For more than half a century, marketers have bombarded customers with more and more choices in products and services. What is the result? Unprecedented anxiety. Our mental circuit breakers are on overload. In fact, pioneering brand strategists Steven M. Cristol and Peter Sealey assert that we have reached our manageable threshold for making decisions -- and a watershed in product proliferation. In this pathbreaking book, the authors argue with compelling evidence that the next generation of marketing successes will belong to those brands that simplify customers' lives or businesses in ways that are inextricably tied to brand and product positioning. They contend that if a brand is not reducing customer stress, it is creating it -- and it is vulnerable to losing market share to more customer-empathetic competitors.
Writing especially for product or brand managers who are struggling to simplify their portfolios, Cristol and Sealey have created a breakthrough framework that is itself a lesson in simplicity. After presenting two essential guideposts for managers to assess where their brand sits on the stress spectrum, the authors turn to the heart of Simplicity Marketing -- the 4 R's of simplification: Replace, Repackage, Reposition, and Replenish. Using scores of real-world company examples, Cristol and Sealey show how each of the 4 R's interacts with the others in powerful ways to relieve customer stress and how these strategies may be executed individually or in combination to build brand loyalty. Here for the first time are ten specific strategies to relieve customer stress through consolidating, aggregating, or integrating products and services, repositioning brands for more relevance to stress reduction, and decluttering customers' decision-making requirements. The final pages of this brilliant manifesto for a simplicity revolution provide a guide to managing simplicity strategies, leveraging information technology to simplify rather than complicate customers' lives, and integrating all the tools in the book into an executional blueprint.