by Jonathan Branney
Presentation design agency Buffalo7 was challenged by Red Bull to create a professional marketing dashboard built around the DNA of their brand — and to deliver it in PowerPoint.
Read on to learn from the agency about the design process:
Every month Red Bull’s marketing team would meet to review the progress of all current projects, summarizing the progress and results of their activities. Up until this point they were presenting from Microsoft Excel, which was difficult to follow and not very engaging.
They knew this makeshift solution wasn’t representing Red Bull as the forward-thinking, dynamic brand that it is — tired spreadsheets weren’t a good look for a company with such a rich visual identity. Our agency was brought on board to create a dashboard-style presentation template that would facilitate forward planning and enable Red Bull’s team to present with impact.
When the brief came in, our Creative Director Richard Barnes (pictured) broke out the whiteboard markers and assembled a crack team of presentation designers and PowerPoint specialists.
Before firing up Photoshop or PowerPoint, we brainstormed different approaches to determine the best execution of the dashboard. We decided that it should take the form of a timeline to allow for the fast visualization of marketing activity over a duration. Users would be able to drop visual thumbnails onto the timeline, which would then link to offshoot slides containing their content.
Our graphic designers then set about establishing look and feel, while our PowerPoint specialists began prototyping and testing functionality to work out all the technical kinks. Creating such a dashboard demanded a degree of ingenuity in that we had to “hack” PowerPoint to get things working the way we envisioned.
On the design side, we wanted to create something you could look at and instinctively recognize as Red Bull without needing to see a logo. Capturing brand personality was extremely important to us throughout the entire process, and we came back to the client with two strong design ideas. They selected the one that worked best for them, and we began working to express this visual language across different slide layouts.
Barnes said, “We felt there was no reason why Red Bull’s presentations shouldn’t be as strong and impactful as their other marketing collateral. We designed slides that enhanced their brand identity and enabled them to deliver multiple messages effectively.”
This project was all about removing obstacles and making the marketing team’s lives easier, so we created interactive visual menus that everyday users would immediately know how to use. People process visual information much faster than text, so this intuitive navigation option made much more sense than drop-down menus that users would need to learn.
A visuals-first approach also makes it easier for the audience to follow, engage with, and retain information. Our team was inspired by the very best UI design, and the resulting product had much more in common visually with a responsive website than a corporate PowerPoint.
Red Bull made their existing library of brand collateral available to us throughout the process and the quality of their assets formed a real creative springboard for the project. Graphic designer Bill commented, “Red Bull offers everything you want to produce great presentation design: non-restrictive style guidelines, great photography and brand assets, and clear messaging objectives.”
Once the overall concept had been approved and key designs were signed off, our PowerPoint specialists established exactly how non-linear navigation based around a hub would function in the application. This was facilitated by a very powerful hyperlinking system that was easy for users with core PowerPoint skills to set up and manage.
Creating a drag-and-drop timeline within PowerPoint was another really unique obstacle that we had to overcome. Deepica, one of our dedicated PowerPoint experts, explained how we “were able to turn a PowerPoint table — which is usually very limited — into a bespoke interactive calendar. This meant that users could edit and insert their marketing data along a slick visual timeline.”
Planning for Multiple Users
There would be multiple presenters diving in and out of their segments during Red Bull’s marketing meetings, and all users would be working from and editing the same centralised template. This precipitated a number of distinct issues for us to puzzle out.
The template didn’t just need to be easy to use — it also needed to be extremely robust with so many staff editing it across different IT setups. We made this happen by fully optimizing the template for Mac and PC — no easy task considering it contained bespoke fonts — and by submitting it to rigorous internal testing.
Delivery of the Project
We employed a seamless marriage of design and PowerPoint expertise to deliver a professional presentation template that allowed Red Bull’s marketing team to make impactful, on-brand presentations quickly and easily.
The presentation template was both future-proof and scalable, meaning it could be easily customized and built upon by Red Bull themselves going forward. Although it was structured around just six key layouts, these were built in a way that offered users the flexibility to create slick, dynamic presentations that could be as streamlined or expanded as needed.
The dashboard was also on-brand and exciting to look at: smooth animation, fast navigation and the ability to switch seamlessly between different presenters and content gave meetings a real sense of momentum, reflecting the obvious energy of Red Bull’s product and audience. This went a long way towards amplifying the brand’s personality with its organization.
Jonathan Branney heads up marketing and content at Buffalo7, a design agency dedicated to helping brands transform their PowerPoint presentations. We turn the unremarkable into the incredible and help brands like Samsung, Playstation, Facebook and the Unilever to deliver their messages with impact and style.
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