A common theme in the world of communication is ‘simplicity’. You know, making complicated stuff simpler so it’s more easily digested.
But, while simplicity is a prerequisite of effective communication, alone it’s not enough.
We’re not simply (there it is again) in the business of making things more easy to digest, after all.
Marcus Wareing doesn’t just fillet, scale and cook the reassuringly expensive halibut you ordered. He adds a sprinkle of magic (or maybe saffron) to make it not just digestible but downright delicious.
It’s the difference between a cook and a chef. Or a copy editor and a copywriter. Or even an average agency and a good agency.
Just to clarify my butter, the difference I’m talking about is the addition of an idea.
By which I mean the thing that unites and ignites whatever information you’re trying to convey. That changes a disparate set of messages into a logical, compelling story. That provokes interest rather than merely avoids disinterest.
It might be a memorable strapline. It might be a distinctive visual treatment. It might be a clever way of using the media. It might be an animal metaphor, a reference to an old 70s TV show, or a gorilla playing the drums.
Whatever it is, once you’ve got it, everything else falls into place.
Take my own day-to-day job: copywriting. It actually involves a surprisingly small amount of actual writing. Or, rather, writing copy takes up a disproportionately small amount of my time compared to sitting in a room talking in ever decreasing circles about the idea.
Because, once we’ve got the idea, the execution itself is relatively straightforward. Not easy. But more straightforward – in the same way that reaching the South Pole is more straightforward than reaching the South Pole without a compass.
Simple communication is good communication. But only an idea can make it great.