Last week, I went to the ballet and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I love the ballet. It is not about the grace (and it is graceful) or the beauty (and it is beautiful); it is the effortlessness with which the dancers execute moves of tremendous strength, often in synchrony with many other dancers. It never ceases to amaze or surprise me. Among my many hobbies, I am a yoga teacher in training. I know (or at least can guess) just how much effort must be going in to making that hard work effortless and into making the difficult look simple. But it is all the better for looking so simple and so effortless.
You might, quite fairly, be asking what on earth this has to do with brands and communications. Or if I just want an excuse to wax lyrical about the ballet. In fact, I think it has quite a lot to do with brands and communications.
If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a big fan of simplicity. I’ve seen time and again in research that simple communications are simply, better – better at cutting through, better at communicating key points.
And my personal observations are borne out by our database analysis. Many of the highly successful ads are simple in their communication. Simple doesn’t mean boring. It means that more is not always more. And quite often the complicated asks people to work harder than they’ll be willing to work to understand your ad. And the less dynamic the medium, the more simplicity is needed to get the message across (which can’t be easy). I’m reminded of this from Land Rover.
But as with the physical feats on the stage of ballet, creating simplicity in brands and communications takes effort that must look effortless, and effortlessly distinctive at that. This challenge is partly attributable to the cluttered media environment in which we all live – with a plethora of platforms all competing to cut through.
In ballet as in brands and communications, every once in a while someone with limited experience will hit on something beautiful, graceful and amazing-looking. In fact, very (very) occasionally a complete novice makes what looks like a brilliant move. But to create something that is consistently simply, better takes effort that can pay off. I suggest to you that striving for simplicity is just that: simply, better.