The Power of Presentation

The Power of Presentation

In branding, how you present something is just as important (if not more important) than what you present. Cooks understand this when they spend a long time deliberating over which plate to use and what garnishes to use when putting a superb dinner together. It’s not just about the flavor of the food. It needs to be as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds.

When I first graduated from college, I had the privilege to land one of the few coveted positions at a top New York ad agency in their account executive training program. Agencies don’t offer this type of specific training any more, but at the time, it was a program that formally took trainees through a rigorous program designed to teach all aspect of advertising training—creative development, research, media planning and buying.

Fresh Eggs Sign with fresh paintOne of the most memorable lessons I learned was that the medium must match the message. To illustrate the point, the CEO showed a very homemade-looking sign written in dripping paint that read, “Fresh Eggs.” He asked if we would be motivated by this advertisement to stop and buy eggs. We all agreed that perhaps we would.

Flying Lessons sign with wet paintHe then showed the same type of handmade looking sign with the same dripping paint that read, “Flying Lessons” and asked if we would be similarly motivated by this ad. We laughed and indicated that it did not have the same impact. He explained that while the dripping paint reinforced the freshness of the eggs, when used for the flying lessons, it indicated a lack of professionalism.

It is a lesson I have never forgotten. As I advise my clients on their branding efforts, I am ever mindful that the media I recommend is just as important as the words and pictures chosen. Every element in the branding process needs to reinforce the brand image we’re trying to convey. Consistency is critical.

This is why it’s important to spend time focusing on how your Powerpoint presentation looks or the best paper to print your Leave Behind on. Because when it comes to branding, presentation matters.

Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at

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One Comment

  1. smartin
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks for making this lesson come alive. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Perfect example! I’ll take my flying lessons elsewhere.

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