KISS: keep it simple, stupid. That old phrase is just as relevant today as when it was first trotted out. In fact, it might be even more so. According to a recent study, brands are failing to deliver the simplicity that today's consumers crave. Let's take a look at why simplicity matters, who's getting it right, and how to keep your brand as simple as it can be.
Consumers Are Facing A Choice Overload
Choice is a good thing - to an extent. When we have options, we can decide what's right for us and pick the thing that aligns most with our needs. But when faced with too many options, we tend to freeze. We get overwhelmed with information. Then we end up either making a poor choice or not bothering to make a choice at all. (Think analysis paralysis.)
By simplifying the information we throw at consumers, we can actually help guide their decision making. We can help dial back that choice-related anxiety and get them feeling good about making decisions again. There are a few ways that we can - and should - do this:
- Reducing available product choices
- Reducing options, add-ons, and customizations
- Simplifying purchasing options
- Simplifying brand language and visual communication
Brands That Leverage The Power of Simplicity
Ask someone to name a brand, and most people will come back with Apple, Nike, IKEA, and maybe a few others like Tesla or LEGO. These brands are renowned for their branding. We're not only talking about their minimalist design and bold logos. We mean that everything they do is simple. We know exactly what they stand for. We know exactly what we're getting when we buy one of their products. And we know that every piece of brand communication we get from them will be spot on.
Take Apple. It's one of the world's biggest brands, but it only makes a few products - the Macbook, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Sure, there are some variations and some peripheral accessories, but this overall simplicity makes it easy to know what you're buying.
The same goes for IKEA. This Swedish behemoth may stock thousands of products, but they all have a distinctive IKEA-ish feel. You know what the experience is going to be when you purchase an IKEA product. Not only that, but IKEA further simplifies the experience by showing exactly how its products work together by using them to furnish "rooms" in its store or showcasing them in situ in its catalog. Not a natural interior designer? IKEA has done all the hard work for you.
How to Simplify Your Brand
Keeping your brand simple doesn't have to mean throwing out everything you have and starting over. Instead, it means thinking about how you communicate your offer to the world and what you can do to make it clear and easy for your customers. Try the following:
- Audit your language. Is what you're offering clear and apparent? Getting too technical or creative can result in a loss of meaning.
- Streamline your offer. This doesn't have to mean removing products - it can just mean grouping or pricing them more intuitively, the way Apple does.
- Reduce steps. The goal is to make learning about and purchasing your product as easy as possible. Do away with anything that adds friction to the experience.
- Focus on your core promise. If you're straying too far away from what you're all about, redirect your efforts towards your central promise.
Simple brands are successful brands. They're the ones that people gravitate towards because they cut through the noise and offer a clear solution to a need or problem. If your brand could benefit from simplification, but you don't know where to start, get in touch! We can help you identify what needs to change to get you top-of-mind in your vertical - it's that simple.