PUT THE KETTLE ON

If you can find one that does the job!
Photo by Derek Lee on Unsplash
Keeping it simple is easy right?

A quick Google search will yield a tonne of quotes from Steve Jobs to Charlie Chaplin about how achieving simplicity is, well, not simple. And it’s not a new thing. Leonardo Da Vinci is quoted as saying that ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

‘Keep it simple, stupid’ is an oft used mantra, and Apple design guru Jonathan Ives stays on brand by saying in the most compact way possible, ‘Simplicity is really hard’. He could have dropped the ‘really’ but then it wouldn’t be so difficult to achieve.

Communicating simply can be just as complex. Creating a clear message that customers can understand is possibly one of the most basic, yet missed targets in marketing.

When the recent England Euro games were on ITV I found myself watching adverts. As a Netflix/iPlayer/Disney+ household this is not a regular occurrence. I counted the number of ads in one break that left me in any doubt as to what the product or service was. Over half of them were just too vague, or tried too hard to be eye catching or outstanding. Clarity was lost at the expense of creativity.

Don’t get me wrong, creativity is key but so is being clear. If it’s not clear then maybe all you’ve achieved is to create a piece of art.

Correctly distilling what we do as businesses down to an easy to understand message, elevator pitch, tag line or web heading will help your potential customers do business with you.

People don’t always buy the best product or service, they will buy the one with the clearest marketing message, the one they understand. The one where they don’t have to do mental gymnastics to get how their lives or businesses can be improved by using that service or product.

My dad is a preacher man, which makes me the son of… anyway, over the years I have heard him preach a lot and he always has these neat little stories that help illustrate a point he is making. A parable I suppose. He sometimes tells the story of the time he went to a large supermarket to purchase a kettle.

As he stood in the store staring at many shelves filled with kettles he had a choice of sizes, shapes, designs, colours, patterns, finishes, cords or cordless, stove top, electric, plastic, stainless steel, filters, bluetooth, tv channels and so on (there may be some preachers licence in there somewhere).

All he wanted was a cup of tea. What he got was load of hot air!

So many options was too much to handle and he probably left the shop with a toaster.

If we want our businesses to thrive we need to have a simple and clear message that is easy to understand and makes it easy for customers to do business with us.

As Steve Jobs suggested, simplicity is not just the absence of clutter, it involves digging through the depths of complexity. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.

Or maybe you have to understand the essence of what your customer wants in order to get rid of the information they do not need.

Do you need to communicate with clarity?

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