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Say it simple, would ya?

keep it simple

Special thanks to our partner Adam Barr for sharing his insights in the following article. These are his words.

Author: Adam Barr

Struggling with the simplicity of your brand messaging?

You’re not alone.

Strong brands have a natural way of making things simple, so that their message cuts through the noise like a hot knife through soft butter. Of course, the irony of simplicity is that it’s anything but.

There are plenty of quotes out there on the subject, but my favorite was mouthed by Jonathan Ive, former product designer for Apple.

“Simplicity is hard.”

Amen, brother. So, if simplicity is hard, and therefore takes work, which therefore takes time, which many people don’t have a lot of, why do it?

Two reasons

Your reader – client, user, buyer, whoever – has a lot on their mind. Every laborious sentence of your communication is extra energy you’re asking them to expel. And the more energy they lose, the more you’ll be losing them.

The other reason?

Simple messaging engages more people and helps sell more stuff. Isn’t that what marketing is all about? BUT… (And this is a big but)…being simple shouldn’t come at the expense of being interesting.

An example

Consider these ads from the same brand. The first headline is simpler, no doubt. But it’s bland. Uninspired if you ask me. Where’s the story? Where’s the sizzle?

advertisement example 1

advertising example 2

When I saw this ad, a headline popped into my head:

When a Harley rider says they’ll be back in ten, be sure to ask, “Ten what?”

The second headline is a more complex idea. But it’s an ad that copywriting nerds like me save in our “Favorite Ads” folder. 

In conclusion

So, when you sit down and write something on behalf of your brand, be simple. The general rule is to write, then go back and cut by a third.

Also, be interesting. Tell a story. Paint a picture. Give an analogy. Make a joke. This goes for an annual report, email, presentation, social media post — anything. Even a text message is a chance to boil down your message to its most essential, most engaging point.

Simplicity is hard. But in marketing, it’s a deadly skill to have.