The Entrepreneurial Engineer

Friday, October 12, 2007

Made to stick

A couple of weeks ago, I heard Dan Heath present the title message from his book, co-authored with his brother Chip, Made to Stick. The book talks about sticky or viral messages that inherently get passed from person to person. Starting from urban legends, moving through direct mail and other forms of advertising, and continuing to more serious media and messages, the book lays down a sixfold decomposition of what it means to be sticky:

1. Simplicity
2. Unexpectedness
3. Concreteness
4. Credibility
5. Emotions
6. Stories

Individually, each of these things sounds reasonable, and I know that I use these ideas in my thinking, but the conscious combination of these elements is remarkably powerful.

I had been struggling with the writing of a sales letter before reading the book. After reading the book, I smacked my forehead, rewrote the letter, and it was incredibly more impactful. I don't yet know whether that particular letter worked, but don't stop for coffee, don't take a break, and go buy and read this book. You'll be glad you did.


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