To declutter is to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications.
Clutter is the biggest marketing challenge of the 21st Century. If I were to write a book on marketing, I’d title it Declutter. This is because we live in a noisy world. Everyone is trying to be heard. Brands (corporate and individuals) are all trying to make sense and communicate to their audience. Let me quote a section in Marty Neumeier’s book titled Meta Skills (a must-read for anyone serious about competing in our robotic future).
“The world’s ability to store, communicate and compute information has grown at annual rates of at least 23% since 1986. The total amount of digital information is now increasing tenfold every five years. A total of five exabytes of data existed in 2003. Today, the world is generating the same amount every two days. If we could put this data on CD-ROMS and pile them up, the stack would extend beyond the moon. The amount of information in existence is around 1.27 Zettabytes, or 1,000 exabytes, each of which is equivalent to 4 billion books.” Talk of clutter. If the statement by Marty is less staggering consider what Jay Walter Smith (A media practitioner) said in a CBS article. He said “we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today. It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers nowadays is to cover every blank space with some kind of brand logo or a promotion or an advertisement,”. A worrisome closure on our obsession to communicate. I don’t want to go into issues like over-engineered products and other variants of the noise typology. Its all same. Its simply noise!
Let me be quick to say like Jay Walter Smith concluded in that article that I am not anti-advertising. I am a graduate of Orange Academy; Africa’s premier school of Branding and Marketing where I was taught a fair share of the alchemy of advertising and how to combine logic plus magic. In Orange, the magic lies in storytelling. My bone of contention here is that, unbridled advertising is not the answer to the challenge that brands face today. My challenge is for marketers, designers and others responsible for communication to get off their unflinching obsession. I believe that to truly and really stand out of the pack in other words, Differentiate, brands must learn to do less. Yes! Less is more. Eliminate clutter. De-clutter!
I hope I have been able to establish the reason(s) why eliminating clutter is such an imperative. Nevertheless, I feel I should infact state unequivocally that this (declutter) is the singular most important factor in the pursuit of enterprise success. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. The image in this post is an example of how a print newspaper (New York Times Sports) somewhat achieved recently optimal communication. I doubt if they themselves see the power beneath this seemingly random act. From all indications, it seems that it was an experiment. I make bold to say however, that this is the future. It is what brands that desire to succeed in a saturated world like ours must do.
Image Credit: Google