I recently had the opportunity to go to Rotterdam and do a presentation about marketing one of our new products. On the slides I used pictures of a beautiful red grand piano vs. a traditional upright piano, to represent new technology vs. existing technology. Little did I know what would happen later …
That evening our hosts took us to (of all things) a dueling piano bar. And guess what color the pianos were? I lost count of how many colleagues approached me to ask me if I noticed the two red grand pianos, and if I had planned the whole thing. Well I certainly noticed, and no, it was just a coincidence. It struck me how well my colleagues remembered the red piano from my presentation earlier in the day. I am sure people don’t remember plain bullet points this well.
In 2003 marketing visionary Seth Godin wrote a book called Purple Cow. The book states that in order not be lost in the crowd, your product or company needs to stand out, be noticed, and be worthy of people remarking about (be remarkable). Consider the book title … if there were a number of cows standing in a field as you drove by, a purple one would get your attention; it would be something you would remark about. My red piano experience certainly supports this concept from a presentation design perspective. The images that you use in a presentation are important; take the time to find just the right one. An image that is different and stands out is memorable/remarkable. Of course that image needs to amplify the point you are trying to make, and be a fit with the core message of your presentation and not just be a “pretty picture”.
Whether my colleagues will remember the analogy that the image represented or the coincidence of the evening is yet to be determined. However I know that they will remember one thing from the presentation – a red piano.
Refuse to be Boring.