Top tips to factor in when selecting an agency to design your presentations.
When selecting an agency to design your presentations, it is important to factor in each of the elements below to ensure you get the presentation you need at the price you want, with no hidden surprises along the way.
As the client, you need to be clear about what you want from an agency. If you are handling a specific project make sure you can explain the core content and concepts clearly – you may have to do it several times if you speak to multiple agencies. A written brief can be invaluable, but having you inject a sense of passion or importance to a prospective agency is also important.
This shouldn’t even be up for discussion – make sure the company has one. If they don’t, ignore the alarm bells ringing furiously and walk away. All design companies should be more than happy to provide examples of their work, failure to do so would be akin to visiting a greengrocer to find no produce on display. A design company lives or dies by the quality of its work and will be only too happy to demonstrate what they can do.
It is important you view examples of the company’s previous projects to assess their suitability.
Whilst reviewing whether you think they are the right choice for you – look to see if they have any other relevant clients in your sector. If the design company has worked on similar presentations to yours before, their experience may save you doing substantial groundwork and result in a faster production turnaround for your presentation.
If possible, consider contacting clients the design company has worked for previously to confirm their satisfaction with the service provided. A company’s willingness to provide testimonials is a great indication of a company’s work ethic and reliability.
In part, this consideration should be covered in the design company’s portfolio offerings, but make sure that the skills you need are available. If you are placing work that is important to your business ensure that the design company isn’t using your commission as an opportunity to learn on the job.
Narrative is important in presentations.
When examining projects in their portfolio, assess whether there is a clear message flowing consistently throughout each presentation. Has the company moulded the content into an effective message, or are their presentations too broad, too full of tangents or unfocused? If so, the design company has failed to grasp the brief properly, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
If Powerpoint is your desired deliverable make sure that the skill set available encompasses that. Do not be afraid to ask pointed questions about skills, experience and previous commissions. Your presentation matters sufficiently to outsource the work, you are wholly entitled to satisfy yourself that the designers can deliver. No reasonable design company will object to your enquiries.
It’s an overworked saying, but you get what you pay for. Small freelance design consultancies may be capable of producing the presentation you need at more than reasonable cost, but if they fail to deliver on time, you will either have to repeat the whole exercise, but with less time to do so, or find yourself spending too much time managing the designer. Either way, the presentation will end up costing more than originally agreed.
Design quality and value for money is what counts, so examine the company’s pricing structure and if you have the time, compare it with offerings from similar agencies.
Are they providing everything you need for an appropriate price? Although smaller agencies may offer a lower price it may well be worth paying a premium if you are looking to form a lasting partnership that can potentially offer discounts in future.
Editing your presentation
If you speak to any design agency they will at some point tell you that there are better tools than Powerpoint for designing and delivering presentations. This is almost certainly true, Powerpoint has been around for decades, but given corporate reliance on Microsoft products, it is still the tool of choice. Accordingly, any reputable design company knows that your presentation will almost certainly be delivered to you on PowerPoint slides so you can update/edit them with ease.
Presentations made on Photoshop or Illustrator do not transfer easily, they are also expensive and can’t be updated. If the agency refuses to format your presentation in PowerPoint, look elsewhere.
You should satisfy yourself that the design company has a clear production process. Do they have a straightforward brief and clear layers of project delivery? Is there a timeline indicating when work will be completed? Look for an upfront explanation of the process – legitimate designers will have structures in place.
Be sure to establish how long it will take the design company to deliver your presentations to avoid any hidden costs that may ensue from a long-scale project.
Smaller agencies can all too easily suffer from over-reach, taking on more work than they can easily manage in order to ensure their future growth and continuing cash flow. From your perspective as a client, that is an uncomfortable position to be in and you should establish as part of your discussions whether or not the agency has sufficient redundancy of staff and adequate workflow management to ensure that your project is delivered on time. Financial penalties in a contract are of little comfort if you find yourself with your presentation looming and no time to resolve delivery issues.
We’ve put this last, not because it matters least but because it is one of the most intangible qualities to assess. Are the design company staff people you can work with? If you are only interested in a one-off project this may not be your primary concern; if you are looking for a long-term, evolving relationship it should be higher on your list.
Do the design staff ‘get’ your company, your brand and your objectives? Do you feel confident that their interpretation of your aims chime closely with your own? In short, are these people you can work with?
These are judgements that we all tend to make quickly, and they shouldn’t be the principal factor in deciding where to place your work. Other considerations are arguably more important but it is true that we would all prefer to work with people whom we trust and like; don’t ignore your feelings in this respect.