Let’s do a thought experiment. You’re at an ice cream shop and you can only choose one flavour. Your options are: Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies and Cream, Strawberry, Coffee, Rum and Raisin, and Cheesecake. Which one do you pick? You might want Chocolate, but the flavour is too heavy for you right now, maybe Strawberry. That’s refreshing, right? Cheesecake sounds interesting, but should you stick to what you know or try something new? It’s hard, isn’t it?
Now, let's run this thought experiment again. You can still only pick one flavour, but your options are: Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry. Was it much easier this time?
This is what's called Analysis Paralysis a.k.a Choice Overload. It can occur with all kinds of problems, from simple to complex. Often when someone is faced with many choices, they make a poor choice or even no choice at all.
Analysis Paralysis is what’s killing your brand! It’s the loathed, stagnant cycle of unproductivity that prevents complex, yet necessary, decisions from being made that stall your brand’s progress.
There are so many times when it comes to making a decision that brands overthink what they have to do next. Whether it revolves around what your brand does in three words or articulating why your brand exists one sentence, the more people equals more ideas to choose from on the table. And while it helps to spend some time weighing up your options, inability to make a decision means you’re spending time not getting things done.
This has a knock-on effect for your brand. By spending a long time on one decision, you’re delaying the next task, which delays the next and so forth. The time lost means you’re left behind and your brand become less competitive. It’s what happens when you spend too much time analysing and thinking and overthinking. And that time spent overthinking your options is killing your brand.
How do we combat this overload of choice?
Sort your options. Do a process of elimination. Be ruthless.
Like the ice cream choices at the beginning, it’s so much easier to choose when there are three options rather than eight or nine. Cull the options that are vague or only half getting to the point – just keep the ones that are genuine and carry resonance. There’s no point in people pleasing when it comes to making crucial decisions surrounding your brand. Preserve your brand’s integrity and authenticity, instead of worrying about how many others will be satisfied with your decision.
But, the biggest strategy of all is to not overthink it. I’ll say it again. DON’T OVERTHINK IT. Here’s something that I do when I’m trying to make all kinds of decisions. I flip a coin. This isn’t because I will always make my decision based off of the coin flip. In fact, I often don’t. It’s because it’s a quick way to help me realise which choice I really wanted to make. By getting the result I secretly didn’t want rustles my gut instinct, making me realise what I could do without to understand what I do want.
Analysis Paralysis is a very real phenomenon for individuals and brands alike. It’s important to understand what it is, and when it’s happening, so you can take the reins and steer clear it. Because then you have the time and energy to concentrate on fearlessly driving your brand forward.