KISS - Keep It Simple Story

Grant Leboff, chief executive of Sticky Marketing, talks generating content, attention deficit and the need for simplicity in marketing We now live in a world where everyone has a channel. Traditional media companies are still producing radio, cinema, TV, newspapers and magazines etc. Meanwhile, all businesses are generating content in order to utilise their own media. From websites and blogs to social platforms, companies have inadvertently become media businesses themselves. Finally, individuals have also become mini media entities. From sharing moments on Instagram, to thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, or business ideas on LinkedIn, every individual is now producing their own content that is shared in the public arena. The result is that we live in an age where information is abundant. In fact, most people are overwhelmed by the amount of material available on any given subject. Everything in life has a cause and effect. Nothing exists in a vacuum. The direct result of the abundance of information is that we now live in a world where attention is scarce. It is harder today to capture people’s attention than ever before. Of course, in order for your event to be successful you need both your prospect’s and your customer’s attention. Without it, they will not even know about your show, never mind attend. This has important ramifications for the messaging around your event. Firstly, you need to keep the value proposition simple. Of course, many events are multi faceted with a variety of angles and areas of interest for the visitor. However, if you cannot distil the value proposition down to a few words, or a sentence, then it is unlikely to cut through the noise in the market place. We see evidence of the need for simplicity all around us. For example, Coca-Cola used to market each of its cola products separately. So Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life were each treated as separate products. However, Coca Cola have now opted for a single brand approach. This is where Coca-Cola - the brand - is promoted, with the original drink, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life all being treated as varieties of the one brand. Consequently, the packaging has now changed so it is more cohesive between products, and the communications reflect this. Ultimately, in a world of noise it is easier to cut through with a single brand proposition than four separate products. Similarly, the success of supermarkets such as Aldi show that for many customers ‘less is more’. While the shopping experience at so many of its competitors is simply overwhelming, for many customers, Aldi’s proposition is refreshingly simple. The point should not be lost when promoting events. The event itself may include many dimensions and experiences, but the value proposition has to be articulated clearly and concisely. Too often event organisers are so keen to impart the plethora of offerings available, that the customer has no idea if there is a compelling reason to attend at all. Once the value proposition has been defined the next step is how that is communicated. Event organisers need to ask ‘what is their narrative?’ In other words, what is the story that will capture your customer’s imagination regarding the event? Stories are more memorable than plain facts. In a world of attention deficit, having a narrative behind the event makes it more likely that people will remember what the show is about, and why they should attend. Moreover, stories have the ability to capture the imagination in a way that facts and benefits never will. People are more likely to accept ideas within the context of a story, than when in an analytical mode just absorbing details. This is because stories appeal to the emotional side of our thinking, not only the rational logical brain and in a world where everyone has a channel, your best marketers are your engaged customers and prospects. They are more likely to share content that touches them emotionally, than mere facts and figures. Event organisers need to think of the digital platforms today, from websites and blogs to YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Facebook, as opportunities to communicate simple stories. In the old world, the acronym ‘KISS’, that originally came out of the field of design engineering, was adopted in sales and marketing to remind individuals to ‘keep it simple stupid’; in other words, not to overcomplicate the message as customers were less likely to ‘get it’ in the few moments you had. Today, it might be more apt to think of ‘KISS’ as keep it simple story. In other words, a simple value proposition together with a compelling narrative is the recipe for effective communications.Grant Leboff is CEO of stickymarketing.com He is an international speaker and best selling author. His current book is entitled Stickier Marketing. This article was first published in the August issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis
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