After my most recent keynote on branding, I was approached by an aspiring entrepreneur. He was just as nervous as he was excited and he asked me if he could run his new venture by me. He went on to tell me about his full-time job and how he couldn’t wait to quit. His quickly transitioned to his side-hustle and his face instantly lit up. He wanted some advice on how to grow his passion so that he could leave the job he dreaded. His excitement captured my attention so I asked him to explain his side business.
Without painting a clear picture he just started throwing all of the details at me. He droned on in great detail of all features and benefits of his “thing” and I quickly found myself losing interest. More than anything my poor ears were crying and I just wanted the talking to stop. Worst part? After 15 minutes I still had no clear understanding of what his business actually did.
Unfortunately, he is not alone. Many organizations and entrepreneurs are victims of complexity. Especially when it comes to expressing their brand’s value proposition. A common misconception is that more information means more clarity but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In today’s world we are experiencing data surplus and attention deficit. Market saturation is at an all-time high. Furthermore, we’re constantly being pummeled with a barrage of unwanted ads, robocalls, and solicitation emails. Oh and don’t forget the 5-10 different social profiles every person manage. Simplicity is critical.
People think that over explaining their work makes it sound more complex and valuable but instead, it has the completely opposite effect.
Too much information may come off as overcompensating and will have potential customers wondering, “what’s the catch?”
Step #1 – Embrace simplicity.
Most people feel if a solution is simple that it may not be worth much. That’s 100% false. Some of the biggest brands in the world have solutions so basic that it makes you mad that you didn’t come up with them first. Don’t fear simplicity. Embrace it.
Step #2 – Say less.
Think about your shortest elevator pitch. Then shorten it some more. Some of the best ideas can be explained in 10 seconds or less. Fewer words mean that you’re only using the best words.
Step #3 – Write it for a 10-year-old.
By complicating your explanation, you run the risk that nobody will ever understand what your company actually does. If they don’t understand it then they’ll never buy from you. Test your 10-second pitch on a 10-year-old. If they get your concept then you’re headed in the right direction.
Critical thinking expends calories. However, the human brain’s primary mission is to conserve energy so it can focus on survival. It craves simplicity because that means more energy can go into staying alive . Unfortunately for our brain, sociology has conditioned us that more is better. We’re taught to want more money, more power or more love. So naturally, we also want to say more.
Saying less is hard work. Especially if you’re close to the project. Sometimes the best thing to do is hire a professional or a team. I know a great one if you need a recommendation.
Someone will be in touch very soon.