Last week I read a post from Jay Baer (in his excellent blog, Convince and Convert) where he introduced something he called The Law of Boundless Brevity.
The Law of Boundless Brevity holds that over time, our communications will become ever truncated, shortened, distilled, condensed. Take written works, for example. Over the last hundred years or so, we’ve gone from really, really, really long books (The Iliad, after all, is a POEM), to short books, to reader’s-Digest-style summaries on web sites like www.sparknotes.com. On PBS Frontline’s “Digital Nation” a few weeks ago, college students were actually boasting that they haven’t read a “real” book in years.
Take also personal communication. We’ve gone from lengthy, hand-written letters, to postcards, to emails, to shorter emails, to texts, to 140-character tweets written to no one in particular.
Even phone calls are truncated. How many 60 minute calls have you made in the last year? Rather than talking to people, we feel more comfortable leaving a voicemail. Many of us would actually prefer not to use our phones for voice calls.
The Law of Boundless Brevity has affected the way we consume media as well. TV news segments are much shorter, as are newspaper stories. What used to be told in a well-crafted press release can now be covered in a few bullet points on Pitch Engine.
Thoughtful argument has given way to the bumper sticker. It is rumored that Sir Richard Branson only accepts venture capital requests via 140-character tweets.
So what does this “fast food communication style” mean to marketers? Other than the obvious necessity for brevity and uber simplicity, it also speaks to the need of finding ways to communicate beyond the obvious marketing channels. How can you communicate your values without having to “say” anything? These days, demonstration trumps declaration.
Think about how your values can be communicated through package design? Through the choice of music and voiceover on your commercials? Through the color palate and graphics of your web site? Through the tone of your communications—not so much what you say but the voice you say it in. All of these less-literal elements contribute mightily to the perceived image of your brand.
A great example of this is BMW. For decades, the “intangibles” of the automaker’s campaign helped form a position that no individual communication could hope to do.
Posted by Mickey