The Power of Communication II – How More Is Often Less

The Power of Communication II – How More is Often Less

While this is funny, it is also a little sad.   Sad because it actually happens – and not just at Microsoft, but across the board in industry today.

In our striving to add more and make sure things are clear and understandable, we “muck up” stuff.  I’ve witnessed this type of “editing” many times in the work that we do.

The intent is always good.  Clients saying, “we need to add in the eligibility rules to the PPT” or “the graph isn’t to scale and can we add some arrows in to show how people should read it?” or “can we just put an earning example in here?”

However, in the end, what started out as a simple, memorable, and I would say engaging piece – ends up to be just another jumbled piece that doesn’t elicit any emotion or change any behavior.  We tend to put too much in and don’t leave enough out.  I understand that compensation communication (or other “important” communication) needs to have the details – I just think that they shouldn’t be on the box (or in most PPTs or overview documents).

This means that some of our communication pieces are the “packaging” – they grab our attention; they create a feeling or expectation.  Other communication needs to be the “set up instructions” – these are the simple how to use directions;  the easy to understand graphics that show you how to plug it in.  Finally you need the “warranty and trouble shooting information” – those legal parts that get into the nitty gritty; the details of how things work so that those few who really care can understand.

Watch this and laugh – but think about how it applies to you and your business communications.  How much do you try to cram in?  Is it too much?

I am a big believer in the motto – simpler is better.  I also believe that emotion is more memorable than logic.   So make sure that you don’t create a Microsoft package when you could make an Apple.

Have you ever had this happen to you?  Give a comment and let us know.




Unmotivated and staying that way


  1. Excellent post Kurt and I loved the video embed. Apple has nailed the consumer market with product, brand, packaging and emotional appeal. Microsoft, I believe does well in the enterprise space, but flounders and sputters in the consumer space.

    Less is more when the product is clear, well-established and understood by the market. Was the first generation iPod package as slick and tight as the current one? Honestly, I don’t know. It’d be fun to see.

    As consumers, don’t we “buy emotionally, and defend that purchase logically?” Apple understands this about us and has mastered it.

    At our company, we have been spending a lot of time recently trying to make sure we clearly convey the “value that we bring”. What is our “Value Add”? Do our customers understand and appreciate it? Do potential customers get it? More and more, we realize that we thought the answer to those questions was “Yes”, but now it’s becoming clear that “Maybe” or “Sometimes” or “No” is the right answer.

    Thanks again for the insightful and thought-provoking post.

    • thelanterngroup


      You nailed it – we tend to “buy emotionally and defend that purchase logically” – this is the same way people “buy-in” to programs or processes at work. However we often tend to think that we need to explain “logically” everything that is a “value” or “benefit” when we should instead be focused on the “emotional impact”

      Thanks for the great insight!

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