Ravi Balakrishnan
May 18, 2023

How ‘deep simplicity’ can make marketing more effective

Accenture Song’s Nick Law speaks about resolving the prevailing schism between the art and the math-led sides of the marketing with deep simplicity – an approach that brings the focus back to the consumer.

How ‘deep simplicity’ can make marketing more effective

In an increasingly complex world filled with non-linear paths to purchase, Nick Law creative chairperson at Accenture Song recommended “deep simplicity” as the most effective approach to reach consumers.

While the new tools in the digital era gave consumers more options than ever before, it also made purchase decisions far more complicated.

Law was clear that the traditional path to purchase built around a reverse pyramid of awareness, consideration and action was no longer relevant. He likened the current path to purchase to an onion — the bulging middle indicative indicating the plethora of choices that a consumer had in an internet-driven world. He said, “Rather than narrowing, the consideration set expands in different directions. This is middle bit needs a lot of simplifying.”

However, the marketing business was often ill-equipped to deal with this complexity and simplify the decision-making process. Law said, “Our industry is not shaped like an onion, but like an hourglass which is the opposite.” The reason for this was the divide between the art and math sides of the business. Law said, “At the top of the hourglass are the mature tribe of great storytellers who understand how to articulate a brand, but who are not very savvy about technology and media. At the bottom, is a new tribe of performance marketing who really understand modern media and technology but cannot tell simple stories. The top of the hourglass is trying to make us feel something and the bottom is trying to get us to act.”

Law believed that purchase decisions were made at the intersection of acting and feeling. He recommended starting at the middle and said, “We need to dignify the bottom of the funnel, with craft, clarity, and concept, and the top with a reason to buy.”

This was at the heart of the deep simplicity approach which evolved from an awareness of the complexity of marketing. Law said, “Really smart, systematic, technical people understand the shape of the problem, and then translate it into a simple, beautiful execution.”

Apple was among the companies that had been following this approach even before the media landscape reached its current levels of complexity. Law said, “The last brand ad that Apple did was ‘Think Different’ (1997) and the only reason was because when Steve Jops returned to Apple, they had no products. Every single ad since the iMac is a product ad. It is a heightened demonstration with a reason to buy something. (These ads) have built the most valuable brand in the world.”

Campaign Asia

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