We’ve all heard the latest business buzzwords that are absolutely meaningless. Likewise, we have all heard the businesses that try to define themselves but they can’t. They want to be everything and they want to list every service or product they provide. Organizations often do the same thing. A non-profit that wants to help everyone usually ends up helping no one. Political candidates that focus on 15 different issues also fail to connect with the voters and the media.
Americans are inundated with businesses, organizations, and political candidates all wanting their attention. There are more ways to advertise than ever before. Open up Facebook, you get advertisements. Turn on Pandora, you get more ads. Roll on down the highway while playing Bachman Turner Overdrive and you are going to see advertisements on the side of the road from billboards to yard signs.
It seems everyone is communicating, but few are connecting. Our phones demand our constant attention. The constant flow of information not only leaves us stressed, but it reduces our attention span. This is why businesses and organizations must be able to connect.
If you have enough money, you can probably cut through the clutter and reach some people. Unless you have a message that connects with them, you still aren’t going to get anywhere. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the resources to just throw away.
A better way to reach people is to quit trying to be everything to everyone. If your business sells shoes, don’t try to expand into jeans. If your organization helps with the homeless, don’t expand into helping with children’s education. If you are a political candidate and the biggest issue you can gain traction is on the economy, don’t waste time getting into the weeds about the fed fund rate. Keep it simple.
When we make things complex, we hurt our focus. A shoe business selling jeans has just had to find a new supplier. They have to pay someone to add items on their website. They have to clear space in their store. They spend additional funds on advertising. An organization that divides its attention away from its core focus won’t likely be able to either and will confuse donors and volunteers. A political candidate that doesn’t stay focused will get lost in the crowded primary.
By keeping things simple, we reduce our efforts and resource costs. We focus our attention on connecting with the people we need to be successful. When we tell someone what we do, we stay at the front of people’s minds. By trying to do too much to increase revenues or our impact, we get lost with every other business, organization, or candidate. We don’t differentiate ourselves and we fail to connect.
What one thing can you do today to simplify your message so you can connect?