Most times, simple is hard.
Ask any regular user of Twitter, and they’ll tell you that it’s often tough to get one’s point across in 280 characters or less.
During the phase of creating content – collateral, manuals, advertising, whatever – it’s too easy to succumb to the temptation of making our communication sound grander, more important, or somehow more “intellectual” than it really is.
Too often, we want to show off. We want to revel in the thought that we know something about a subject that the reader does not.
As a result, we gild the lily. We embellish, extrapolate and elaborate when – most often – what’s required is something simple.
The Importance Of Simplicity
Most successful organizations in the world are able to distill their communicating down in a way that just about anyone can understand.
Think of Apple, Nike, Disney, or Ben & Jerry’s and most people know what they do and what they’re about. The brand purpose, value articulation, or use case is clear for anyone (and everyone) to see. You don’t need a English or Science degree to get what they’re about. And nor should you.
So, why do most companies continue to overly complicate their messaging? Because it’s easier than the alternative.
It’s far easier to make things complicated than to make things simple, no matter what the task. Whether it’s writing text for your website or designing a commercial aircraft, the problem with making things simple is that takes a lot more work.
To be able to convey a thought, idea, or concept in an easy-to-understand manner means having to understand the subject matter at a very intrinsic level. You really have to know your stuff. Albert Einstein is supposed to have said You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
Communicating Simply Is Hard
However, it seems that very few businesses take the time to explain things simply. They’d much rather use complex language and phrasing, technical jargon, acronyms, and the rest. It’s as though they actually delight in the idea they know more than the customer.
Or perhaps they prefer to hide behind such complexity in the vain attempt to obfuscate, bamboozle, or (even) trick the customer.
The problem with such thinking is that, in this day and age, customers aren’t as willing to accept such corporate posturing. They’ve cottoned-on to the fact they’re the ones in control. Their expectations before, during, and after the transaction are much higher than previously. If you’re still communicating with complexity as your compass, customers will go to find someone else who speaks their language. No matter how wonderful your product or service.
Take a fresh look at every facet of communication that leaves your company. Ask yourself one question: How easy is it for someone who doesn’t know you, to get who you are?