Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simple is often the best approach

Over the years that I have worked in marketing communications, my eye has been drawn to posters, letters, really any type of communications material that crosses my path, be it on the bus, on the TV or in the mail I receive at home. The tendency to scrutinize and evaluate what I see has become natural for me. I've seen examples of successes and of misguided attempts resulting in failure. I've been asked advice on how to best word something to how to engage a particular audience to how to create a magazine. The scenario may change, but the best approach boils down to one philosophy: keeping it simple.

The more straightforward your message, the better chance at being understood and engaging your audience. This sometimes means modifying and eliminating words, organizing a layout in a particular way or refocussing the message itself.

Regardless, the exercise of keeping a communications message simple is a challenge. The very process of creating a message or markcomm product (like a newsletter, magazine, website, etc.) involves many puzzle pieces - images, text, font, layout, content, etc. Marketing communications is an exercise of balancing these areas, which really are their own disciplines - writing, graphic design, printing, etc.. Creating great marketing communications products means finding ways to work with the people who are masters of these domains, while staying on time, within budget and on target with your message.

In spite of immense challenge the coordination of all these elements presents, this line of work also brings many rewards. It requires constant re-evaluation and ongoing learning and encourages thoughtful discussions. The focus of this blog is to discuss ways to keep things simple. I'll contemplate topics as they arise and ones that have come up so often, I could write a book about them. I hope that it will be engaging, insightful and most importantly, help anyone who is tasked with creating marketing communications products.