Choosing the right presentation design agency to work with you is as important as picking the right business partner. They need to be a good fit and invite effective communication. They need to understand your vision and be able to execute your ideas with ease.
For most entrepreneurs, trusting a new partner to join in on business decisions is a real challenge, especially if you’re the kind of entrepreneur who is personally involved in the decision-making process at every level of your organization. So how can you make sure that the presentation design agency you’re hiring is the right fit for you?
Well, in this article we’ve tried to be as objective and transparent as possible in helping you make this whole process easier. Believe it or not, it's in our best interest as well to find the right fit when it comes to our new clients.
Let's start with your needs first
What service are you looking for?
Are you looking for someone to research and build the entire structure of your presentation? Perhaps you're looking to put together a seed stage pitch deck for your startup. Or are you just looking for someone to put your ideas in a template and personalize them?
Engage in an open conversation. We encourage our clients and prospects to start with an initial conversation about what they would like to achieve from this partnership. While most of them come to us with a clear image of what types of services they require, in the case of more complex projects the conversation can lead to a different conclusion. For example, if a client is looking to design a video for their website, we can also assist them with a series of social media tailored images that can integrate with their campaign.
What are your goals?
The starting point of a successful collaboration is setting a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve with your presentation. A good agency will seek to understand your short-term and long-term goals and look for ways to help you achieve them.
When we have this conversation with potential clients, we aim to understand what their needs as a business are, in order to focus all of our efforts on them. Calibrating our experience and offering improvement advice comes naturally once we understand what the client’s goals are.
How will you work together?
Setting the right expectations is crucial in any business relationship (actually, in any relationship). Every agency has their own process. You, of course, have your own way of doing things. Getting on the same page about how you will communicate, collaborate and deliver value is the cornerstone of your business relationship.
When we get to this conversation with a potential client, we make sure to take them through our process and build on it until everyone involved is confident how we’ll be working together and what is expected of us at any time.
Depending on the type of visual we’re aiming for, we start with the client brief or ideas document and work our way through the content. In many cases, we encourage clients to show us examples and walk us through their vision of what the document should look like, so that we know what creative angle to follow (this includes understanding their visual identity through brand guidelines, see their previous similar materials in case we need to leverage visual assets that were already developed, research into competitor/industry visuals).
Establishing a timeline
It's very important to take into account when the final asset or presentation is needed, so that we can plan backwards and have a risk management plan in place. When will the event take place? When is the investor meeting scheduled? This gives us a better overview of when we should deliver each stage of the design and also how best to schedule feedback sessions.
Agreeing on communication channels and frequency is often overlooked when, in fact, in can save time and help avoid misunderstandings. Some of our clients like to use email communication primarily, while others prefer a quicker, less formal channel like Slack or a video channel like Skype.
We can create tailored, branded templates for each client, that can be re-used and re-designed for multiple projects. Once our design is approved, we deliver a working draft mid-project for client approval. We work closely with our clients to make sure everyone’s satisfied with the direction we’re going in. Once the final visuals are complete, we deliver them in the agreed timeline and offer full support in executing final changes and making sure the visual is ready to go.
What to look for in a presentation design agency
Whether you are conducting this step before engaging in a first conversation with the agency or during your talks with them, it's always important to look at these key things:
Buying a service is much riskier than buying a product. To minimize that risk, start by looking at that agency’s portfolio. This will tell you a myriad of things such as:
- Are they generalists or do they specialize in a single industry or type of presentation?
- What design styles have they used in the past?
- What types of services do they offer?
- How do they approach a specific type of presentation or visual material?
- What types of narratives have they worked on?
And the list could go on and on. A portfolio will be the closest you can get to holding a product before buying it.
Tightly connected to the previous element, their client list is another indicator of the type of industries they work with, the type and size of the companies they have partners with, etc.
Keep an eye out for client testimonials, they are a great indicator of trust and reputability. Perhaps you’re already connected to some of their clients and you can confirm that they wholeheartedly recommend the agency that listed their testimonial.
For example, our clients are companies, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, VCs and accelerators, NGOs, event organizers, senior executives and top professionals from Fortune 500 companies. We try to bring fresh perspectives to each client, and we work with them to represent their industry as accurately as possible. each client has a unique story to tell and we’re here to bring it to life, in industries like finance and investment, healthcare, finance and security, logistics, retail, education and training, management and consultancy, real estate or media & telecommunications.
Their own marketing
How an agency presents itself is a strong indicator of their commercial skills. Are they creative? Are they active? Are they an influencer in their community? Are they easy to find?
This may sound like a no-brainer, but a strong online presence is a great indicator of how that agency works and if they can deliver the value you're looking for. A transparent website, a consistent blog, a social media presence and, most importantly, an easy way to connect are key elements of a good potential fit.
We like to share industry tips and create valuable content for our website visitors through our blog. It’s a great way to educate and connect with our audience and prospective customers and it’s also a fun exercise for our team.
We’ve listed a fair number of objective elements to factor into your assessment of potential presentation design agencies you want to work with. While these remain the cornerstone of your analysis, they do not guarantee a good fit.
Compatibility and a good understanding of each other's needs is sometimes an elusive factor that becomes clear over the course of multiple conversations.
We’ve been designing presentations professionally for over three years and what we like to do with every new client is to build a human relationship before a professional one. Even if we end up not working together, we value each and every conversation about their prospective needs and goals because it helps us to learn more and be better.
If you’d like to connect with us to discuss a project or an upcoming presentation, get in touch for a free assessment here. We'd love to hear from you!
Need help designing or structuring your next presentation?
Our team can help with everything from research, to creating your presentation flow, writing the content, designing and building your slides.