Is using Powerpoint undermining your brand?

Using old-fashioned sequential slide tools like Microsoft PowerPoint may be undermining your and your company’s brand.

Harvard University conducted a double-blind study to compare the effectiveness of PowerPoint to “zoomable user interfaces” like Prezi, as well as good old oral presentations with no visual support.

They found that Marshall McLuhan famous adage – “the medium is the message” – continues to hold true.  Use of Prezi created a brand halo for presenters, who were seen as “more knowledgeable and professional” than when they relied on Powerpoint, or used no visual aids.

Presenters who used Powerpoint were seen as merely comparable to presenters who used no visual aids at all.

Researchers conducted their study by modelling a real-world business scenario.  Some participants played the role of presenters, others the role of audience.  Presenters were randomly assigned to create PowerPoint, Prezi, or oral presentations, and then delivered their presentations live to audiences.

Audiences also said that, compared to the sequential, linear transitions in slideware (and the lack of visual aids in purely oral presentations), the animated zooming in/out on a virtual canvas gave them a more favorable experience overall.

Note: While the research was supported by a grant from Prezi, raising the prospect of bias, the researchers reported that Prezi let them conduct the study of their own design, and publish it no matter what the results revealed.  The research findings were also peer-reviewed.



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