Fact: Today’s buyers have limited attention spans.

The internet, on-demand content, texting, social media, mobile apps and other advancements have fundamentally changed the way we consume and connect with stories and content. More specifically, these things have rewired our brains. Creating the need for buyers to rapidly turn on and off streams of thought, filter information and at the end of the day decide what they will and will not allocate their precious time and attention to.

In fact, researchers in Canada studied the brain activity of 2,000 people and discovered that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, about the time the mobile revolution started, to 8 seconds today.

What does all of this mean? Well, for those of us responsible for developing and delivering a clear, compelling and consistent corporate story — our jobs just got a whole lot harder.

That’s why CMOs, CEOs and business leaders must simplify.

The essence of simplicity is that less is more. Given today’s buyer mindset, we have to be sharing fewer messages … more frequently. More importantly, every aspect of your story must be rooted in a simple, consistent and foundational concept.

In the marketing world this is often referred to as your core positioning or brand promise. But we believe you need to take it a step further.

Remember … your buyers have an 8-second attention span.  

They engage with you in … micro-moments.

So, I am challenging you to distill your story down to just ONE WORD.

That’s right. One word that crystallizes what you want your buyer to take away from the limited attention span they are willing to give you and the micro-moments that you share together throughout the buyer journey.

This one word becomes the cornerstone for your entire story. Your entire customer experience.

Gallup Research found the most successful companies determine what they stand for and how they separate themselves in the marketplace. This foundational concept then drives every interaction between employees, customers and partners. Without it, your story and customer experience fall apart.

Think of the brands that you recognize. The brands that you instinctively know what they stand for. They simplify. They stay true to a singular message.

These companies also weave that singular message into the fabric of everything they do. Into the employee experience. Into the customer experience. Every dimension of their business is anchored in a single, simple concept and their story reinforces that at every touchpoint.

No one in these organizations even has to think. They instinctively know the cornerstone of the story and have the ability to bring it to life consistently in everyday communication and conversations. That’s the power of one word.

For example, Southwest Airlines’ story is all about friendliness.

The Progressive Insurance story is about price. Offering lower rates than its competitors.

Apple’s story has always been about experience. Delivering an empowering user experience.

For these companies, their stories are more than just words on paper. They are the foundation of their entire employee and customer experience.

Take a minute — think about your brand, your culture, what makes you different. Can you distill that down to one word?

Is that concept omni-present in the story you share — across all content, devices and channels?

If you are like most companies — it isn’t.

Now imagine if you had that “one word” and it drove every dimension of your business.

Not just your marketing message — but your strategy, employee experience, digital buying journey, sales approach, post-purchase experience, etc.

Think about how clearly you would stand out in the minds of your buyers. How much easier it would be for them to understand why they should work with you versus the competition.

And … just how much more engaging and memorable your story would actually be.