When people talk about creativity, they
say that it is about 'thinking out of the box', 'breaking the
rules', or 'being different'. And they are certainly right. Yet,
people often associate creativity with complex innovations,
technical or not. But is creativity necessarily the opposite of
simplicity? In this post, I want to draw readers' attention to how
marketers can be creative by taking things back to the 'simple'
Marketers often think that customers
perceive new lines of products or complex features on products as a
sign of creativity. And that such creativity is valued and results
in increased sales. But why always make things more complex? When
Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first things he
did was to simplify Apple's line of products. Actually, he only
kept four products, following a simple 2 x 2 matrix: user
(professional vs. consumer) and type of computer (desktop vs
portable). Brilliantly simple! Another interesting example of
simplicity in a product is a Swedish project called 'MuteWatch'.
The designers offered a watch so simple that it simply looks like a
bracelet. Touch the invisible display, and it lightens and shows
you what time it is. Even better, it shows the time when you turn
your wrist 90° to look at it.
Simplicity, as Charlie Chaplin put it, is
not a simple thing. Reinventing products creatively - and simply -
is often a real challenge, meaning trying to find ways to chase the
unnecessary, devoting a lot of thinking to finding what the essence
of the product is, and ways to bringing more value to customers by
doing less. Isn't it precisely what creativity is about?
the next time you want to be creative about your marketing
strategy, ask yourself what you could simplify in it, rather than
what you could add!