A tale of two presentations.


I recently looked at two different selling presentations. One was a brand exploratory for a national restaurant chain that has somewhat fallen on hard times. It was a “findings and recommendations” readout for a brand refresh. It took the form of 190 pages in PPT. The second presentation was an agency overview of capabilities in consumer packaged goods. It contained creative, market context and results. This presentation came in at 36 slides and contained some agency credential. Both presos had credentials.

The long presentation started off with the promise of a story. The short one promised capabilities and an overview. Guess which one was more captivating?

The website Medium knows long-form writing can be compelling if done well. The New Yorker and the NY Times concur.

The reason the longer presentation worked better than the short was its approach was narrative-based. The short one was report-based. The former had a serial logic, filled with learning, aha moments and insights. The latter was filled with background, charts, data wrapped in prose and ads. The former led you somewhere with a beginning middle and end. The latter was meant to sell and did so academically.

Storytelling is not markobabble. It may be the pop marketing term of the day, but that’s because it works (again, if done well).  It is what great marketers aspire to.

You can report or you can story. Guess which works better in this data-filled, sales-heavy digiday. Peace.

PS. Speaking of Digiday, they must miss Saya Weissman.