Stickiness

Some of us are reading through  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. There is something sticky about the book.

It could be the embossed image of duct tape on the cover. At Borders, the sales associate picked up the book and immediately rubbed at the cover, afraid that this was a damaged book. I would have taken a discount, but it wasn’t damaged…and I did have a 25% off coupon with my Border’s reward card.

What I really think, though, is that this book is great for stimulating word of mouth marketing.

  • There are great stories.
  • There are basic yet powerful concepts.
  • It is a quick read.
  • The authors, because of their experience in teaching, training, researching, and consulting, have a style that is engaging and thoughtful.
  • It helps ME think of examples in what I already know and what I know I could do better.

The core of the book is a list of six principles that make ideas sticky, that is, make ideas memorable across cultures and across epochs. (I know, big word for time,. But the authors use Aesop’s fables as examples, stories which have had great stickiness. Think “the fox and the grapes”).

I’m halfway through and so I’ll only mention the three I know.

Ideas that stick are Simple, Unexpected and Concrete (they will also be Credible, Emotion, and Story).

Here’s an example that I’m working through to see if it tracks.

Jesus sits down to eat with some of his students. It’s going to be the last time he eats with them and so he wants to give them something to remind them of him. He picks up a piece of the flatbread that is already on the table and holds it up and says, “This is my body.” He picks up a cup of wine and says, “This is my blood”.

And those two symbols have had stickiness throughout the church ever since.

Part of the reason is the fact that Jesus said, “Do this to remember me.” But part of the reason is that the two elements and the story are incredibly simple. Although we write pages and pages about what they MEAN, they ARE simple.

They are unexpected. I mean, who at dinner takes a piece of bread and says, “This is my body.”? It’s very surprise helps it stick (and gives the Romans reason to spread rumors about cannibalism!). It is incredibly concrete.

I’ll be back when I finish reading. But so far, it’s worth it. Thanks for the tip Chris.

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One response to “Stickiness

  1. http://blog.guykawasaki.com/

    A great writeup there – the book has some excellent ideas… too bad the nearest Borders is several thousand miles from me.