sábado, 25 de septiembre de 2010

Simple, Smart & Sexy

Is there anything more appealing than something that is Simple, Smart and Sexy? Do you agree with me that these three words put together are irresistible from any perspective? Think it from a personal perspective, and I am sure you’ll agree. Who could personally resist to something or someone that is Simple, Smart and Sexy? 


And think about business, and think how much easier and better everything could be if we applied these three concepts to anything we do, from a process to a product.


Appealing? Definitively. These three words put together are a guarantee to success. Why? SIMPLE. Because they are three powerful and appealing concepts nobody can resist to. Can you?


If you can’t resist to them, probably the next question you would have in your mind is HOW these three powerful words could be applied to any business situation. Read through and you’ll see HOW, because theories are great, but they move from great to profitable when we know HOW to implement them.




In each thing you do in your business, whether a new process or a new marketing approach chances of success are incremented when whatever you do responds to AT LEAST one of those ‘S’. Success is guaranteed when you can apply all three of them.  Let’s take a closer look to what they mean.




Simple means something that can be easily (thus rapidly) understood or done. It is uncomplicated, fundamental and straightforward. As consumers we are overwhelmed with the enormous amounts of new products put to market every year (in the US the number of entirely new household products only, reaches 30,000 a year), our hectic lives full of emails, trips, meetings, obligations and responsibilities. Therefore we will embrace innovations that will make our life SIMPLER, whether it’s a process or a new product; whether it’s at home, in the office or elsewhere. Let’s take a look at some examples.


Making it SIMPLER for the client


American Airlines launched on Friday their new app for the iPhone. This app is thought to make our life simpler: we can check in while on our way to the airport, have our boarding passes on the iPhone, get seats assigned, change flights or track a route. Perfect! That is exactly what we needed as busy travelers (now we need AA to make flying tolerable … but they still have a looooong way to go to get there!) and it’s a process that by making it simpler for the client the company will keep saving costs. 


The concept ‘If it fits it ships’ from the United States Postal Service, is also a way of making a process and a service very easy for the client.


Now say for example that you need to reduce costs (who doesn’t?). A simple (and effective) way of doing it is asking your team to think on this question: ‘How can we make the process SIMPLER?’ Take out the ‘Cost’ part on the question. Just ask how to make it SIMPLER. You’ll be surprised on how, by making the right question, you will get the right answer.  Besides, just remember (or print it and share it with your team) this Einstein’s quote:


"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."



Attracting clients with SIMPLE marketing messages


The concept of SIMPLICITY needs also to be applied to marketing messages. As a marketing specialist, it is still incredible for me to see ads that contain a lengthy product description instead of a single word product/service benefit. In this hectic life, the question of ‘What’s in it for me’ is present at all times in consumers/clients minds. Ad copies, corporate presentations or news articles need to be SIMPLE and focus, straight to the point. We have no time to waist; we have no time to read, unless it’s meaningful to our own lives. Therefore, just remember, from design to copy, keep it SIMPLE. Communicate clearly and in one word (or three max) what’s in it for the client. Don’t make us waist our precious and limited time in trying to figure out through lengthy explanations ‘what’s in it for us’. This Bose ad, summarizes the concept very well. 


Applying SIMPLICITY to corporate presentations


Simplicity is often the most difficult thing to achieve, moreover when you are actively involved in the process of designing a new product, process or marketing message, and even when you have to explain some complicated business matter to a boss or board. Doesn’t it happen to you that when someone steps into your office to explain something they are doing, they start by explaining a lengthy, detailed story when all you need is the headline? Well, the same thing happens to clients, bosses and board members. We have no time for lengthy explanations; we just need that one simple, magic word that will turn our attention on. Otherwise, we won’t listen. When I was head of Marketing at ING, I only allowed the team 1 minute for their opening statements during a presentation. If the opening statement was interesting enough they had 12 more minutes to proceed. Why? Simple. Because after 12 minutes our attention is gone, unless we have the best speaker ever in front of us. As the average person is not Bill Clinton communicating, with 12 minutes we had enough. 


Their initial reaction wasn’t the easiest, but soon they appreciated the new policy. Later, I worked with a client, EVERIS, who in their Headquarters in Madrid meetings were held standing in a tall bar table. This kept meetings short and effective. 


In summary, whether a process, new product, marketing message or corporate presentation, it needs to be SIMPLE to get results. 



Again, think about how overwhelmed we are and we feel, and the many things we need to get done in order to achieve results. This makes the need for SMARTER products, processes and marketing messages, evident. The word SMART when talking about a device means ‘capable of independent and seemingly intelligent action.’ 


Smart phones are the best example of the need (and success) of smarter products/services, processes or messages. SMART would mean in this case, capable of multitasking and accomplishing in a shorter period of time, smaller space and with less effort (or resources) more things done.


In Miami (and some other cities in the United States) a great and SMART public service appeared some years ago and it’s the Pay by Phone Parking. It’s a simple way of paying for street parking from your mobile phone, with the added benefit that before the time of parking expires you get an SMS message from which you can add more time if you need to do so, from your phone. No need to rush out of a meeting, lunch or whatever because you are going to get a ticket; now you can take care of it from the convenience of your phone! 


From my own perspective, I could tag as SMART everything that will make my day-to-day tasks simpler, and the Pay-by-Phone Parking does so.


So, when someone from your team comes up with a ‘great’ idea, just think if the word SMART could be applied to it. If so, give it a green light.




Who doesn’t want to be sexy? Who is not attracted to sexy things, people or even words?  The word SEXY means ‘something that is attractive and appealing.’ 


The word SEXY can be applied to objects (products), services, people, processes and/or messages. In fact, it needs to be applied to all. 


I was working last week with a Candidate to the Senate under these three parameters. The guy is not Obama (who could be tagged as ‘sexy’) nor it was his campaign. But there was something we could do, and that was to create a smart phone app, simple and sexy for his supporters to share pictures with him on their social networks. 


In the processes arena, the word SEXY has to be applied in every process that has a touch point with the client, for example, sales. Some five years ago, I was working with Hewlett Packard on their B2B marketing campaign and we developed a watch that had in the bracelet a USB. HP’s sales people carried their presentations in these watches when making a corporate presentation. Evidently, clients were impressed - and flattered - as they got to keep the watch with the presentation. We did a similar thing in PROCESOi in Spain with Pens that had a USB. Pharmaceutical companies that are always struggling to find more ways of reaching out to doctors could use this type of elements to give out information on a new drug … and it’s something that doctors would love!


Apple has a SEXY approach to customer service on their stores. First of all they use the concept of the ‘Genius bar’ for which you have to make an appointment. When you pay for something, they offer you to email your receipt and they also have the printers underneath the tables from which they grab your printed receipt as the sales person is walking you out from the store. Apple has applied the word SEXY to everything they do, and so can you.


In summary, as you have seen the words SIMPLE, SMART and SEXY can be (and should be) applied to any business situation, from a corporate presentation to a sales receipt or a piece of merchandising.  Think of how you can apply these powerful words to your business today and you will see how you get immediate results.  And if you need assistance on how to apply this very basic and successful concept to any part of your business, whether it’s to design a Simpler, Smarter and Sexier marketing campaign to attract more clients or to design a new product/service or process that will help you boost your business results, contact me and I’ll be, SIMPLY, happy to help you!

Posted via email from Mariana Ferrari

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