As they bring up the lights, the credits roll in. You’ve witnessed an award winning performance and you leave the movie theatre captured by the art of story telling. Evaluating what has just happened is eclipsed by the moment. You head for a bar or a coffee shop and there’s no time to dwell on how you were impacted, moved , excited, horrified, inspired or disappointed by the art of cinema.

From an analysts viewpoint this is what I call the ‘distraction of the casual’. It’s life arriving to divert your inquisitive thoughts. It’s just what happens. Yet there are some who will dissect the experience and discover new things about life, business, the obvious and the not so obvious. People like me!

I treasure this time and selfishly demand it, because I’ve discovered in the analysis of every one of life’s performances there is so much to learn. I avoid casual distraction and that, sadly makes me a ‘party pooper’.

As a writer however, it gives me solid material, the width and depth of which cannot be measured. It teaches me much about the little things, the salad of existence, a cacophony of social sounds, a smorgasboard of behaviour. The things we never really analyse. Simple things!

So while we’re on the subject let’s take ‘Simplicity’ as an example. How do you make things simple – so simple that communication becomes silk and crisp? How can you reduce the complex, the chaotic, the calamitous into the roundness of the uncomplicated?

In a recent attempt to evoke change a friend of mine urged his personnel to utilise a different problem solving process. His efforts proved in vain until one morning he wrote on the white board

‘When did you last do something for the first time?’

One lazy sentence said it all. Simple! Sucinct! In your face.

Clever? Oh yes! Because ‘clever’ equates with simple. It takes real intelligence to make something that simple. In marketing we chase this inevitable, illusive gift everyday. It’s the thing that seperates us from other professions. Our job is to take the complex, detailed brief and deliver it in a single meaningful line.

And if you’ve ever stopped to ask why you pay hundreds of dollars for the privilage – now you know? Our profession creates simplicity out of what most clients deliberately make complex – after all is it not the ‘complex’ which helps to to make their product appear different? It’s the simple!
So simple isn’t that simple really.

Next time you attend a movie; a play; an opera; a performance, think about how it was made to look easy, think about how powerful “making it look simple” is and when they bring the lights up sit in your seat for a while and savour the brilliance of simplicity and silently applaude those who make it all look so very easy.