Blockchain Product Presentation
The first step to creating any story, whether it's for an illustration, an animation, or a presentation, is to start with, "what is the message, and why are we talking about it?" In this instance the client approached me with a request for graphic design assistance. However upon discussion we uncovered that there was more value to be gained by going deeper into the product, the technology, the audience, and the goals of the organization.
Defining the Message
We began the project with several discovery meetings to help me understand Blockchain technology and a smidgen about it's ecosystem. We followed this with exercises in understanding the target audience: who they were, what were their rolls, what did we want them to feel, to learn, to DO after the presentation.
The Goals were outlined as: perceive the company pitching the product as knowledgeable, deliver the presentation with relative speed, make the audience feel comfortable with the information, and get the customer to follow up with a trial implementation.
My process was to then arrange the key points against the goals and develop a flow for both the visuals and the verbal delivery.
Getting away from the computer is usually the best option for this stage so that mucking with the tool isn't interfering with developing the most important thing: the message. Using stickies and a Sharpie marker I wrote out each key point or topic header separately and stuck them up on a large sheet of newspaper. No arranging yet! Just getting the information out of my head or notes and onto the wall. Only once I'd exhausted that process did I move on to organizing the content into groupings.
Outlining the Flow
After grouping the stickies, I quickly sketched out a sequence for the presentation on another sheet of newsprint. Due to the speed with which the project needed to be completed I settled for drawing little cartoons to use as personas to make sure I was keeping the audience in mind. A few notes were made on paper to describe where certain information would end up, but then I quickly moved back to the computer to develop an outline in Powerpoint. The key points from the stickies where written into the slides and a more intense script was written in the speaker notes. The outline and verbal script suggestions were passed to the client for approval before proceeding.
Developing the Visuals
With feedback in hand from the client, the project proceeded to storyboarding. Yes, storyboarding - just like a film or animation. As a designer it's important to make sure what's in my head is aligning with the client. The fastest path to that is to develop quick sketches, without color, to convey the message via visuals and make sure that it's accurate, covers all the points, and feels comfortable for the person(s) who will actually be delivering the presentation. The sketching process helps the client feel involved and in control of the project while also eliminating confusing, or frustrating, and potentially costly changes later on in development.
A couple rounds of edits later the client green-lit moving on to graphic development. The colors were based on the company brand (cyan, lemon yellow, and orange). The style, semi-geometric, sharp points, gradients for backgrounds, was selected for expediency in developing the graphics and permitting flexibility for some atmosphere on certain slides. The graphics were largely developed in Adobe Illustrator and then exported as appropriate to be reassembled in Powerpoint.
In certain slides, particularly the section that briefly explains Blockchain in the context of the product, graphics were animated to more clearly articulate the message and make certain not everything was shown all at once. All text was entered in Powerpoint to permit the client to easily change the written content, if so needed, later on.
Most of the weight of succeeding in pitching a product rests with the presenter: his/her expertise, speaking skills, charisma, and sales ability. However a focused message, targeted to the audience needs, matched with engaging visuals adds strength to the overall experience of the room. This presentation is now being used to engage potential customers and has resulted in at least 2 customers of the my client willing to trial a prototype implementation.
In addition, the process itself of developing the presentation helped align the client on what their goals were, understanding more about their target audience's needs, and how the message could then be made consistent in all of their conversations, including their website design (which is another story).