Ever wonder if your customers extract any meaning from your brochures, your web site, your information or training materials? A lot of what I see is so filled with marketing-speak that people have trouble obtaining the meaning.
By way of contrast, check out these wonderfully simple presentations about new communication technology, produced by CommonCraft. All short, all entertaining, all communicate brilliantly. (And if you are one of the people who has asked me to explain RSS to you, this will be better than anything I ever said.)
While the production method is fresh and engagingly human, I'm not suggesting you just copy this approach. I am suggesting that you test the clarity of your materials against something like this, and try to shift to the plain and simple end of the spectrum wherever you can.
I test brochures and such in research from time to time, and what I notice most is that walls of text are not very engaging for people, no matter what the topic is. Even when they are being paid to read something, you'd be surprised how little time and attention even the best brochure can attract. Imagine how this changes in the day of a normal person's life, where there is a river of information flowing by every second.
By keeping your message simple, you make the experience better. Note how similar this diagram is to IKEA assembly instructions, or some of the explanations in BestBuy stores? Both are companies known for delivering a highly consistent standard for customer experience, and incidentally, being pretty successful while they do it.
You also have to choose between making your customer feel informed, versus making the brand look pretty. Even better, reach for both.
Thanks to the CommonSensePR blog for this.