Think about the most powerful messages you’ve ever heard. Picture the most life-changing piece of advice passed down from a mentor, the most stirring call to action in a stump speech, or the stickiest slogan ever splashed across a commercial.
We’ve all been advised to “not judge a book by its cover,” to “not count your chickens before they hatch,” and that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” My personal favorite piece of received wisdom, essentially a piece of meta-advice, is “all advice is autobiographical.”
Maybe for you what comes to mind is something political, like Patrick Henry’s revolutionary “Give me liberty, or give me death!” or more recently, Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can.” In the halls of great marketing, you might remember Apple’s “Think Different,” Nike’s “Just Do It,” or Disney’s “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
Now think for a second about the other few thousand messages you heard in the past 24 hours –things told to you, like ads, warnings, instructions, or even things you’ve sought out, like articles, social media posts, or stories. How many of them do you actually remember? How many of the things that you’ve said do other people remember? Do they actually even hear what you’re saying?
Regardless if these messages are trying to get your dollars, your votes, or just your thoughts, the most effective messages all share one thing. They are simple.
Simple ideas stick. Simple messages win.
Coming in Fall 2023 from Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win — and How to Design Them is an instruction manual for helping us get simple. Sign up below to learn more and to start your journey to actually getting heard, and pre-order today to get it on release day.
Ben Guttmann is a marketing and communications expert and author of Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win — and How to Design Them. He’s an experienced marketing executive and educator on a mission to get leaders to more effectively connect by simplifying their message.
Ben is former co-founder and managing partner at Digital Natives Group, an award-winning agency that worked with the NFL, I Love NY, Comcast NBCUniversal, Hachette Book Group, The Nature Conservancy, and other major clients. Currently, Ben teaches digital marketing at Baruch College in New York City and consults with a range of thought leaders, venture-backed startups, and other brands.