Ashley Farmer is the associate director of communications at Heartbeat Ideas, a privately held, full service agency grounded in technology-enabled strategy and recognized for breakthrough creative. A crusader for superior presentation work, Ashley works alongside all Heartbeaters to ensure their stories are delivered thoughtfully and powerfully. When she’s not waist-deep in a Microsoft Office program, you can find her wandering the streets of New York City in search of her next great meal.
In this conversation, Ashley discusses Heartbeat Ideas, the importance of presentations to its business and its use of SlideShark (Brainshark’s app for viewing and sharing PowerPoints on the iPad and iPhone).
Geetesh: Tell us about Heartbeat Ideas, and the types of presentations you create and deliver.
Ashley: In the simplest of terms, Heartbeat generates differentiating marketing ideas for our clients. We are a tight group of marketers — strategists, creatives, technologists — who are focused on producing the best and brightest marketing campaigns for the worlds of healthcare, wellness and beauty.
Thus, our presentations are the storybooks for those ideas and we don’t take them lightly. We are incessantly refining them — from the narrative to the slide design — and ensuring that they are compelling and impactful for our clients and industry audiences.
Geetesh: What role does SlideShark and the iPad play in your presentations, and why do you prefer this combination?
Ashley: For the past year or so, a significant portion of our business has been the development of iPad apps for our clients’ marketing needs. So, it made perfect sense for us to not only share that work with them from the iPad, but to present new ideas from it as well. We are a mixed bag of Mac and PC users, so we prefer PowerPoint over Keynote — but there wasn’t a fully baked solution for presenting PowerPoint files on the iPad until SlideShark popped onto our radar. It’s an excellent solution for many reasons, but here are my top 3:
- It’s easy to use and maintain. With SlideShark Team Edition, I can easily upload presentations to our account, and my coworkers can access them and present them with a few taps on the screen. When I want to edit or remove a file, it happens to everyone’s copies. I don’t have to email each person or physically change the file on each tablet.
- It’s sensible for a 1-on-1 presentation or a group presentation. Our CEO, whose iPad is attached to his hand, is always able to tell the Heartbeat story with whomever he meets and without any prep. When he’s presenting to larger groups, SlideShark facilitates it with features like “Presenter Mode” — showing him (not his audience) his slide notes, while the audience views the slide content only on a separate screen. This provides the same type of flexibility that he would have presenting from any desktop computer.
- The app is constantly evolving. Last month, embedded video was enabled (huge for us at Heartbeat!) and, just last week, I received an email that hyperlinks are now accessible. I feel incredibly confident implementing SlideShark for our teams because I know that whatever whiz-bangery we add to our presentations will still shine through on the iPad.