#FridayReads – Keep It Simple by Joe Calloway


When Joe Calloway contacted me and said he was putting something in the mail to me, I waited in breathless anticipation because I knew if it was a book, it was going to be good. Joe, once again, did not disappoint with ‘Keep It Simple’.

In this week’s #FridayReads review, I am sharing three lessons I took away from the book which were most impactful and I feel would help many. When I say the book is small – you can easily read this on a one-hour flight, but be ready – you’re going to want to take notes!

“Clarity means knowing what is most important.” (Tweet it out!)

I think the word ‘clarity’ never gets its day of justice. When Calloway says this is most important, not only is he, of course, correct, but it’s the most missed step of many marketing strategies, which is the world I live in. When one can focus on what they really mean or they really want to do, clarity becomes the framework of any strategy.

One example which yells out to me is anyone who watches Jon Taffer on Bar Rescue. He’s loud, he’s gruff, he’s even vulgar, but if he has said it once, he’s said on every episode. He makes bar owners figure out what they do well and who they are. What do the clients think this particular establishment is about? When the bar owners can’t come up with this answer – Taffer’s role is to clarify their intent and turn them into a successful business simply by showcasing what is most important to that establishment.

Any business – I don’t care what you do – will do well when the real down and dirty is clarified. Stop with the wordy, nerdy mission statements. Tell me what you stand for in words I can get behind and support your brand.

“Resist the temptation to overthink things.” (Tweet it out!)

One of the things I have found true in social media marketing are folks who try and take on too many ideas or platforms or campaigns to tell a very simple story. They are overthinking the message they are trying to convey.

I’m sure we have all said to a few teenagers in our day to stop overanalyzing a break-up or what this friend said about that friend, yet we don’t follow our own advice on things which have to do with our business or unique value proposition. We gum it all up!

Calloway asks in the book, “What are the three most important things in your life, your work, or your business?” I can tell you right now to take a piece of paper out, write them down, and then take a red marker and slash it all up. Boiling it down to what you want to focus on is harder than it seems, but will make you more successful in the end. Do it! I dare you!

“Constant improvement is a requirement.” (Tweet it out!)

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook once said, “Done is better than perfect.” I spent a great deal of my life waiting for the perfect time, the perfect  work, the perfect client. What an incredible waste!

Had I adopted Sandberg’s message about getting something finished and then added Calloway’s suggestion about constantly improving on that work, I would have been much further along in the process rather than waiting  for something perfect which frankly, rarely happens.

His suggestion in ‘Keep It Simple’ of working to improve the basics of your business practice is spot on. Heeding this advice and being, “…so good at the basics that you’re cutting edge” is rich with wisdom.

Think about things which are simple and basic:

  • Keurig‘s brand promise is “One perfect cup of coffee.” That doesn’t say a carafe of coffee, just one cup of awesome joe.
  • Geico has “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Boom – you know what you’re getting right there, don’t ya?
  • Apple is “Think Different”…and they keep doing this each year.

In each of these examples, you see constant improvement toward a better service or offering. If you make the process kludgy it dilutes what you were trying to get after, which leads you back to point #1 about clarity.

ACTIONABLE EDUCATION:  Go get the book. There are excellent exercises within the few pages which make you stop and think about what your brand promise means. “Complicating our thoughts and words can take the heart out of them.” (Tweet that out, too!) Don’t let this happen to your brand!

Be bigger, better, and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s