Tag Archives: marketing

Slideshare User to Follow: Placester

Are you a blogger, freelancer, or new start up? Looking for free sources to help you as you get your body of work off the ground? Check out today’s Slideshare User to Follow, the first in a new series to join Slideshare of the Day and Data Display of the Day on Tweak Your Slides.

I ran across Placester while perusing Slideshare presentations on my dashboard. The company, whose main focus is assisting real estate professionals in marketing themselves and growing their businesses through web hosting, custom sites, and infoproduct, has several infographic and presentation resources budding freelancers can use to grow their brand. I particularly found their latest offering, “The Content Wranglers Guide to Ebook Marketing” to be particularly useful, as I have been advised my several folks that creating infoproducts, specifically an e-book based on Tweak Your Slides is a great way to market my brand and also reach new readers (while at the same time eradicating bullet-riddled death by PowerPoint visuals and presentations). The infographic not only provides the why of self-published e-books but also a succinct how-to. Check out the deck below and all of Placester’s decks at http://www.slideshare.net/Placester.


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Visual Thinking, an undeniable reality

After much deliberation and anxiety about overloading Slideshare.net with yet another presentation about presentation design, I’ve debuted by deck for March, Simple Design:

My decision to share this deck with others was difficult. I yearn for new conversations in the field of presentation design and visual communication and I want to be a part of these new conversations. However, I want to share something that is a stronger example of design with users than my previous deck on design, Tweak Your Slides.

The subject of visual thinking and cinematic visual aids is inevitable as we move further and further towards a society that yearns to connect with experience/brand/individual beyond the textual. In class, we devote a significant amount of time to designing a visual story, but more than this, we consider how inherent visuals have become in the conveying of our ideas and brands. Outside of class, I spend my time defending the post-clip art, post-1987 PowerPoint approach to presentation design against what I can only classify as a lizard brain-driven anxiety that comes with doing something different or non-traditional. Many of my colleagues accept how I approach teaching and see that it works, but cannot believe it could work outside of the vacuum of “fluffy” subjects like public speaking (this is of course not true in any respect). Alex Rister discussed this resistance on her blog, and lists this as one reason why this approach “won’t work” we often hear. But, then there are times when the visual thinking bug takes hold. One of our colleagues created a dynamic and immersive GoTo training complete with zombies and sound effects, and this month, super student Chris Martignago completed his month’s work of homework using visual thinking:


Assigning reading homework is the bane of my existence--Resonate is an awesome book, but forcing students to read it means some of its impact is lost in the miasma of routine and compulsory action. Chris's solution, which was to make the outline something immersive and kinesthetic is brilliant!

Assigning reading homework is the bane of my existence–Resonate is an awesome book, but forcing students to read it means some of its impact is lost in the miasma of routine and compulsory action. Chris’s solution, which was to make the outline something immersive and kinesthetic, is brilliant!

In the past few weeks, several new decks focused on the topic of visual thinking have debuted on Slideshare. The first I’ll share with you today is Duarte Design’s #IllustraTED, which is a project developed by Duarte Design that gathers amazing illustrators and artists together to visualize and draw out some of this year’s talks:

(My favorite of course is Andrew McAfee’s talk on scifi and jobs.)

I also want to share with you two decks on visual storytelling and marketing that really give us a glimpse into where visual communication can take us in the future.  The first, created by Column Five Media, “Visual Content Marketing: Capture and Engage your Audience,” is an impeccably organized presentation that blends the essential ingredients–text, color, shape, layout, line, texture, and image–to communicate a core idea–we consume, communicate through, and are engaged by visuals, but succeeding with this in mind is not just about slapping a picture on a site and calling it a day.

The second deck, “Instabrand: The Rise of Visual Storytelling in a Content Marketing World,” an e-book by Christian Adams, isolates the same six communication media as the previous deck (photos, infographics, memes, videos, comics, visual note-taking), but focuses less on the how and more on the why this has happened and what the future will hold. This deck works less as a stand alone than Column Five’s, but I found the exposure to future forms of visual marketing/visual communication to be very enlightening.

What do you think? Do we still have room to grow this conversation? Have we said all there is to say about visual communication? If so, why is there still so much resistance?

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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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On Failure, Gangnam Style, and Superteaching

I am working on my Coursera Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class with the fantastic Al Filreis, Unniversity of Pennsyvania Kelly Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House most of today. Before I complete Emily Dickinson’s “The Brain, within its Groove” and several selections from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” I want to share today’s Slideshare.net’s Top Presentations, one of which is my latest deck, inspired by Simon Sinek.

Starting Up by Failing by 

This is the story of startup pirates Adegga.com and the ways in which failure led them to a better startup. Andre not only shares the story of this startup, but he also provides the viewer with some excellent lessons including the importance of embracing failure and having passion. I would have loved to see a bit more design go into the processing of information, but Ribeirinho clearly understands that vision is king and works to create something that is unified and flows smoothly.

Has failure led you to success? How can we grow and learn even when we don’t “win”?

Gangnam Style by Empowered Presentations

It’s no secret, I am an Empowered Presentations fangirl. I am working on a presentation design rockstars trading cards slidedeck (when I have five minutes of time to start!), and this firm, let by Cory Jim and Yancey Unequivocally consistently produces quality work. I had not heard of this song before seeing this deck, but it’s currently on loop. I love the idea of design for fun, but I like that EP ties this back to what they do as designers and presenters. They definitely have style all their own!

What is your design aesthetic? How do you show your unique perspective?

Studying Simon Sinek: Start With the Golden Circle by Chiara Ojeda

I am using this deck in class next month. Check out my first post here. In chatting with Cory Jim about the idea of starting with why, he shared an important saying with me “If the why is strong enough, the how will follow.” This got me thinking about the choices I’ve made as an educator in the past four years, since taking on the privilege of teaching Professional Communication and Presentation. I had to shift my perspective from “how do I teach people?” or “how do I help people learn?” to “why do I want to teach others,” “why does learning matter to me,” and “why should others care about what I care about?” These questions led me to evolve as an educator; they led me to become a superteacher. I do anything I can in the service of learning, to protect the critical mind from the corruption of ignorance, and to empower free thinkers to shape and mold the world through their actions. I want to share one last deck with you:

Jaclyn Sullivan’s What is a Superteacher?

Are you a superteacher? What is your “Why”?


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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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