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Simplify Your Message & Break Through

October 30, 2012
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Posted by Scott Leisler

World-renowned architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, practiced the philosophy of “Less is More.”

At Dovetail, we talk a lot about simplifying messages with a “Less is More” approach to break through market clutter. We want audiences to remember what we are saying – and by sometimes saying less, the audience will remember more.

Throughout the years, we’ve seen many success stories that have done just that.

Complicated content is distilled down to a single essential message – and then repeated with enough frequency to make it memorable to the audience.

You’re probably thinking, that’s easier said than done. And that’s true, especially in larger organizations. With many stakeholders, marketing managers, content contributors and internal special interests, it can be a challenge to find agreement on what your essential message is, yet everyone can agree it’s probably the right thing to do.

Ask your team the following questions to find your essential breakthrough message:

  1. Is our message direct and simple to understand? Make complex concepts easy to understand by subtracting complicated details until you have taken so many away that it’s time to put some back.
  2. Will our audience be able to answer why our message matters to them? Your message shouldn’t be self-serving. Instead of talking about yourself, remember to tell the audience what’s in it for them.
  3. Does our message translate across a variety of communication channels? Your message should be flexible enough to work online and offline. By using a consistent voice the message will be more understandable to the audience – no matter where their eyes or ears experience it.
  4. Have we built in enough media frequency for our message to reach our audience? No matter how dialed in your essential message is, if you don’t place it often enough it won’t be noticed. You may even mistake a correct message as incorrect because of a lack of audience response.
  5. Are we looking at the message from an outsider’s perspective? It can be really easy to “be too close to it” and use your own subject matter expertise against yourself – making your message too complicated to be digested. Remember that your audience may not be familiar with your processes and the everyday vocabulary used in your organization.
  6. Is our message honest? Be authentic and true, and make sure you can live up to what your message promises. Obvious embellishments will be quickly called out by web and social communities, causing damage to the integrity of your brand.

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