Tag Archives: made to stick

Above the Influences

26 May

http://www.thefreshscent.com/wp-content/post_imgs/0207/ati.jpgCredibility is another important factor when creating a “sticky” message. A story with details is more believable than a story without. Chapter four of Made To Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, explains that “concrete details don’t just lend credibility to the authorities who provide them; they lend credibility to the idea itself.”

When stories are absent of details it leaves the audience with unanswered questions. A prime example of this is with the “Above the Influence” public service announcements. The two psa’s that stand out for this are “The Conversation” and “Sent.” Both psa’s feature a young adults on their cell phones talking to their friend about the other night. Each person is shocked to find out about their behavior from their friend.

The audience never is told what happened the night before or why the young adult cannot remember about their own behavior.

Now, I understand that these commercials leave out details to get people thinking but leaving things up for interpretation can get the message confused. A message without details is at risk of not being communicated. After viewing these psa’s, the audience may think that perhaps the young adults were absent minded or maybe they just fell and bumped their head that night. If this is so, then the message is completely lost.

Why not get straight to the point? The issue of teenage drug abuse is very important and needs to be clearly communicated, don’t you think?

Abstract Messages

26 May

http://www.art.net/studios/mjansen/images/gallery/Dsc00543.jpgAbstract art uses shapes and colors to represent a message. The painting, shown left, resembles a face, however, we cannot determine whether the face is of a man or a woman.

Messages can also sometimes be abstract. Chapter three of Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, explains how concrete language is important to creating a sticky message. A message must be clear and easy to understand for people to remember it. Being able to glance over a message and quickly understand the point ables the concept of “stickiness.”

As I was going over some fashion Web sites I stumbled upon a message that uses abstract language. It’s hard to be creative with language when communicating a message and this is why “concrete” language is important. Fashion.net uses abstract language that connects to a link:

“You’ve found where the industry insider holds court over the who’s who in fashion. Get clued in with all the news that’s fit to hint.”

After reading this, could you have guessed it was talking about a link to a fashion magazine? The phrase “fit to hint” is not easily understood and is definitely not some

This whole message was a hyper link that took you to Hint Fashion Magazine. Now, I understand that Fashion.net was trying to be clever and creative but I had no idea what I was getting myself into once I clicked my mouse.

I propose to improve this message: “Hint Fashion Magazine. Looking for the latest fashion news and trends? Get the Hint.” This would be concrete and still clever.

Woo, Stick or Tip

14 May

“Woo,” “Stick” and “Tip” are all words used to describe successful pitching. There are many great how-to books on ways to win over an audience. As public relations practitioners, we are constantly trying to find the best way to communicate key messages. Tiffany Derville mentioned in my Advanced PR Writing class that being able to express your key message is crucial to public relations.

The Art of Woo, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, discusses how to use strategic persuasion to sell ideas. “Woo” is a fun way of describing the act of winning someone over. I enjoy that the authors give specific steps on how “woo” works. Step one is to survey your situation, which reminds me of a situation analysis section of a public relations plan. Step two is to confront the barriers, which then reminds me of a problem statement. Step three and four discuss how to make your pitch and secure your commitments.

Made to Stick, which we are reading in my Advanced PR Writing class by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, explores the sustainability of message and ideas. This book is a wonderful compliment to The Art of Woo because it gives the reader tools to keep an idea constantly communicated and explains why other ideas “die.” Made to Stick breaks stickiness down into six principles; the first two are my favorite. Principle one is simplicity. A message needs to be easy to remember by the audience. Principle two is unexpectedness, which is my personal favorite. When someone is taken by surprised they listen. Even a pleasant surprise, rather than shock value, is still “unexpectedness.”

Selling ideas with strategic persuasion and making them stick is all proven in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He shares stories of ideas and products that have been able to “tip” into our lives and create moment for change. I’ve actually never “read” this book, however, I have listened to it on tape. During my drive to Seattle, Wash., I could picture all of the “tipping points” that Gladwell describes in his book. The Hush Puppies story is my personal favorite and I encourage everyone to read or listen to this entertaining and educating book.

So whether you are “tipping,” “wooing” or “sticking,” remember to always keep your audience and key message in mind.