Let me start this rant off with a disclosure. I am not a branding expert. In fact I’ll go further and say I have absolutely zero qualifications in branding, PR or marketing. So my ‘qualifications’ for making the ensuing comments have no educational basis other than my gut feel and observations.

Having made this disclosure – here is my branding advice for conference presentations, based on sitting in conference rooms for 20 years, observing thousands of PowerPoint presentations.

Take your company logo off your PowerPoint slides.

In a large percentage of PowerPoint presentations, the presenter (or possibly the presenter’s company marketing or PR department) places their corporate logo on the top, bottom or corner of every single slide. The thinking no doubt is that the presentation is a great opportunity to promote the company to clients, customers or potential users. A free advertising opportunity. Perhaps the belief is that the branded logo on each slide ensures uniformity, conformity and brand consistency. So slide after slide features the company logo.

However, I believe this method has the opposite effect and creates a negative impression of the brand among the conference delegates. Firstly it encourages monotony, the dreaded slide template system leads to each slide looking identical to the next and after 30 minutes of similar-looking slides (same background, same font pattern, same colour palette, same logo), your audience tires. “Oh wow, another corporate template slide that looks and feels just like the previous 75 slides, please keep them coming……yawn”

Secondly, placing the logo on each slide makes the presentation about you, whereas in reality a good presentation is not about you, it’s about information that benefits the audience. So your endless logo’ing (apart from cluttering the slides) can smack of indulgence and salesmanship. And no one likes being sold to, especially not in a forum where we did not asked to be sold to. In a conference presentation, we are asking to be informed, educated, updated, engaged or inspired. If you as the presenter can do that effectively, you have indirectly ‘sold’ yourself or your company, without doing any actual selling.

Sure, place your logo on your first and final slide (a bit of branding makes sense) but branding every slide with your logo suggests insecurity (“Hey audience, don’t forget I’m from “Company X”). And it is just plain unnecessary. When I visit your home for the first time I initially locate your home by the number on your letterbox or door, but once inside, you don’t have your street number stuck on the door-post of every room!!! Give me the benefit of the doubt that I won’t forget it’s your house. When presenting, tell me what company you are from if need be at the outset, but don’t keep reminding me every time you click to your next slide.

Branding or marketing specialists may disagree – so fire at will. But in my view, nothing beats a simple, uncluttered PowerPoint slide with one image or one or two words if need be (different in look and feel to the previous slide, to keep us engaged) with as little corporate template nonsense as possible.

Better still, ditch the PowerPoint slides altogether and just rely on “Brand YOU”!

Andrew Klein is the Director of Spike Presentations. He is a Presentation Skills and Pitching Skills speaker / writer / trainer and a Conference MC. You will never see his logo on his slides because he doesn’t like selling while presenting and given the article he just wrote, putting it on his presentation slides would be hypocritical. But this post is not a presentation and he kind of likes his logo, so here it is if you are interested.