Ideas that Stick

Ideas that Stick

I recently read the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. After 10 years of researching which ideas stories “stuck” the two brothers found six principles woven throughout these ideas or stories. These principles can be easily remembered using the word SUCCESs.

  1. Simplicity
    • find a core idea and stick to it
    • uncertainty is paralyzing and leads to indecision
    • the best ideas are both simple and profound
  2. Unexpectedness
    • need to violate peoples expectations
    • must generate curiosity and interest
    • keep people engaged by opening knowledge gaps
  3. Concreteness
    • Tangible things are more easily understood than abstract concepts
    • Invoking mental images can solidify an idea
    • Physical senses and emotions are vital to memory formation and recall
  4. Credibility
    • Sticky ideas must be carried through their own credentials
    • We easily grasp hard numbers but this is the wrong approach
  5. Emotions
    • Get people to care about our ideas by making them feel something
    • We are wired to feel things for people, not abstractions
    • Hardest part is finding the right emotion to elicit
  6. Stories
    • Get people to act on our ideas through stories
    • Research shows mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better in the physical environment
    • Hearing stories is a mental flight simulator

An idea or story do not have to include all six of these principles to be stick, just as long as the idea uses two or three. An example of this is the success of the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” commercials. These commercials stuck with people because it was unexpected, extremely simply simple, and tells a story. The words “Dilly Dilly” have become commonplace in households and are often times even said without a Bud Light in sight.


About Author

Leanne Burgess

Leanne Burgess

UGA '19 Marketing Major with Digital Marketing Emphasis Sports Management Minor Entrepreneurship Certificate

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