Preparing an agency deck

August 06, 2017

Preparing an agency deck

A 'deck' is a term used by advertising folk, marketers, and PR people. It refers to a multi-slide visual presentation, usually saved as a Powerpoint or pdf file.  

Agency folk work with three main types of deck: the snapshot deck, the pitch deck and the copy deck. As an account manager it is highly probable that you will need to create at least one of these types of deck at least once in your career! 

 

The snapshot deck 

Some clients like to see a monthly or quarterly recap of how their agency/client relationship is tracking, or see a visual review of a campaign's results. The deck (slides) can include information such as the products/services that were the focus of the time period, financial/sales/campaign cost information, ROI, website analytics, social media monitoring, and demographic data. 

The deck is likely to include a lot of charts, illustrations, infographics, graphs, financial figures, and/or statistics. It's important to explain all of the pertinent information in your presentation. 

Try to accommodate all the different ways that people like to absorb information, and have a good balance of visual and written content. 

 

The pitch deck (a.k.a. 'capabilities deck') 

A pitch deck is usually a standard requirement for every new business pitch. The most engaging pitches and pitch decks are about telling a compelling story and taking the audience along for the ride. This can turn a hum-drum, boring presentation into something that will keep your audience awake and engaged (and hopefully get you a new client). 

A pitch deck can include the following (following Guy Kawasaki's 10-slide pitch method): 

  • Slide 1: Why what you do is important. Think of this as a statement, a quote or a visual. 
  • Slide 2: What you do. Keep it short and sweet, and can be a one-liner hook. 
  • Slide 3: Who do you do it for? This can be a brand board of clients you work for. State why you earned a spot in the pitch, and why it's important to you. Be proud of this slide. 
  • Slide 4: Why should anyone want to work with you? What makes your agency stand out? What's your USP (unique selling proposition)? This could be culture, price, service model, quality, dependability, staff experience and skills, way of doing things, speed, a process, etc.  
  • Slides 5, 6, 7: Select three projects that demonstrate your agency's capabilities and tell organised stories (case studies that will appeal to your audience). Make them full of visuals and include video if you have it. Use the STAR approach to telling your stories (the Situation; the Task; the Action; the Result). 
  • Slide 8: What's it like working with you? Use charts if you want to show a process. 
  • Slide 9: The penultimate slide – is there anything else unique that the audience needs to know that demonstrates why your agency is awesome? This is your chance to drive home your message and open a sales opportunity. 
  • Slide 10: Over to them. This slide should prompt you to start a discussion with your potential client. You've been doing all the talking, now it's time to do the listening. What was interesting? What might be on their mind? Where do you go from here? 

 

The copy deck 

A copy deck is a written document (or set of slides), most often written by a copywriter, that contains an advertising idea, along with specific wording to be used in conjunction with the advertising idea. The deck could also contain graphics, links and anything else that is considered essential for promoting the product or service. The copy is meant to persuade someone to buy a product/service or influence their beliefs. 

Think of a copy deck like a deck of playing cards where each card will deal with a facet of your advertising idea, and the cover of the cards is usually a pre-existing customer desire. Every card in your deck needs to reflect in some way that desire. 

Each card in the deck will reflect one of the following: 

  • Headline (short, simple, large, bold; contains the main message; identifies the brand; works with a visual image to grab attention; suggests a key benefit). 
  • Body copy (explanation; summary of truth; the goal is to win over your client with a detailed argument). 
  • Social proof (testimonials; links; photos). 
  • More supporting content (sub headings used to break up blocks of text; callouts – pieces of text on or around an image; taglines – short, catchy, memorable; slogans – catchy phrases to strengthen the brand image). 
  • Call-to-action (tells the reader how to respond, sign up, buy, follow link). 
 

 

What should the deck look like?

Whatever type of deck you are asked to prepare your main aims should be to make the deck (1) readable; (2) relevant; and (3) packed with value. It doesn’t have to be a visual masterpiece, but it does need to look like it was created by an agency person who respects aesthetics (including the use of fonts, font size, leading, kerning, and white space), and ensures that the deck template used (logos, images, fonts, colours, tone of voice) is correct for your agency’s brand.

The other main thing to bear in mind is that the deck should be easy to print (if required). Watch out for using grey or light-coloured fonts, or dark backgrounds to text, which may not print so well on a black and white printer.

  

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