Monday, February 22, 2010

What the Flip can teach you about the power of a simple presentation

J's Super, Super 8 Video Camera
Image by jhmostyn via Flickr
Is your marketing campaign too complex? Maybe you think it needs to be. Maybe you're right. But sometimes all it takes is one new player in the market to change the game, and all that complexity falls away.

Take the consumer electronics and personal camcorders, for instance. My uncle's super 8 video camera from the 70s was pretty simple, yet looked rather intimidating. All I know is that I wasn't allowed to touch it. The first camcorder I purchased around 1990 had more buttons and dials than I could possibly master. And it seems that every year that passes requires at least one more bell or whistle to be added.

Enter the Flip, playing the role of game-changer to the market. Small, inexpensive and a built-in compulsion field. Hold the thing in your hand and you can't not start taking video. Yeah, it's that cool.

But not as cool as how it came to be. Business Week ran a story called Lessons in Simplicity from the Flip a few days ago. It's pertinent to anyone in business, and covers quite a few of the key points I like to harp on. Like the power of a simple, elegant presentation. Simon Fleming-Wood was responsible for convincing retailers to stock this new camera. A new camera that eschewed the standards of what modern video cameras should look like and what they should do. He states that...

... he spent 50% of his pitch on one very simple slide. He asked [retailers] to "reimagine" the category. The slide contains photos of two camcorders—a traditional video camera and the Flip. Under the traditional camcorder are the words: "Use this for special occasions." Under the Flip are the words: "Use this for everything else."


It's no secret I'm a fan of simple things. Hence, the name of this blog. I've been a reluctant marketer for over a decade and been in more battles with complexity than I care to imagine. Sometimes, things need to be complex. But much of the time, they don't. I'm reminded of that each time I pull out my Flip.

And while this story is ostensibly about a game changing product, it's more about a game changing approach. It takes guts to hinge your success on a single slide. It takes foresight to resist the temptation of shoving in more and more data to your presentations. Above all, it takes confidence in yourself, your knowledge, and your ability to convey your message in a way that will resonate with your audience.

Oh, and practice. :)

Your turn: How do you fight complexity in your presentations?

Doing a talk in Ignite or PechaKucha style will help. But not everyone can do that. Pass along your tips in the comments.

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1 comment:

  1. As any good presentation isn't much good without plenty of knowledge to hold it up, the ability to adjust on the fly if the situation changes and even outright moved when necessary, no Flip-like device is much good without a functional tripod like a gorillapod.

    In my attempt to become more minimalist, I've discovered it's DAMN hard to streamline, but completely worth it.

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