Searching online, I find four companies describing themselves as the UK’s leading presentation design agency. Not ‘one of the leading’, but the leading. Four. Which is of course a nonsense. So, who’s lying?

To answer the question, we need to understand the claim. What does it mean to say “we are the UK’s leading presentation agency”?

The most obvious interpretation is that it means ‘market leading’ – i.e. we have the leading market share in the presentation design market in the UK. Now, it’s worth noting that (a) this nascent market is still small (b) most important business presentations are still designed in-house and not by an agency – and often not even by a designer (c) there are no independent market intelligence firms operating to provide data on market share.

So, without independent data on market share or indeed company size – can anyone claim to be ‘market leading’? They can, in the sense that they do. But they ought not to, because it’s just not true for the agencies making the claim.

One of the companies claiming to be the ‘UK’s leading presentation design agency’ has got – wait for it – two people. We have – at the time of writing – 31. There’s just no way they have a larger market share than we do.

The other companies making the claim have more than two employees – but they aren’t nearly as big as BrightCarbon. In fact, one of the companies claiming to be ‘the UK’s leading PowerPoint presentation design agency’ isn’t even the biggest presentation design agency in Manchester. In the agency world, if you have twice as many people, there’s really a very strong chance that you are bigger. We’re bigger, and we have the largest market share in the UK. But of course size isn’t everything, although there’s got to be a reason we’re bigger than others.

If agencies aren’t claiming to be the biggest when they claim to be ‘leading’, perhaps they mean that they are the UK’s ‘best presentation design agency’? Maybe. Leading in terms of quality makes sense. But what does that claim really mean when you make it of yourself?

There are no notable independent awards or analysts in this space. Claiming to be the best with no proof and no justification feels hollow. Sure, everyone can claim to have leading quality, but what does it really mean if everyone can say it but nobody can prove it?

We have anecdotes – like the time a very senior designer from another presentation agency applied for a job with us, but didn’t even make our short-list because their portfolio just wasn’t at the standard we look for – but we clearly can’t prove that while maintaining confidence.

Maybe now’s the time to challenge other UK presentation agencies to some sort of a duel, or a knock out tournament. Which sounds fun, but who would be the judge?

BrightCarbon doesn’t make a habit of claiming to be the UK’s leading presentation design agency. In terms of size – and so market share – we actually are, but we don’t go on about it. In terms of quality, I would happily challenge any presentation design agency to match us. But in a market with hardly any independent intelligence, but many competitors prepared to – frankly – bullshit, the claim has been devalued.

If you’re in the industry, maybe these musings are interesting (and apologies if not – well done for getting this far). If you aren’t, I would urge you to stop and think before accepting – or indeed making – vague claims. What does the claim really mean? Can it be backed up? If it can’t be backed up, what must the company making it think of its prospects?

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Joby Blume

Director

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