The simplicity of one

Three months ago I was driving in Atlanta near 14th street. I looked up at a bilboard. It was stark white and had only black letters that said, “Google Puppy Mills.” No images, no paragraphs, just three words. Right in the middle of Midtown’s suits, starbucks and skyscrapers — a simple message that beckons a call to action.

That was three months ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. And I don’t have a dog. Heck, I don’t even have a pet. It was something about the simplicty of message that cuts through the clutter and made me stop to think. I don’t have to Google the words “puppy mills” to create a horrifying image in my mind.

In our daily communications as business leaders, we tend to clutter our messages, cram too much information in, to paint with a big fat heavy paintbrush and not a fine-pointed Sharpie. And our message gets lost.

Traditionally we have been told to stick to three points. Why not a single point? A single image? A single word? If your main message does not fit on a Post-It note, you are probably saying too much.

I Googled “Puppy Mills.”  Believe me. You don’t want to. But you don’t have to. You got the message in just three words.