Book Review - Simplicity Marketing:
End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion.
Written by Stephen M. Cristol and Peter Sealey, The Free
Press, 2000, New York.
Reviewed By Paul Quinn, © 2003
. in the most developed economies of the
twenty-first century, the next generation of positioning
success will belong to those brands that relieve customer
stress. That means simplifying customers' lives or business
in ways that are inextricably tied to brand and product
positioning. It means becoming the customer's partner
in stress release."
- Page 2, Simplicity Marketing
This book is centred round the development of one valuable
concept - that of simplicity marketing. The problem is that
the book takes 272 pages to cover what could be perfectly
argued in a 5 page article. Fortunately for you, I've read
the book on your behalf and have summarised the key argument
Simplicity marketing is exactly as the name suggests -
a simplified approach to marketing your products and services
that breaks through the extreme cutter of competing messages.
Resent research by a prominent US advertising agency found
that we are exposed to between 500 and 2,000 logos, brands,
and trademarks every day. Simplicity marketing argues
that our capacity to comprehend this incredible volume of
advertising information has reached its peak. The marketing
solution, the book contends, is to position your brand on
its ability to make your customer's life easier:
"With simplicity marketing, choice and innovation
need not incrementally clutter the customer's mind but
can instead be positioned to de-clutter it.
customer demand for stress relief continues to grow, this
de-cluttering will translate into stronger sales, customer
loyalty, brand equity, and competitive advantage."
The book proposes a framework for achieving brand simplicity
that it calls the 4 Rs (Replace, Repackage, Reposition and
Replenish). The irony in my mind, is that for a book on
simplicity the framework is actually quite complicated.
Perhaps the best real life example the book cites of a
simplicity marketing approach is Apple's introduction of
the iMac computer. At a time when Microsoft were offering
a dizzying array of options and extras, the iMac's launch
advertising campaign reinforced the company's desire to
simplify the customer's decision making process with headlines
"Amazingly simple. Simply amazing."
"One decision. One box. One price."
"To everyone who thinks
computers are too complicated
In short, simplicity marketing is definitely a concept worthy
of consideration by the recruitment industry. With over
2,500 recruitment agencies operating in Australia alone,
it is crucial that your agency stands for something relevant
and easily understood by your customers. Too many recruitment
branding decisions are made from the perspective of 'what's
best for our company' as opposed to 'what's best for our
customers'. In thinking about your brand in this light,
and assessing your brand's ability to simplify your customer's
decision making process, you stand to gain a compelling
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