Proud to Be Simple

The Beauty of a Rose

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated,” Confucius.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat,” Sun Tzu.

“Do nothing which is of no use,” Miyamoto Musashi.

“Simple is not easy,” Dan Heath.

Yesterday’s post on the four types social media strategy sparked a great Facebook debate about what is strategy. Some said social media is not a strategy, it’s a tactic, and others (like me) disagreed. In reality, it’s none of the above. You can have strategy with social media, with integrated communications, or with just traditional communications.

The definition of strategy remains simple. Citing the Oxford Dictionary, “A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” We as communicators overcomplicate the conversation about plans to get from A to B with discussions about tactics.

It’s no coincidence that many communications strategies — with or without social media — are often really justifications for existence or just tactics in disguise. Other plans have an overabundance of tactics in them so organizations can play with the latest shiny object. These “strategies” forsake their purpose, a plan to achieve an objective.

The simpler a plan is the more elegant it becomes in my eye. The best strategies are the ones that clearly win with the least amount of resource expenditure.

Consider the name of social media darling Charity: Water. Need not say more.

Successful simplicity requires a deft hand. It is the mark of the truly experienced craftsman. People should be proud to be simple.

The above is draft material for my next book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate (the follow up to Now Is Gone, which is almost out of print). Comments may be used in the final edition. You can download the first drafted chapter of the new edition — Welcome to the Fifth Estate — for free.