- Visualize your goals with accurate images to set clear expectations.
- Avoid vague buzz-word loaded claims.
- Format your deck to be easy to read on a smartphone.
The Fyre festival is making headlines at the moment for being a luxury island party weekend without much luxury and essentially not delivering on any of its promises.
I was reading an article on the Guardian newspaper website which linked me to article on VanityFair.com which discussed the miss use of KOL's and social media marketing yet what caught my eye was they included a copy of the Fyre pitch deck as an embedded slide show.
I don't know anything about luxury event organizing or KOL marketing, but I do know about pitch decks. I'm not going to be more critical toward this event for no reason, but I am going to look at some of the slides and talk about how and why I would do it differently.
The reason I think it is worthwhile looking at this deck is that a pitch deck is what sets the expectations for any project and so to not massively deliver on their proposal means something was very wrong and some of that started in the pitching phase.
Three things the Fyre Festival pitch deck could do differently next time.
#1 - Be visual.
Apart from a vector logo, it takes six swipes/clicks before we see any visuals and then these are a bunch of headshots so not directly linked to any event execution. These kind of mood images are necessary to help set the tone, but they need to be balanced with pictures of how the event will ultimately look so everyone involved has super clear expectations. It's easy to argue that this is not what this deck needs, but the results of the festival prove otherwise.
Solution - have one slide in the first 3 with one fantastic image and an easy to understand statement that sets the direction with no room for error or misunderstanding.
"Join us at the best Fyre in 2017"
#2 - Avoid vague, ambiguous language.
Similar to the lack of concrete imagery the content makes vague and overused statements about redefining, seeking meaningful connections, disrupting and engaging cohorts. These words without images or a tangible follow-up start to sound very hollow and meaningless. Exciting words that paint pictures in people's minds are super useful, but a ton of marketing jargon on a handful of slides doesn't add up to much. As often referenced Steve Jobs was great at using simple words to sell big ideas. "1000 songs in your pocket." for example is direct, daring and emotive as a claim, plus it was backed up with the first iPod so very tangible.
Solution - use buzz words and emotive language sparingly so when they are used they stand out and does not just become a blur.
"You'll be telling stories from this weekend for years to come."
#3 - Clean design and formatting.
The final observation I have on the Fyre deck is the use of long line length and small font size for the text copy. A presentation is not a brochure or website - it is a visual idea and needs to be easy and quick to read. Also now more than ever font size is crucial as a lot of people will take the first look on their smartphones so if the line length is too long and font size too small it becomes a struggle to read and our limited brain energy is not being used efficiently. The big issue I see is using off the shelf templates which tend to be a hybrid between a visual landscape presentation and a text based portrait brochure. For reading text from a smartphone screen or back of a boardroom, the font should be large, with good contrast and aligned left - not center aligned as we normally read left to right and need a clear visual guide to help us read quickly and easily.
Solution - Design slides with a priority to legibility and ease of communication, if need be have multiple documents, a mood video, visual teaser and a buisness plan.
- Be visual.
- Simple, emotive language.
- Legible design.
These three approaches are always going to help communicate your idea quickly with as little misinterpretation as possible and set realistic expectations which mean with all the other stress of hosting a new kind of event you are at least starting out on the right foot.
Please click this link for an example of a visual pitch which got a positive reply in the three working days.
Thank you for reading this far, and I appreciate your time, if you have any comments or suggestions please leave a comment.