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Answers to frequently asked questions

FAQs

BrightCarbon FAQs

A lot of people don’t know that companies like BrightCarbon even exist. So, unsurprisingly, when they find out we do, they have a number of questions. Why do companies outsource their presentation design? How does it work? What will I get? How can I be successful? We’ve attempted to answer some of the most frequently answered questions about presentation design work with BrightCarbon below. 

Presentation services

Which presentation service is right for me?

My design department usually create our slides. How can I convince people we should use you?

Working with BrightCarbon for presentation design

How long does it take?

Who needs to be involved?

Do you work face-to-face or remotely?

How can your consultants understand my industry?

Presentation design scope

How many slides should our presentation be?

How long should our presentation last?

Presentation technology

Is your output in PowerPoint?

What versions of PowerPoint do you support?

Can you use Prezi? Can you use Keynote?

We use Macs. Does that still work?

Presentation project deliverables

What do I get at the end of the project?

What if the presentation doesn’t work well?

Are we able to edit the slides you give us?

What do I do for a print-out or leave-behind?

Training and support for presentations

Some of our sale people like reading from the slides, so they don’t have to prepare as well. What about them? 

I’m not sure our sales people could present visual slides – it might be too hard for them. How can you make things easy?

Can you help us with presentation skills training?

Can you help us learn to create our own visual slides?

Presentation design and branding

How can I be sure you’ll respect our brand?

We have very strict brand guidelines. How can you make attractive slides based on our restrictive brand guidelines?

Budget and pricing

We haven’t allocated any budget for presentations. What do other companies do in the same situation?

We have dozens of products, and we don’t know which one to do first. What’s the best way to get started?

How much does it cost?

 

Presentation services

Which presentation service is right for me?

Our standard presentation design service is Presentation Creation, where we work with you to make full presentation decks from scratch. This usually gives the best results for creating sales presentations. We recommend Slide Revamp for services where:

  • we can’t talk directly to the presenter about the presentation (e.g. if the CEO has delegated the slide design down a few levels)
  • there’s no time to practice presenting
  • you have limited budget, and existing slides as a starting point.

We’re happy to discuss your specific requirements to give tailored advice. (Back)

My design department usually create our slides. How can I convince people we should we use you?

  1. We help with your message, not just slide design – so we are often doing more than your in-house team might do
  2. We use visualisation to get rid of ineffective bullet points – we don’t just make bullet points look better (unless that’s all you want…)
  3. We can bring a fresh pair of eyes to your content, including your story and positioning
  4. Most design departments are great at lots of things, but not presentation design. We specialise in presentations, and can probably do things your in-house team didn’t know were possible.(Back)

Working with BrightCarbon for presentation design

How long does it take?

A lot depends on your availability. Typically, it takes about a week for a Slide Revamp project, and three to four weeks for a Presentation Creation project. We can often deliver much sooner when required. (Back)

Who needs to be involved?

The main people who need to be involved from your side are the people who ‘own’ the message – often marketing, and people who understand how the presentation will be used – often sales (but of course this depends on the project). Often subject matter experts and people responsible for the brand may be needed for small parts of the project. With some clients we just work with one or two people, on other projects we work with more. Larger groups sometimes mean that projects take longer to deliver as we need to ensure buy-in. (Back)

Do you work face-to-face or remotely?

We can do either. We work with some clients without ever meeting them in-person, but some like to do things face-to-face. Typically, we create slides back at our office, and review them remotely – but we can review in-person too. Messaging workshops can be run face-to-face or remotely, whereas coaching and training are mostly run in-person.

If we’re working with really large groups, face-to-face works better.

We have offices in the UK and USA, and work extensively in the USA, across Europe, and a bit in Asia, and Australia. (Back)

How can your team understand my industry?

Often our consultants will have some experience of your industry, or they may have worked with similar industries. But that’s not really the point. Our consultants and designers understand presentations, psychology, design, animation, and how to present information. They are bright, and know what questions to ask. You understand your business, and our presentation consultants and designers help you to explain it elegantly. (Back)

Presentation design scope

How many slides should our presentation be?

It depends on what you need to say. It’s also worth noting that not every slide takes the same amount of time to present. A fairly typical sales presentation might be around 30 slides long, and take 20-25 minutes to present. Some people like to do a lot of talking over just a few slides – this works for some presenters, but not for others.

We price our presentations in ‘sizes’ so that we don’t end up quibbling about a slide here-or-there, and so that you get price certainty. (Back)

How long should our presentation last?

How much do you have to say? Who are you presenting to? People can concentrate for 20-25 minutes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t run a full day of preentations. It’s possible to present for longer by building in some interactivity, changing presenter, and so on. Senior executives might want to see a five-minute high-level presentation. (Back)

Presentation technology

Is your output in PowerPoint?

Yes. The slides we give you are editable PowerPoint (or Keynote or Google Slides if you prefer). They might not look like typical PowerPoint slides, but that’s what they are – you can edit the deck, delete shapes, reorder slides and so on. (Back)

What versions of PowerPoint do you support?

Our standard version of PowerPoint is whatever is supplied with Office 365 – so currently PowerPoint 2016 on PC. We can also build in, or just check compatibility with, PowerPoint 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003. We work in PowerPoint 2016 as our ‘standard’ version as it’s currently the best. We can also create using PowerPoint for Mac.

We can run PowerPoint training on 2016, 2010 and upon request for 2007, or 2003 (but honestly, it’s worth upgrading). (Back)

 Can you use Keynote? Can you use Google Slides? Can you use Prezi?

Yes. We do a lot of very high-profile work in Keynote, and some in Google Slides. Not all of our designers are comfortable in Keynote, but enough are. We have some great presentation designers for Keynote (and Slides), and can push it to its limits, no problem.

If you want Prezi, we can use it. If you want to use a canvas with zoom and pan animations, we can achieve this in PowerPoint natively – so you might not really need Prezi if all you want is something different. (Back)

We use Macs. Can you help us?

Yes. We can create presentations for Keynote or PowerPoint on Mac. There are differences between software platforms, so there may be a bit of extra work if you want your presentation to work perfectly with multiple separate platforms (e.g. Keynote on Mac, PowerPoint 2016 on PC, PowerPoint 2003 on PC). (Back)

Presentation project deliverables

What do I get at the end of the project?

At the end of one of our presentation projects you will get the presentation (usually in .pptx or .ppt format), a template if you needed one (.potx or .pot), for a presentation creation project a narrated version of the presentation to view on demand (if you want it), and ongoing support. Then… better communication, engaged audiences, and achieved objectives. (Back)

What if the presentation doesn’t work well?

It will! We’ve got a process that makes sure we build a presentation on persuasive messages, compelling visuals, and clear design.

Sometimes the presentation does need tweaking. Some slides might not work as well as others, or certain messages might evolve. That’s why we offer our Carbon aftercare with each project. We offer free edits after you start using your presentation – we proactively get in touch with you to see if you need any changes to be made. That way, if it needs a tweak, you can just ask. (Back)

Are we able to edit the slides you give us?

Yes. Nothing is locked. You can edit anything. Editing text and swapping photos is often relatively straightforward. Because the slides can be quite sophisticated, you may find you need a bit of help changing certain things (which is why we offer aftercare – we make edits without additional charge). (Back)

What do I do for a print-out or leave-behind?

Effective slides work with a presenter. They aren’t self-explanatory because if they were they would undermine the presenter (the audience would just read the slides and ignore much of what the presenter is saying). On the other hand, effective leave-behinds are self-explanatory – because the presenter isn’t there to make them work.

So, we recommend one of three approaches for leave-behinds:

  1. Create something different, e.g. an infographic, and use that as the leave-behind.
  2. Adapt your slides so they work when printed (remove most animation) and add labels and extra text (to make the slides self-explanatory for the leave-behind version.)
  3. Record and send a narrated version.

We can help you with any of these options. (Back)

Training and support for presentations

Some of our people like reading from the slides, so they don’t have to prepare as well. What about them? 

That sounds a bit defeatist. Part of effective communication is preparation. That said, in some situations, perhaps where presenters have to do so much they can’t learn multiple presentations, we can create slides that are easy to present with minimal preparation. But just remember that if the slides are completely self-explanatory for the presenter, they’ll be that way for the audience too. The presenter needs to offer some value, which comes from preparation. (Back)

I’m not sure our sales people could present visual slides – it might be too hard for them. How can you make things easy?

We can use fewer builds, add labels, and even consider simplifying your messages. We also provide extensive speaker notes, and a recorded on-demand version of each presentation to help your presenters learn what to say. We also offer training. Most presenters find that presenting visual slides is easier than it looks, and because audiences are more engaged, the presenter naturally feels more confident then when presenting bullet points. (Back)

Can you help us with presentation skills training?

Yes, of course. We offer a two-day course in-house, or a one-day course in-house or as public access. Our presentation skills training is aimed at those who have to present – sales people, trainers, marketing teams, executives – lots of people. If we have built a new presentation for you, we typically use this as the basis of the training session so that your presenters learn to deliver it effectively. The course is very practical, and focuses on teaching presenters to deliver slides effectively. (Back)

Can you help us learn to create our own visual slides?

Yes. We provide PowerPoint training, both free online and paid-for in-person. PowerPoint training can help you create new slides, or adapt the slides we give you. (Back)

Presentation design and branding

How can I be sure you’ll respect our brand?

90% of our work is with companies with established – often rigid – brands. We follow your brand guidelines, talk to the people you need us to talk to, and only push the boundaries where you want us to. Fundamentally, the project isn’t finished until you sign it off. So if you aren’t happy with how things look, we’ll change them. (Back)

We have very strict brand guidelines. How can you make attractive slides based on our restrictive brand guidelines?

Some of our best clients have very strict, plain, visual identities. We find that one way to create more attractive slides is to replace text with visuals and use animations. This allows us to get the best results possible within the constraints of the brand. We understand what can be done with PowerPoint, and how to use creative constraints as a source of design inspiration.(Back)

Budget and pricing

We haven’t allocated any budget for presentations. What do other companies do in the same situation?

A lot of companies have no budget for presentations, because they are used to a DIY approach. Our clients often fund our work from marketing spend allocated to things like brochures, micro-sites, or advertising – realising that spending money getting meetings only makes sense if the presentations used in those meetings are effective. Sometimes sales teams need to fund presentation work, and combine a new sales presentation with training, and fund this from a sales training budget.

Our starting prices are pretty low, and our clients usually see a quick return on investment. This allows projects to be self-funding after a small initial investment.

Some of our clients run one or two projects as a pilot, and then allocate a larger budget for the next year when those projects go well. (Back)

We have dozens of products, and we don’t know which one to do first. What’s the best way to get started?

Pick the product where an effective sales presentation could bring the biggest results – perhaps because sales aren’t performing as you would like, or because the market size is huge, or because you have first-mover advantage. Or just ‘go for it’ and do everything, and we can create a larger tool to help you sell your entire product line-up using hyperlinks to allow fast navigation, and integrated sales messaging to make sure your reps are persuasive and consistent. (Back)

How much does it cost?

Our prices are all on our website. We price by project ‘size’ – XS, S, M, L, XL. There are presentation design agencies that charge significantly more than we do, but we honestly believe nobody offers a better service (and certainly not a better value service).

There are presentation designers out there who offer a really cheap service – but we don’t compete in that market. We believe our pricing is very competitive considering all of the added value we offer, the quality we deliver, and the results we give. (Back)

From liaising with our high profile guest speakers to producing effective presentations for the whole day, BrightCarbon's input ensured the smooth running of this high profile event.

David Gillan Manchester Insurance Institute