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How to propagate your brand through stealth subversion of your client’s brand

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Choose a file. Any file. On Windows. Hover the pointer over it. Don’t click. A selection of the file’s properties will appear.

Do it now. Note what’s there. We’ll come back to it.

Now, let’s talk about corporate branding. The best in class know that their customer brand is their employment brand; and brand supersedes everything. Best in class know that when you look at a product you see the brand, when you talk with an employee you hear the brand, and when you watch a presentation by the company you see and hear the brand at once. In the way the presenter stands. In the way the presenter talks. In the subject matter the presenter presents AND the way it’s presented.

There is no tool in your arsenal more powerful than Microsoft Powerpoint. Use it. A lot. Use it well. Use it terribly. Use it terribly to use it well.

Some basics:

  1. Executives don’t know anything about Powerpoint – but they love slide transitions that whiz across the screen in, like, a rilly, rilly cool way.
  2. Executives don’t do keyboards. They don’t do Human Interface Devices (mice). Executives only know menus as something to order from based on the expense account, not a listing of a program’s in-built functionality.
  3. Powerpoint presentations magically arrive in Executive’s inboxes 3 days before a meeting. Printed. In a binder. Powerpoint is a magical thing.

Shhhhh…. Do you hear that….

Come on… I’m waiting….

OK. Time to kneel at this badconsultant‘s feet and learn.

First. Forget everything you learnt at school about white space, point size, Bullet Theory…

[OK. We invented Bullet Theory but it had you for a moment, didn’t it? Wondering how you could have forgotten something so important, simple and critical as bullet theory? Don’t worry, we will be publishing the landmark text on “Bullet Theory – Kill Your Enemies With 15 Carefully Chosen Words”(®) in the near future]

All you need to know is how to do slide transtions.

You can put what the hell you like on the slide. Boxes of text. Tiny diagrams. Footnotes that take up more Content Real Estate(®) than the content they’re describing. It really doesn’t matter what’s on the slide.

Or even that it’s spelled right. Or spelt right. Or spellt right.

Because no-one reads the slide. At all.

They just want to read what they want to see. What they want to hear. So, even if the overall message is one of dire consequences and doom, so long as you highlight the one stat that would suggest light at the end of the tunnel, you’ll be fine. Don’t believe me? 4 words.

Enron. Earnings. Share Price.

[And two more… Sell Early]

So. Content isn’t important.

Second. No-one else touches the slides. No-one.

Third. Never generate any substantive content.

Now, you’re probably wondering how the paradox inherent in steps two and three will work?

[Look for our upcoming book – The Unity of Paradox Theory – And How to Profit From It!(®)]

Here’s the 4-point plan:

  1. Make self indispensable to Executive
  2. Demand complete, validated content from lowly staffers
  3. Repurpose said content onto slides, highlighting the only stat that will perpetuate 1)
  4. Bill

How are those knees? Are you learning yet? OK, let’s wrap it up.

Because it isn’t the slides at all. If we haven’t convinced you that you can put anything on the screen/paper/projector/overheads/handouts/etc. be loved by your client and still get away with blaming a staffer if any aspect of data is wrong, then you don’t deserve to kneel at our feet.

It isn’t the slides. It’s the properties panel. Get that? The Properties Panel:

Powerpoint >> File >> Properties >> General >> Author/Company

Author: Do NOT use your own name. For there lieth accountability. No… In the Author text box, you list the name of your consulting house.
Company: The killer step. In here, place your USP/motto/mission/purpose/etc. “Making People Productive”. “Changing the World One Idea at a Time”. And so on, and so on.

File >> Save

Brand the slides with your client’s logo and motto.

Now. Make that slideset indispensable. As indispensable to the organization as you are to your lead client. Here are some examples of ways to do this:

  1. If you are running a Program Management Office or Project Office, demand that status reports be submitted on that slide template.
  2. If you are working with a lead corporate HQ-based client, make sure you drop their name in any work and infer how much they want to see unity of purpose and alignment – and isn’t the consistently branded slide template a great example of that?
  3. Slap the words “Confidential – Internal Use Only” on the bottom and run it by Legal.

Play this right and your slides will become the de facto corporate standard. This happens because of the 3 basic facts we pointed out about Executives. They don’t expect to, know how to or care very much to establish their own internal brand. Not when there are empires to build and relationships to cultivate. Besides… The slides have those, like, rilly, rilly neat transitions. Executives, and their admin partners, certainly don’t know that the Properties panel exists.

A little knowledge is a powerful thing. A little less is a gold mine. For you.

Within a matter of years, if not simply months, your slide deck will propagate throughout your client organization. And every time someone hovers over that file that’s on the, ahem, corporate standard, what does the humble PC tell them?

[Aside from Memory Loss Error… Wouldn’t you rather be using an Apple Mac?]

Badconsultant… Bringing S*** and Fan Together!

Let the guerilla marketing begin.