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Duarte Design is on a mission to change the world, one PowerPoint presentation at a time. Nancy and Mark Duarte, the wife-and-husband team behind Al Gore's famous slideshow about global warming, have built a thriving business out of creating high-impact PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. Their company has become the go-to presentation resource for some of high technology's most visible companies, such as Adobe, Cisco, and HP. But Nancy will be the first to tell you that it's not the technology that matters most, but rather the story. This installment of Creative Inspirations tells the story of how this power duo elevated lowly PowerPoint presentations to arguably the most compelling form of modern media.
(Music playing.) Brooke Embry: So this project was for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Really what they were trying to do is show the connectivity of the Gulf of Mexico in terms of all these different constituents. What they were trying to do again is establish the Gulf of Mexico as a marine sanctuary. So protect the area, set rules around what people could and couldn't do, again, from recreation to oil industry.
So it's really setting those boundaries, preserving this area and what they want to do is present this to White House and really have this be kind of the next big environmental stance for the White House to take. So that was really their plug and their pull for what they were trying to do with this presentation. So what we would like to do is kind of walk through it a little bit, show some of the real interesting pieces, and why we took the direction that we did for this. So they have this entire library of assets, which we were really excited about. We are like, great, we are going to be able to handpick these beautiful, kind of National Geographic type images is what we thought.
It turned out that they did have a lot of great images, but the resolution wasn't always great. Sometimes the tone of the color of the picture was either kind of on the yellow side, so we didn't really want to use it. So it did pose a little bit of a challenge. It gave us great ideas in what we wanted to do with the photos, but then we kind of had to go out on our own and source the photos to have this continuity between the look and feel of the whole presentation. So again, great for generating ideas, but unfortunately we weren't able to use a lot of the assets that they provided us.
Michael Moon: Yeah. The funny thing about that is, is once we figured out what the story was, we realized that we didn't have a lot of the assets that we needed to tell it. They had, despite their mountains and mountains of stuff, nothing that was going to really connect them back to their audience. Of course, they had these great pictures of sea turtles and coral reefs and all of this other stuff, but you can only put so much of that stuff up on screen before it gets old, and it's kind of like, well, tell me what this means to me. That's really where we started out with the process. What was interesting to us was, in their formulation of this, they almost completely neglected their audience.
They didn't think about, okay, if I have to go to the White House or the administration and talk to these sorts of people, who am I really talking to, right? If my audience is politicians, what do the politicians really care about? Constituents. I mean their goal is to get reelected. So just by talking about sea turtles isn't going to do that, because sea turtles don't vote. You have got to think about all the people that this marine sanctuary could possibly affect and there's a lot of interest down in the Gulf. So pulling those interests out and identifying those things and saying, if you are going to go out and you are going to talk to oil and gas folks, if you are going to go talk to the scientists, or if you are going to go talk to the environmentalists, if you are going to go talk to the people who make a living on the shrimp boats down in the Gulf, those are the stories that you need to tell.
You have got to give them a reason to believe that what you are doing is going to ultimately benefit them in the future. At the end of the day, it all comes together to say, hey, can't we all just get along? We are a lot of different people, a lot of different constituents, we have our own interests, but can we find the happy medium that benefits all of us? That was really what I would call the thesis statement of this presentation at the end. How do we tell a story that says, you know what, everyone is going to support this move, and that's why it's a politically safe thing for you to go do.
It helps bring that call to action home, when you can't really object to it, because you kind of scratch your head and you go, yeah, I guess that does make sense to everybody. Everyone will get behind this. So what we ended up doing was talking to all these constituencies out here. So we have got everyone from the scientists and the environmentalists, who are out there trying to preserve nature, to the merchant marines who are going out and capturing shrimp. Then of course you have got tourists, and you have got people who just like to go out and enjoy the Gulf for the sport fishing and snorkeling and everything else that goes along with it.
So we thought that if we could tell the stories from their perspectives, that it would be a little bit more resident for the people who are finally going to listen to this thing and go, you know what, everyone has got interests here in the Gulf, in preserving and making sure that it's going to return the oil and gas, it's going to return the fishery sources, it's going to just provide for a decent Saturday afternoon. It makes the story a little bit more real. Brooke Embry: Well, again, the one thing about this is that these are actually the real people. These aren't stock photos. So that kind of brings the power and brings the authenticity of the presentation of what they are trying to do.
What was really effective too is, Michael kind of alluded to it, but he really presented this back to the client. So we didn't just kick over a file and say, here you go, what do you think? It was let's get either on a phone call or meet face-to-face, we will present your presentation to you, and treat you like you are the audience. So you feel the full experience of it and then go through any feedback or discussions, what worked, what didn't work, what really resonated, so it's treating it like the client is the live audience.
It was just really, really effective. Upfront we even offered training. We are like hey, if you guys want us to come in, meet with the five people that will probably use this presentation the most, we can give them a little coaching on how to present this file. They didn't go with that, but you know what, they were super thankful that we offered. Michael Moon: Honestly, it's a fun process, because we do this stuff so naturally, because we do it on a day-to-day basis, but most people who get up there with your standard PowerPoint or other presentation software or something, don't really think about the presentation that way. So if you can present to them what your vision for it should be and have the cadence and have the presence on stage and let people really experience that, a very interesting point happens in the process, where they make it their own.
They take it and they go, okay, you can take the training wheels off now, I am ready for this, and now I am going to go do it. They become much better presenters because of that process.
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