spacing and text sizes were inconsistent throughout the presentation. Second, the images didn’t help Novo 1 tell its story. Finally, the template design decreased the available working space by more than 25% because of the large vertical color bar and large logo; the watermarked target was bright enough to be visually distracting; and the circle design competed with the vertical lines. In terms of the business story, like many presentations this one was too company-centric. The slides were full of facts, services and details, but didn’t take into account the audience’s perspective.
Changes: Koretsky started by tackling the design issues on the slide that explains one of Novo 1’s more important services, Inbound Support. He maintained the simple, effective white background in keeping with Novo 1’s style guide and created a horizontal title bar with a fully branded color scheme and design. He also reduced the logo size by 50% and moved it to the lower right corner. Koretsky used a call center picture from another slide in the presentation, reduced its size and added a drop shadow from Adobe Photoshop to increase the professional look and feel. Finally, he used two different subheading colors to differentiate the two concepts of features and benefits.
From a content perspective, Koretsky changed the descriptive title to one that imparts a value-based message. The bullets now speak immediately to customer loyalty (Novo 1’s expertise) in the audience’s terms. “Most presentations are designed from the organization’s perspective. It is the exact opposite of how a salesperson would talk to someone,” says Koretsky. “Technology creates a disconnect. To reconnect with your audience, create presentations with this in mind: Think like a salesperson, present like a salesperson and be the expert that you are.”
Results: The title and text now tell the Novo 1 story from the audience’s viewpoint. They are supported by images that depict happy, smiling staff to underscore the people-based services Novo 1 offers. With the smaller logo and new title bar, the new template maximizes the available workspace while remaining in synch with the corporate style guide. The new slides give Novo 1 a foundation template and retuned business story that should put them on the right path to creating a compelling, audience-focused presentation.

About the Expert: Ira Koretsky is the Chief Storyteller at Koretsky Communications Group, a leading authority in business communications and Web-based presentations. KCG’s Power Story Program, offered through workshops and client engagements, helps entrepreneurs, academia, nonprofits, government, and Fortune 100 corporations distill their unique and compelling business story. They help clients inspire with great content, engage with powerful visual metaphors, and deliver messages with confidence and credibility. To reach Koretsky, visit www.kcomgroup.com.

Note to readers: Need help with a PowerPoint slide or two? Just email the slides you think could use a makeover to: powerpointhelp@sellingpower.com. If your slides are selected, we’ll turn them over to a presentations expert for an overhaul. You’ll receive new slides that will wow your prospects; then you can read here about how they were overhauled.