This month, our featured presentation expert, Damjan Haylor, Managing Director of POPcomms, a B2B presentation design agency, hails from Bristol in the United Kingdom. His background and that of his co-founder, Holly Worthington is rich in managing live events and shows for companies such as for Renault, Ford, Lexus, Microsoft, Sony and the UK Government. According to Damjan, “working on live events teaches you the importance of creating an experience for customers and wowing them. I soon discovered that the presentation itself, even though central to the whole creative, was still only a very small part of the wider experience and didn’t always get the attention it needed.” He continued, “Although there are quite a few dedicated presentation agencies out there I really felt there was a gap for a dedicated presentation agency that brought some of the skills and spirit of the live events business to the B2B presentation world. That is why we started POPcomms in 2010.”
What is the focus and mission of POPcomms?
Our focus is very much on the B2B sector and we have a large proportion of technology clients. As a sector they are an ideal fit for us – they have complex businesses and propositions, they are ambitious, dynamic and innovative, operating in a highly competitive market. Through our expertise we’re able to bring their ideas, solutions and brands to life visually, creating experiences for their customers that ultimately help them to win business.
As a team, we give our all but we have fun at same time. Here is a picture of our whole team from last Christmas – it really sums up our whole team and how we come alive when we work together.
One of your specialties is how to make a presentation come alive by using visual storytelling. Why visual storytelling? Why does it make a difference?
Businesses spend vast amounts of time, money and resources developing products and services, they’re also creating expensive marketing campaigns to get customers in a room – yet quite often, when it comes to the critical moment of presenting to a customer, what they see and hear doesn’t reflect that huge amount of effort or any real understanding of their needs.
We see visual storytelling as a way to address this issue. By building a story around the customer we are providing a tangible visual narrative that they can actually relate to and that tells the story in a concise, persuasive and memorable way.
Ideally, you want to spend less time explaining a solution through slides and more time having valuable conversations based around the value you bring to a customer and visual storytelling does just that.
Can you share a client experience and how that process worked? Results?
As an example Isotrak, who provide fleet telematic solutions to major retailers, logistics and distribution companies wanted us to help move their presentations away from being product-focused and more customer-centric, focusing on their customers’ needs and the real value that their solutions could provide.
With Isotrak we looked at their customers, working out their personas, and the daily challenges they faced as businesses, ultimately identifying what the opportunities would be for them by working with Isotrak.
We decided that the best way to tell this story would be through ‘A Day in the Life’ visual, showing how a typical user would interact with the Isotrak system during their average working day.
The beauty of this approach was that it demonstrated in a simple way, how the complex system helps the end user – the drivers and therefore the wider business as a whole. We built a clear interactive ‘Value Dashboard’ allowing the customer to see how the business as a whole benefits on a daily basis. The interactive cityscape we developed brought the whole experience to life for the customer.
Let’s talk about the growing trend for interactive presentations. Do they belong in a business presentation? Why? Or Why not?
The key to an effective presentation is to make it personal and relevant to the customer, to make them feel you understand their challenges and needs and that you can solve their problems and add value to their business. Interactivity is critical to this process as it allows you to seamlessly steer a presentation in the direction that a customer wants to go.
The problem with a linear slide deck is that it needs to be generic enough to appeal to a wider audience. An interactive presentation enables the customer to steer the conversation, to drill down to that content that resonates most with them. It allows you to have a single presentation that covers all possible scenarios and when the customer has a question it’ll only take a couple of clicks to get to the relevant information.
It’s all about personalization, making that customer feel as though the presentation is solely about them and for them.
How are your clients sharing or displaying that interactivity?
Touchscreens are becoming a big area for us as our clients invest in touchscreen systems, and they are the perfect device for our interactive presentations. In addition to this, we are starting to look closely at virtual and augmented reality as the technologies present some interesting possibilities for presentations. Every day there is something new happening and we’re learning all the time which makes for a fun and exciting work day, and that is the key to a successful business.
Looking at your portfolio, you seem to use Prezi quite a bit. What do you think of the new Morph feature in PowerPoint 2016? Will this replace Prezi? Compliment it?
Prezi has been great when customers need to tell a linear story, and we tend to use it for events where there is limited audience interaction. However, as already mentioned, interaction is key for us, and this is where Prezi has its limitations.
The new Morph tool, when combined with interactive features, will enable us to tell an even more compelling story. Even on its own Morph can provide far more possibilities than Prezi in terms of animation allowing us to show the big picture and then drilling down into the smallest of detail. We don’t think it will replace Prezi but for our B2B customers, there will be less appetite to use Prezi in the future.
In the past we’ve used motion graphics for looping video presentations for our clients at events, now the new Morph tool will allow us to get the same effect faster and more cost effectively. We are also having a lot of discussions with clients about interactive touchscreen presentations and exploring how Morph’s fluid movement of content can be applied to other applications.
If we’re honest, we feel that we’ve only just explored the tip of the iceberg on this one. We’re excited.
EDITOR’S NOTE: POPcomms just released a great video about Morph – check it out:
Tell me about your company culture and how you “live the talk”. And why do you have a pool table in your office?
When we receive a client brief we all get stuck in and discuss it, we come from a real mixture of backgrounds and experience, so everyone’s input and ideas are valuable.
The pool table is a great way for us to let off steam and discuss ideas rather than being stuck behind a computer hoping the problem will be magically solved – the only issue is one of our designers, Johnny, keeps winning almost every game, I’m still trying to solve that problem.
The photo of us by the pool table shows 4 of our six-member team, and two are away today. From left, Stuart Janicki aka Slippery Slope; Johnny Henderson aka Deathstar; Holly Worthington aka Wannabehotshot, and Damjan Haylor, aka Six Ball Wizard.