Are we seeing a new trend? Authenticity, transparency and simplicity are by no means new words in the communicator’s lexicon, but they certainly seem to be cropping up more and more in articles, blog posts and in recent projects.
Ultimately, in the brand and engagement space I operate in, it’s all about organisational culture (“The way we do things round here,”) and how that feeds into a company’s reputation among its key stakeholder publics – employees, customers, investors.
I don’t know how many companies have asked themselves Solitaire Townsend’s million-dollar question, but it would seem that more and more businesses are cottoning on to the fact that behaving responsibly and sustainably is critical to their long-term prosperity; and, in turn, that authenticity, transparency and simplicity are key to establishing a believable commitment.
In tune with the rhetorical “Rule of Three”, the concepts are clearly interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Authenticity (something I like to define as “undisputed credibility”) is impossible without transparency; likewise transparency is impossible without simplicity.
And if anyone should doubt that simplicity is the, “supreme excellence,” as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called it, reflect on this: complexity caused the recession.
How? For an accessible account of how the rise of mind-numbingly complex securities led to the fall of the banks, just check out the first programme in Evan Davis’ excellent City Uncovered series on the Beeb.
Why? Because complexity can be profitable. Because it provides a position for interpreters of that complexity. Because the easiest way to appear superior is to pretend to understand what others can’t. And because actively pursuing simplicity is actually bloody hard!
As one of my favourite quotes puts it so eloquently:
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”