Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sticky sticky sticky

Title: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Authors: Chip Heath & Dan Health

"Any of us, with the right insight and the right message, can make an idea stick." (p.252)

This is a great marketing book all about how to create ideas that people will remember. The authors outline the six key ingredients of a sticky idea, explaining each with a few stories that help it stick in the minds of their readers. To be extremely sticky, an idea needs to be:

1. Simple - Find the core of the idea, the single most important point you are trying to communicate. Your audience can only remember so many things.

2. Unexpected - Surprise them to get their attention, then keep their attention by creating interest. Create a mystery. An example from Made to Stick tells of a book that started off with this story: For years, scientists at well-known institutions debated about what Saturn's rings were made of - dust (MIT), gas (Cambridge), or ice crystals (Cal Tech). Then, the story unfolded, until, much later in the book, the answer was given: ice-covered dust. Needless to say, the reader was enthralled as to how such renowned universities could have scientists who couldn't solve this problem. It's unexpected.

3. Concrete - It's far easier to remember concrete images and specifics than it is to remember an abstraction.

4. Credible - Be or use a credible source - e.g., people with personal experience. (Jared lost all that weight from eating Subway. He's credible - he personally experienced the weight loss). I can see this working in libraries: Provide a concrete example/quote/etc from a student whose research was made much easier by using a library database or by consulting a librarian.

5. Emotion - Make people care about the idea. Invoke self-interest. How will it affect them? What will it do for them?

6. Exemplified through stories - Stories are entertaining. Include them when you can. They make the idea more life-like. They can also provide inspiration which drives action.

You also have to be careful to avoid the Curse of Knowledge. Ideas that may seem simple to me, aren't to others. For example, to me, it's completely obvious that you should use a library database to search for articles. However, others are going, "What's a database? What if I want books?"

All in all, a great read for those interested in marketing.

[Note: This is also posted on Kat's personal blog because it is relevant to librarianship.]

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posted by Kate at 11:29 AM


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