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You have an upcoming marketing or sales campaign and want promotional materials that have the right combination of imaging, color, design, and narrative to make the biggest impact on your customers. How can you design the right balance for your materials to make that impact?
Balancing Perfection and Excellence
The 19th-century American essayist, Henry David Thoreau, had great advice for us living with the overload of the information age:
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…”
On the other hand, we can temper Thoreau’s advice with a caveat by Albert Einstein:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
So how do you strike a balance between perfection and excellence? What are the enemies of simplicity?
The Enemies of Simplicity
Marty Neumeier addresses the enemies of simplicity in his book “The Brand Flip.” The enemies of simplicity, according to the author, can sabotage your marketing in 7 ways:
- You have an urge to add and a tendency for creating more when less would be better. Follow Thoreau’s advice, but remember Einstein’s caveat.
- You want to make a mark in your branding and tend to overstate when it would be better to let your work speak for itself.
- You want to grow revenues, but your quest can be self-defeating when profits go down as a result of higher costs. It is not always true that higher profits follow increased sales volume.
- The lure of competition distracts you from your goals. Competition is a positive incentive, but it can become self-defeating when it becomes ego-based.
- You fear falling behind. Your competitor adds a hot new feature and you panic. In your rush to match the competition, you fail to make adjustments in everything else you offer.
- You try to over-extend your brand with product variations at the expense of what you already do well. A brand extension might produce short-term profits, but be careful not to harm the brand you have worked so hard to establish.
- You try to cover up an overall weak design with too many details. It’s like that college paper a student tries to pad with minutiae to achieve word count. It fools no one, especially the savvy professor, who knows his Thoreau and Einstein.
So, remember that in our enthusiasm to succeed, we can create clutter. Start simple and build that foundation. To paraphrase our friend Thoreau, your castles in the air are where they should be. “Now put the foundations under them.”