Six Steps to a Sticky Message

I just finished reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting their message heard in this noisy, hyper-caffeinated, message messy world.

We are inundated with messages – as many as 3,000 a day according to some experts.  In this kind of environment, it is very difficult to make an impact with your target audience.  One way you can do that is by making your message memorable, or “sticky” as the Heaths and The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell recommend.

But creating sticky messages doesn’t come easy to many people.  And because creativity is involved, many believe that it cannot be effectively taught or learned.  Fortunately, the Heaths turn that notion on its head and have developed the following six principles for creating a more sticky message: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion and Stories (SUCCESs…get it?).

Fans of The Tipping Point will find a lot to like in Made to Stick.  Written in a breezy, engaging style it nonetheless includes real world examples that illustrate these six principles in action.  And like another of my favorite marketing and communications books, Influence by Robert Cialdini, it backs up many of its claims with data from psychological and other medical journals.

If you’re having a tough time getting your message heard, Made to Stick may be the right place to start.


10 Tips for Bonding with Customers, Clients and Members

Over the last year, I’ve become more interested in the psychology of decision-making.  In other words, (a) how do our basic psychological needs influence the decisions we make and (b) are there ways to adjust our communications and marketing strategies to take advantage of these needs.

The best book I’ve read on this subject is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.  In it, he identifies six “weapons of influence” that can be used to increase compliance with your requests.

These are extremely valuable weapons whether you are trying to convince someone to purchase your product or an convince an advocate to take action in support of your cause.

Brian Martin, the Founder and CEO of Brand Communications, expands that list to 10 in a recent issue of Advertising Age.  “Fortunately,” he writes, “when it comes to identifying what people want, we aren’t particularly complex. Direct your actions toward meeting as many as possible, and your brand will grow exponentially.”

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