by Kristin Brighton on March 29, 2012

No, I’m not referring to Gene Simmons’ theatrical rock band. I was referring to the old adage: Keep It Simple, Stupid. This is a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way over my career. As a big-idea person, I have a tendency to make things too complicated and detailed, so I have learned to test my ideas on others to streamline them. Experience has taught me that the best marketing and advertising messages are always simple, clear and concise. Getting complicated when selling ideas often turns people off.

This philosophy holds true for product and service development as well. While adding complexity might ultimately create a better product or user experience, in the end, people are busy. We have our hands full (literally and figuratively). We like compact products with names that are easy to remember, that don’t require instructions for use, that are simple to buy, and that we can easily tell our friends about (usually with a link on Facebook). While complexity might add some sophistication or distinction to your product or service, it can also create a situation in which your audience chooses not to invest the time to truly understand what you are selling.

Take, for example, this recent Powerade commercial I spotted during last weekend’s Elite Eight basketball game. It was taking a swipe at Gatorade’s G Series, a three-drink program for athletes (Prime, Perform, Recover).

View Powerade: The Time-out

With this commercial, Powerade made a smart jab its competition. While I personally don’t know which the better product for athletic conditioning, Powerade is striking back by saying that their product is easier to use. That’s an honest-to-goodness important selling point! Who wants to have to stop and think about which drink they are supposed to drink before, during and after the big game?

So, the next time your business is creating a new product or promotional campaign, developing a description of your services, or even writing a coupon, remember KISS. After all, we’ve got way too much information to keep track of these days. Don’t make things more difficult than they have to be. Less is more.

Let your competitor be the one who’s trying too hard.