Made to Stick written by the Heath Brothers attempts to explain as shown in the subtitle: Why Some Ideas Survive While Others Die. Another related and influential book is, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Dan and Chip simplified and compressed the answer from years of research and testing into the mnemonic SUCCESs. An easy to remember blueprint for creating ideas that stick.
Ideas have to be simple, something that can be easily grasped even though the action, being the idea might be complex. Facebook is a multi-billion dollar company with many many features that the average consumer does not use. To businesses, they market themselves as a business page or an advertising program. To the general public, they are just a social media sharing program. There is no need to complicate what they have achieved and try to shove it down to all consumers.
Another good example is the slogan of companies. British Airways is compacted into something people can latch onto and relate to easily – The world’s favorite airline.
Attention-grabbing or thought-provoking ideas, alert our subconscious and curiosity. Resulting in the need to find out more or make sense of the information we discovered. It is not about randomness and leaving your audience in kerfuffles, but to be just enough away from the norm to attract their attention momentarily. More of creating a ‘Huh’ then an ‘A-Ha’ moment.
Ideas that Stick need to be solid. Meaning they must be real. We define real by anything that appeals to our 5 senses. For example, don’t sell productivity sell the laptop, don’t sell fast charging sell the battery. Avoid abstractions, jargon and other such intangible ideas.
Ideas have to be believable both internally and externally credible; meaning they make sense and are supported by proof preferable by some authority. This can involve letting an audience try before they buy, or showing hard evidence to illustrate your point such as an extreme vision improvement when using glasses.
Humans are driven by emotions whether we like it or not. Ideas which invoke those emotions can have a lasting effect on the psyche. Focus your ideas on current issues. Show people what they can become not just the product or the benefits but the long-term effect on them. As quoted from John Caples:
First and foremost, try to get self-interest into every headline you write
Statistics may be dire, but stories inspire.
Sticky Ideas tend to be in story format, with a simple plot that can be followed and related to. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a story is worth more than a thousand facts and figures. Plus it gives your audience a base to start with. Remember Subways low-fat subs? They were only brought to life by Jared Fogle story who lost over 100lbs in 3 months on a Subway exclusive diet.
Made To Stick, is a good read for innovators and bright young creative minds looking to make their ideas stick. One of the biggest takeaways from the book is that we need to express information specific to our audience. If I created a computer and wish to sell it to you as a productivity device; would you be interested in how many miles of wire I managed to fit into the device? No! Only if you can watch videos on it and for how long.
Quotes for the Authors
“People tend to overuse any idea or concept that delivers an emotional kick.”
“A friend of a friend . . .” Have you ever noticed that our friends’ friends have much more interesting lives than our friends themselves?”
“Feature creep is an innocent process. An engineer looking at a prototype of a remote control might think to herself, “Hey, there’s some extra real estate here on the face of the control. And there’s some extra capacity on the chip. Rather than let it go to waste, what if we give people the ability to toggle between the Julian and Gregorian calendars?”
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