Tag Archives: branding

4 (but really 6) steps to creating a visual resume

This week in Professional Communication and Presentation, the focus is the visual resume, a project I developed several years ago after seeing my friend Christin’s Prezume. I am currently working on a revamp of mine to match the new teaching portfolio and teaching philosophy infographic I worked on last year and this year, and ran across this article from Ethos3’s Scott Schwertly titled “Four Steps to Creating a Visual Resume“. In it, Schwertly shares some tips (six in total) I will be sharing with my students tomorrow. Schwertly advises visual resume creators to remember the importance of that first slide; catching your audience’s attention with that first slide will help set you apart from the crowd and also provide sufficient visual stimulus that makes the audience want to know more. Empowered Presentations, a Honolulu-based presentation design firm tasks each of their associates with creating a visual resume that showcases the individual’s abilities and personality. The first slide of each EP visual resume establishes the tone and feel for the presentation and the presenter’s personality:

Another tip Schwertly shares with readers in this article is brand yourself. This to me is one of the most important lessons to learn about a strong visual resume (and a big area I’m working on in my new version). Consistency in design that communicates and conveys who you are to your audience is key to a strong visual resume. I love love love how David Crandall brands himself as the anti-cog superhero in his Anti-Resume Manifesto:

One final tip I’ll share with you from the article is “Ask for It.” A visual resume is your chance to let a prospective company or client know exactly why they should want to work with you. As Schwertly says, “you need to provide purpose and meaning behind your visual resume.” Not inviting the audience to contact you is akin to closing a presentation with “that’s it.” It simply tells the audience you’ve wasted their time and they can now go about doing something more important. Slideshare user Yuri Artibise ends his presentation with two simple ideas: 1. That’s my story; what’s yours and how can I help? and 2. Here’s how we can connect. This gives the presentation that sense of purpose it needs to propel it forward in the audience’s mind.

Have you built your visual resume yet? If not, Schwertly’s article is a great starting point. Check out the rest here!

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Deck of the Day: The 9 Criteria for Brand Essence

December marks the end of the school year at Full Sail University. I could not be more ready for the three week break, which will be filled with posting back-logged articles I’ve had to start and stop several times due to work projects and a demanding on campus and online course load. I also cannot wait to bring back my yearly Christmas cookie posts, spend time with family, and actually take a small break to read. I. Am. So. Ready!

But, before break begins next week, I have a new round of Slideshare analyses to grade. In my class, Professional Communication and Presentation, we devote some time to the discussion of branding and a presentation’s role in creating or conveying a brand. When we discuss the visual resume project, we come back to the idea of brand by creating what Megan Marrs calls a “brand mantra”, a statement that conveys who you are as a professional and what you have to offer. Recently, Alex Rister discussed the connection between storytelling and brand–brand is the story of a company, service, or individual. Brand can also be equated with Aristotle’s concept of ethos, the appeal that prepares the audience to deem a speaker as either worth listening to or not. Ethos is about perception, as brand is about perception.

Today’s deck speaks to this idea. Kirk Phillips, in “The 9 Criteria for Brand Essence”, defines brand as “a product, service, cause or organization with perceived intangible attributes.” In other words, in order for a strong brand to be successful, it must cause consumers to feel the intangible (hope, fear, love, freedom, exhilaration, self-actualization) through the tangible (product, service, cause, organization). Phillips supports his viewpoint by referencing feelings we associate with major brands (for instance, FedEx inspires a feeling of security; Disney offers a magical experience). He furthermore states that a brand with no intangible attributes or differentiating factors is essentially just commodity.

For Phillips, strong brands begin with strong brand essence, a “single intangible attribute” (or mantra, promise, story, principal, etc.). It is brand essence “that differentiates the brand from competitive brands” (Phillips).

After his explanation of brand, Phillips identifies the nine essentials of a strong brand:

  1. Unique (How different is it from the competition?)
  2. Intangible (Does it make people feel feelings?)
  3. Single-minded (Can it be described in one word?)
  4. Experiential (Does the essence match up with the audience’s experience?)
  5. Meaningful (Does it matter to the audience?)
  6. Consistently delivered (Does it change from user to user, experience to experience?)
  7. Authentic (Is it credible?)
  8. Sustainable (Does it EVER change? Hint: the answer is no)
  9. Scalable (Can the brand grow and expand?)

This got me thinking about how I can reinforce the importance of strong personal brand for students (and soon faculty, as I took on the task of showing my department how to create a CV using WordPress)–to be successful, you must create those moments when your audience perceives the intangible, when your audience feels you have a place in their hearts and minds. Phillips furthermore connects presentations to brand via the use of touchpoints, places in which the brand interacts with the consumer. Considering how little time we devote to presentations, is it really surprising when our audiences aren’t moved by our ideas?

The deck is well-designed and cleanly organized, illustrating strong unity through color and type. I am not a fan of the company name on every slide, but this is a minor detriment. Most of the deck was easy to process, and the slides implemented the 3-second glance media rule and picture superiority effect. The deck gets noisier as it goes along and once the 9 criteria are introduced, there’s more reliance on text alone to convey ideas. So, at times, I felt the information could have been broken up over more slides, but considering the importance of contrasting strong brand vs. commodity and method of delivery (this is more of a pdf asset to digest carefully), it makes sense that the information was presented in this way.

Take a moment to check out today’s deck below.

What is your brand mantra? What is your intangible attribute? Does it truly differentiate you from others?

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Slideshare Top Presentations of the Day

I am currently in love with my two partners for Top Presentations of the Day, designer and illustrator Mars Dorian, and Andy Whitlock, strategy director at Poke London. Check out their fantastic decks below for some excellent tips on standing out on the web and creating presentations that do not induce suicide.

Mars Dorian, “How to Stand Out Online”

Andy Whitlock, “How to Do Presentations that Don’t Induce Suicide”

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My next read: Rock Star Branding

I ran across this excellent deck by Slides That Rock on the book Brand Like a Rockstar by Steve Jones. Can’t wait to Amazon this read!

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Tweak of the Day: LinkedIn Bootcamp

Ah, Monday, the end of vacation. Well, for a workaholic like me, it’s just another day to tweak and get ready for class tomorrow (though I think some much needed cooking and baking time is in order tonight as a sort of final farewell to the pure unadulterated joy that is holiday eating). This is what updating the overhaul of the online version of Professional Communication and Presentation was like:

But, now that that’s done and out of the way (thanks again to superteacher, Alex Rister), I can move on to today’s tweak of the day, which comes to us from Column Five Media.

LinkedIn Boot Camp

As the introduction to this awesome infographic asserts, LinkedIn is the “dark horse of social media.” I myself have a LinkedIn account, but rarely update it, in fact, it’s not even complete. However, devouring this visually delicious infographic, along with a bit of prodding from my resolutions center (one of my resolutions this year is to apply for x number of jobs and to really market myself effectively as a teacher and designer), has made me recall just how often I emphasize to my students the importance of a strong professional persona. I have gotten pretty good at building physical muscle and keeping active, I think it’s time I start working on building my LinkedIn muscle. What do you think? Is LinkedIn truly as worth the effort as this infographic claims?

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