If you’re reading this post, you’re living in the extremely complex world of energy, conservation and/or sustainability. You’re working on Big, Complex Things all day long, and at some point you have to communicate with an intended audience about those things.
In our observation, that’s where the problem starts. We’ve worked with dozens and dozens of companies over the years who do wonderful things to make the world – and our environment – a better place. In fact, we haven’t met a client yet who had nothing worthwhile to say about their efforts related to conservation or social and environmental responsibility. The problem with most organizations we talk with is that they have so much to say, and they’re trying to say it all.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) had a similar problem. With powerful businesses, they’ve created a remarkably ingenious approach to effect real environmental change in the supply chain. But while the process is effective, it, like the supply chain it was designed to impact, is also extremely complex.
So we sat down with EDF and evaluated the multiple entry points and endless moving parts of businesses’ supply chains, and we developed a story strategy that would not only communicate the effectiveness of EDF’s process but also provide some basic educational information on how the supply chain as a whole works.
The result was a compelling narrative that boiled down to a mechanically simple concept: the lever.
This video lives in the context of a web landing page we also created to further tell the story with plain-speaking words and a highly interactive infographic. The look and feel of it all is meant to make it approachable, to help the reader/viewer open up to a complex idea vs. turning away right off the bat because it looks too hard (which is how many sustainability stories come across … lots of explanation, much scientific/engineering speak). The end result is an engaging story that allows the intended audiences to understand the genius of the process and thus utilize the various tools to effect real change.
Many great ideas go unrealized not because they themselves are flawed but because of a failure to communicate them in a simple and concise fashion that will cause people to engage. It’s been said that clear is the new clever, and that’s being proven more relevant by the day as we’re bombarded by even more media, more messages, more ways to connect.
Successful brands and products find a way to communicate the complexity of their offerings in the simplest terms possible. So when it comes to telling your story, remember that people don’t want to be impressed by how complex something is. They want to be wowed by how simply and powerfully it functions.