model 3 interior dashboard head on

I recently read another piece on decluttering your home, as espoused by clear-out guru Marie Kondo. This got me thinking about how powerful it is when you declutter a brand.

To declutter a brand – and that’s one way I’d describe some of the work we often do at KISS – you have to start with the Why. Why did you start the company or develop the brand? (some would call this a purpose or a mission). A badly crafted ‘me-too’ statement is a waste of time, and we would challenge it, but a great one is galvanising.

We would then look carefully at what we call ‘Pain and Jobs’ – the things you do that remove pain and get necessary jobs done for your buyer. This is because most buyers are heavily motivated by this, not by glitz or sparkly new features. This feeds into the vital How and What statements and proof points, the research and hard facts that matter to your buyer and show you really can deliver.

This might seem obvious, but a decluttered one-page summary is important work: and by the way, it doesn’t just get us excited, we find the result works brilliantly to connect with your Board, partners and internal stakeholders. We’d probably also briefly describe your brand persona and exactly who your buyers are – what type of people are they? What motivates them, and how do they make decisions?

THEN we can look at your current marketing with real clarity, we get real about who you need to be in front of, and how. Then our creatives (and yours) will be fired up by a tight brief: exactly who you’re trying to reach, with what messages – trust me, they will be thrilled. Your agency can then work with you to find brilliant creative ways to reach them (and good ways to measure impact). Again, this seems obvious but without absolute clarity it’s too easy to go for the predictable or drown in a blizzard of possible channels and choices.

I really try to resist quoting Apple or Tesla but I have to mention how decluttering your brand strategy, and following that through all you do, should deliver a strong final product – and I predict your buyers will feel it, even if you deliver an intangible (as an example, try the joy of opening an account with Starling Bank. When I finally sat in a Tesla it was Apple-like in many ways – almost completely free of knobs and switches, no instrument panel, one giant screen and a tiny, unobtrusive gear lever. Their design obsession with clean lines, simple design and minimalism mean you get the ‘declutter’ feeling: simplicity and ease.

Frankly unless you declutter, it’s like driving around a new city without a map: we think we know where we want to go, we’re distracted, and it’s often easiest to follow the crowd. So: declutter! Get the Tesla feeling. As the writer Saima Mir found, it might help to apply Kondo principles to your workspaces too. We have to – or we risk building ‘bottom-up me-too’ marketing plans driven by assumptions, by imitating the competition or maybe by trying to please the boss.