Buyer Experience Design SYNG

Seeing Apple’s Genius: The Power of Simplified Language in Tech

I’ve recently immersed myself in Apple’s latest keynote, and the revelation hit me like a ton of bricks – the audacity of simplicity steals the show. 

It’s out there, blatantly audacious yet subtly brilliant, making me wonder – why don’t more tech giants embrace this apparent magic trick?

Apple has deciphered the code that eludes many – the art of conversing in a language devoid of tech jargon and peppered with everyday simplicity. In the digital chaos of gigabytes, terabytes, and yottabytes, Apple emerges as an oasis of simplicity, despite showcasing some of the most cutting-edge products on the planet.

Surprisingly others noticed too. Let’s take MKBHD’s video, for example. Marques offers a fascinating glimpse into Apple’s linguistic strategy. They’re selective about their vocabulary, never using buzzwords like “virtual reality” when introducing products like the Vision Pro headset. 

Their language is a calculated blend of branding control, competitor avoidance, and relatability. Apple’s preference for in-house terminology, such as “machine learning” over “AI,” underscores their commitment to a brand narrative that resonates with customers, not technocrats.

Apple rarely draws direct comparisons with competitors. They focus on individual progression, not the rat race. They name their features in a way that deters comparison (think “ProMotion” and “Touch ID”) and subtly sidestep detailed specs in favour of qualitative descriptions. 

Case in point? The Vision Pro headset, which, despite being a VR headset, was positioned more towards an augmented reality experience. This is Apple – masterfully controlling brand perception and steering clear of direct comparisons.

This brings me to Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, who recently highlighted Apple’s conscious choice to avoid the term “AI.” It’s a curious strategy for a company at the forefront of technological innovation that brilliantly aligns with Apple’s brand narrative. 

Terms like “AI” and “Metaverse” are mired in controversy and fear, eliciting images of rogue robots and rampant technology – a far cry from the safe, secure, and user-friendly image Apple has painstakingly built over the years.

Apple’s narrative is comforting, relatable, and, above all, plain. Their language is a symphony of simplicity, which, according to Hyder, should serve as a lesson to tech firms – the complexity of your technology should be inversely proportional to the simplicity of your narrative. After all, technology is a tool, and if the language describing it is daunting, it fails its purpose.

Folks in Web3, take note, please.

The art of simplicity isn’t about shunning complex terms but knowing when and where to use them. Apple knows its audience isn’t limited to tech nerds; it’s the everyday individual seeking to capture beautiful moments, listen to their favourite tunes, or even track their Netflix snack run.

So, they keep it simple and relatable – they promise ‘stunning photos’ instead of delving into camera specs and a ‘super fast’ phone rather than throwing around processor speeds.

Apple’s language strategy isn’t just about pleasing customers; it’s a carefully crafted brand positioning tool. They’ve consistently projected themselves as a consumer-friendly brand that prioritizes user experience. Remember the iconic 1984 Super Bowl ad? The message was clear – Apple is for the everyday person, a tool for liberation from the ‘Big Brother’ of complex technology.

Moreover, Apple’s simple language is a powerful perception management tool. It subtly shifts our view of their products from mere devices to tools for creativity, connectivity, fitness, and fun. They’re not just gadgets but an integral part of our lives.

So, while awaiting the next Apple keynote (and maybe a step-counting fridge), let’s celebrate the power of simple language and salute Apple for making technology speak human. Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that what innovation should be about? Making our lives more enjoyable, one ‘super-fast,’ ‘stunning-photo-taking,’ ‘revolutionary’ device at a time.

Historically speaking, keeping it simple is not an Apple strategy. Brands like IKEA and Google have also championed it. IKEA built its brand on the concept of making home furnishing simple and accessible, using everyday language to explain their products and instructions. 

Conversely, Google revolutionized the search engine landscape by offering a simple box with a promise: “Just type what you’re looking for.”

These brands, like Apple, have harnessed the power of simplicity. They understand that people often crave to feel understood and catered to in a world of increasing complexity. They want to avoid using a new language to use a product or service. They want an experience as simple as diving in and getting what they need.

So, whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by tech jargon, remember: there’s beauty in simplicity. The next significant innovation may be a return to plain, simple language. I, for one, would welcome it with open arms. And I bet a lot of you would, too.

Buyer Experience Design SYNG

How to sell anything without sounding like The Architect

Have you ever been in a presentation where buzzwords like “synergy,” “interchain,” and “paradigm shift” were used, leaving the audience confused? This common phenomenon, which I call “technobabble fever,” might make the speaker feel like The Architect (from The Matrix) but leaves listeners bored and wonderings what’s for lunch. These blunders can render communication ineffective and fail to create the desired impact. 

Don’t worry; I have a recipe to reinvigorate your pitch — whether you’re selling a multi-million dollar transformation or yourself. 

👉🏼 Words you use

DO LESS: Information Overkill and Jargon Jungle: A lethal combination that many fall prey to is the trifecta of using convoluted jargon, bombarding the audience with an avalanche of information, and taking the scenic route to the point. This perfect storm alienates your audience, buries your core message, and tests their waning attention spans.

DO MORE: Clarity Potion and Linguistic Compass: First, break down your message into simple, digestible morsels. Picture explaining it to a curious 5-year-old. Next, replace the cryptic jargon with everyday language – if your grandma wouldn’t get it, it’s too complex. Remember, your customer isn’t fluent in your internal lingo and acronyms – speak their dialect. Finally, take a direct path to your point, don’t dilly-dally through the woods. Imagine your words are the golden breadcrumbs leading your audience to the “so what” treasure. By simplifying your language and being succinct, you ensure your audience doesn’t get lost in translation and stays engaged in your treasure hunt.

👉🏼 Tune in

DO LESS: Lack of Audience Awareness: Not tailoring the message to the audience is a grave mistake. If you don’t consider what’s relevant to your audience, you’ll miss hitting the mark on why they should care.

DO MORE: Acute Audience Awareness: The first step is knowing your audience. And I don’t mean just knowing their names and job titles. It’s about understanding their motivations, desires, and pain points with the acuity of a detective solving a complex case. If you pitch renewable energy solutions to environmental enthusiasts, immerse yourself in their world, understand their language, and align your solution with their core values. Hide in their bushes to see if they drive an electric car, for example. Just kidding. 

👉🏼 Feel their pain

DO LESS: Neglecting the Emotional Connection: People often forget that emotions drive decision-making. A dry, facts-only presentation won’t resonate as effectively as one that ties facts to emotional benefits. Ardent procurement folks included.

DO MORE: The Elixir of Empathy: Empathy is the secret sauce that can elevate a pitch from mundane to magnetic. It’s about resonating with your audience’s emotions. For instance, don’t dwell on technical specifications if you’re marketing a coffee machine. Instead, transport your audience to the tranquil ambiance of a Sunday morning, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee enveloping them as they sip their perfect cup. This sensory journey is where connections are forged. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman should be your bible here. 

👉🏼 Start with the end in mind

DO LESS: Focusing on Features, Not Benefits: Many people tend to focus on features or processes instead of benefits or outcomes. This makes the audience question, “So what does this mean for me?”

DO MORE: Outcome Orientation: Features are mere facts; outcomes are transformations. Features inform, but outcomes inspire. If you’re pitching a scheduling app, don’t merely state that it integrates calendars. Instead, paint a picture of a life where double bookings are folklore and no cherished moments with loved ones are sacrificed at the altar of miscommunication.

👉🏼 Curiosity over conclusions

DO LESS: Jumping to conclusions: A common blunder people make regarding problem espionage is assuming they know it all. Instead of donning their detective hats and actively listening to uncover the client’s genuine concerns, they bulldoze ahead with presumptions. The art of staying curious and inquisitive is sacrificed at the altar of overconfidence. Michael Bungay Stanier, author of “The Coaching Habit,” nailed it when he said, “Tell less and ask more.” Instead of seeking to understand through attentive listening and probing questions, they plow through their pitch, oblivious to the client’s unique challenges.

Not having a pulse on what truly ails the client, their approach resembles more of a script readout than a tailored solution. It’s like claiming to know what ails a patient without letting them speak during the consultation. This disconnect undermines credibility and squanders the opportunity to genuinely resonate with the client and offer a solution that hits home.

DO MORE: With Them vs To Them: Taking a page from Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why,” the art of problem espionage is all about intimately understanding your customer’s pain points as if you’ve been a fly on the wall in their chaos-ridden offices. This deep dive into their woes helps you to spotlight why your product is the hero they need effectively. Use language that resonates with their daily struggles and articulate their challenges so vividly that they’d think you’ve read their diary.

You’re essentially telling them, “I’ve seen the monster under your bed, and here’s how we’re going to tame it.” By engaging in this level of empathetic storytelling, you’re not just throwing information at them; you’re weaving a narrative where your product emerges as the guardian, the shield against the mayhem caused by missed deadlines and communication mishaps. Through this, you foster a deeper connection, building trust and showing commitment to tailor-made solutions for the monsters they face daily. Your audience will realize you’re not just selling something – you’re answering their ‘Why’ with a solution forged from understanding and expertise.

👉🏼 Transformation stories

DO LESS: Lack of a Clear Value Proposition: Not articulating a product, service, or idea’s value is a significant mistake. The audience needs to understand what sets it apart and why it matters.

DO MORE: Elegant Evidence: Show, don’t just tell. Tangible proof is your currency of credibility. Provide evidence, but do it with panache. If you offer a language learning app, share the anecdote of a user who, through your app, learned impeccable Italian and navigated an authentic conversation with locals in Florence.

👉🏼 People buy from people

DO LESS: Neglecting the Emotional Connection: People often forget that emotions drive decision-making. A dry, facts-only presentation won’t resonate as effectively as one that ties facts to emotional benefits.

DO MORE: Infuse Personality: As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Inject your unique flair into the presentation. Your product is not a faceless entity but the brainchild of passion, innovation, and grit. Share stories, be relatable, and let your genuine enthusiasm shine through.

👉🏼 Create FOMO

DO LESS: No Call-to-Action: Failing to include a clear call-to-action leaves the audience with no clear next steps or understanding of what they should do with the information they’ve received.

DO MORE: A Riveting Call to Action: Be bold. Invite them to join a revolution. Make them feel like they’re enlisting in a grand journey to change the world. This is your curtain call; make it memorable. Craft a call to action akin to an invitation to an odyssey rather than a pedestrian concluding remark.

👉🏼 Practice, practice, practice.

DO LESS: The Unpolished Tale: Here’s where the magic of preparation meets the art of storytelling. Many folks underestimate the spell that practicing casts on their delivery. But here’s the twist: pair it with the alchemy of storytelling.

DO MORE: The Harmonious Dance of Logic and Emotion: The psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” discussed how decisions involve a delicate ballet of emotion and reason. Lead with an emotional hook, then parade the logic. For instance, don’t commence with security features if you’re presenting cloud storage solutions. Instead, conjure the vision of an eternal life unshackled by data worries, and then, when the hearts are alight, present the features as the enablers of this newfound freedom.

Finally, a compelling pitch is like a symphony, where notes of empathy, emotion, logic, and value coalesce into a harmonious crescendo that resonates with the audience. It is an artful tapestry woven with the threads of understanding and passion, charting a path for your audience to journey from what is to what could be.

Buyer Experience Design SYNG

The Gap Between “What You’re Selling” vs “What They’re Buying” is Empathy

You’re probably thinking, “I’ve got a phenomenal product or service. Why aren’t customers breaking down my doors?” 

Truthfully, when you’re waist-deep in the trenches of your product or service, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. You think, “Oh, my new Vision Brag 5000 has a 20% faster thingamabob and twice the storage capacity of the Meta 500!” 

Meanwhile, your customer is yawning and wondering what’s for lunch. My friends, the issue is a fixation on features and a lack of connection to what your customers actually care about. It’s a classic case of “can’t see the forest for the trees.” 

Human psychology dictates that we’re inherently focused on ourselves – our creations, our developments, our features. But your customer? They don’t care about you; they care about themselves. 

Shocking, I know!

The Apple Approach: Features, Benefits, Outcomes

Let’s take a stroll down Apple Lane. Their marketing prowess is legendary and for good reason.

Feature: “Our new iPhone has a cutting-edge 108-megapixel camera.” Benefit: “You can take incredibly clear and detailed photos.” Outcome: “Never miss capturing a precious moment with your loved ones. Relive your best memories in vivid detail.”

Do you see how it evolves? Apple doesn’t sell megapixels. They sell cherished memories, connection, and joy. Stop reading this and scan their website; you’ll find all three elements beautifully layered into the copy.

But what about Landing Pages, Pitch Decks, and Product Copy, you ask?

So how do you take this golden nugget of wisdom and apply it to your own marketing materials? Let’s break it down:

Landing Pages: Your landing page is like your storefront. It needs to grab attention. Don’t lead with features; lead with emotions and solutions.

  • Instead of “Our CRM has customizable fields,” try “Create a sales process so smooth, you’ll think you’re dreaming.”
  • Use visuals to tell the story. For instance, instead of saying “Our app saves you time,” show a before-and-after scenario with visuals.

Pitch Decks: Investors are a tough crowd. But guess what? They’re human too (allegedly). They’re not just buying into a business; they’re buying into a vision.

  • Don’t just list features or financial projections. Paint a picture of how your product changes lives or industries. Create a story they want to be a part of. Make it personal. Ever heard of Founder-Problem Fit?

Product Copy: Whether it’s a product description, an ad, or a social media post, this is your chance to speak directly to the customer’s heart.

  • Nix the jargon. Use language that resonates with your audience. Connect the dots from feature to benefit to a life-changing outcome. Make them feel something.

Now, consider the following:

The “So What” Test — When listing a feature, ask yourself, “So what?” This drill-down technique can be eye-opening. Apply it to see if your words connect with customer desires.

Address Objections Head-On — Understand common objections your customers might have and address them proactively. For example, if you know that price is a common objection, address it head-on: “Yes, our product is a premium option, and can you put a price on peace of mind and save precious time?”

Use Social Proof — Showcase logos of companies using your product, media mentions, and shout-outs. When people see that others are buying what you’re selling, they’ll be more inclined to jump on the bandwagon.

Keep it Simple, Silly! — The best marketing messages are often the simplest. Find your own “Just Do It” statement that resonates with your customers. Keep it front and center in all your marketing materials.

Finally, Empathy is the Key to Aligning Your Sales with Customer Desires. Listen to your customers. Understand their desires, their pain points, and their day-to-day lives. Only then can you communicate in a language that resonates with them? Now go on, empathize, and close that gap. Your customers (and your bottom line) will thank you.