One of the biggest problems for PR programs is that they are over complicated. There’s a principle, associated with noted aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson, that says, ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ – KISS for short. It is something that the PR industry at large either hasn’t come across or doesn’t think applies to the relationships they have with customers, or the work that they do for them.
Over complication in PR, marketing and publicity risks failing to communicate effectively with an audience. I’ll be covering this topic in more detail in the coming weeks, but here is a short piece to get us started.
If you haven’t already read it, I’d also recommend picking up a copy of a book called Insanely Simple, written by former Apple ad ‘guy’ Ken Segall. It’s a great source to turn to when things are starting to get too complicated in your business.
I’ve just finished reading ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs‘… again! This will make those who know me well smile. Why? Because over the years his name has cropped up in conversations about press releases, articles, marketing and messaging… product positioning, brand strategy… you get the picture.
If you’re in the PR or marketing industry – or even in sales – I’d thoroughly recommend that you read it. Then read it again, and again, and again. When Steve passed away last year just about every accolade was used to describe him: a once in a lifetime thinker, a technology visionary, a master of innovation. an expert communicator. The one that was often overlooked was best product marketer/manager. That’s not to suggest he wasn’t all of the other things, but his product marketing and management skills were, I believe, the key to Apple’s renaissance.
PRs and marketeers, product managers and sales guys are – particularly in the technology space that has been the place I call home for the last 12 years – often guilty of over-complication. We get caught up in the minutia of a product rather than focusing on what makes it different or interesting to an audience, which makes press releases long and overly complex. [I know I’ve been guilty of a never-ending sentence or two at times!]
The ‘Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’ isn’t so much about the delivery of a presentation – it’s about everything that goes into the creation of an effective presentation. It’s a lesson in how to communicate effectively. It’s about stripping away the unnecessary information and ensuring that your audience takes away from a presentation, or press release, or piece of marketing collateral, the two or three things that you want them to. The two or three things that will increase the chances of a journalist wanting to write about your company or of a prospect becoming a customer.
To use a ‘Steve-ism’, it’s an insanely great book and I’m going to make it a welcome gift for all of my clients.