Speak less. Say more.

Please note that this post was originally published on June 26, 2009. As a result, any external links or videos used may no longer be functional.

Cocktail Napkin IdeasIn previous posts (“Less’ isn’t just more — it’s omnipotent” and “Why strong design is always on Target“), I have discussed the effectiveness of focus and brevity in marketing messages.

Expressing an idea simply and succinctly makes it seem more viable and the brand more confident. It helps with the sell.

Supposedly, Winston Churchill, when prime minister, required that all proposals be presented on a half-page sheet of paper. If a proposer was unable to do this, then it implied to Churchill that the proposer wasn’t clear in his own mind.

Many successful enterprises have launched from a scrap of paper. (For a few examples, see “Seven Brilliant Ideas Scribbled on Cocktail Napkins and Toilet Papers.“)

Marketing exists to influence behavior, such as buying, trying, voting, donating, volunteering, applying, visiting, etc. To be successful, a compelling reason must be presented. The simpler and more clear the reason, the more effective the argument.

Our tools are limited by both time and space: a headline, a tweet, a 30-second radio or TV script, a pay-per-click ad, a billboard, an elevator speech. If we are unable to convince in one sentence, then superfluous words, images and flashy production value won’t help.

For greater success with your messages:

  • Focus on the single most important point.
  • Choose every word with care.
  • Use only necessary words.

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water. – Ernest Hemingway

This entry was posted in advertising, copywriting, loyalty, promotion, simplicity, strategy.

0 Responses to Speak less. Say more.

  1. Jessie says:

    Speak less say more. I couldn’t agree more. This is how our design company works and designs. Not only does it make the brand more confident but the business as well.