I love BS, and no, that’s not bullshit, it’s ‘Brand Simple’! It’s about creating brands that resonate and communicate with your customers in a clear, consistent and charismatic way.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
The size of the brand really doesn’t matter – big or small, the same principles apply. Every single stakeholder, every single person that touches and interacts with the brand needs to get it, and quickly, because the way we consume information has changed beyond all recognition since the dawn of the interweb. Brands must be simple or they simply won’t work. Competition has never been stiffer to win the hearts and minds of the customer – they have a million choices and less time to make them. NB – people use brands as short-cuts to make a purchase decision. A short-cut by its very definition is simple.
Simples!! (not). There is a vast difference between simple and simplistic. Simple is not easy to create – to really strip back your thinking to create that differentiated promise, AND one that hasn’t been claimed before, is probably one of the most difficult things you will ever do.
Apple uses this brand simple thinking through everything they do. Steve Jobs introduced ‘The Picasso Way’ to train future employees into his way of thinking. He used 11 Picasso lithographs to explain the company’s design process (see illustration) – simply genius.
We help our clients through this process every day. Whether it’s taking them through our Brandshool® programme or designing a national advertising campaign, we strive to create simple, yet utterly seductive marketing messages.
The Fag Packet Challenge
Barnum, of circus fame, once told a business person trying to sell him something, to write the whole sales pitch on the back of a business card (how refreshing – I’ve seen 300 page brand strategy reports trying to explain a differentiated brand platform). Even Coca-Cola’s brand promise can be summed up in one sentence and their entire brand DNA can be mapped out on a single page.
So, to use a phrase popular back in the day (well my day anyway!) – try and write your brand promise and the reason why it exists on the back of a fag packet – how many great ideas have started life. You may find it harder than you think.
Go one step further. Try and think of ONE WORD that you would love your brand to be associated with.
Congratulations – you have the taken the first step to brand simple. If you get it right, you might just find things will never be the same again.
Jill Peel, Co-founder and Creative Director