How to Create Sticky Messages

Make your messages as sticky as this and you’ll be golden.

What do cinnamon buns have to do with social media? They’re sticky.

Chip and Dan Heath wrote a great book called “Made to Stick” that pulls together research and real world experiences to explain what sticky messages are and how to create them. They stole the term “sticky message” from a Malcolm Gladwell book called “The Tipping Point“. Gladwell has also written some other cool and interesting books and if you are interested in why people do the things they do you should read Gladwell and the Heath brothers.

So, what the heck is a sticky message and why should you care about them? If you are thinking about using social media, or any media for that matter, as a way to enhance your business then you are going to be delivering messages to your target market. Doesn’t it make sense to make those messages as effective as possible? Let’s dig in a bit.

Sticky messages follow the Heath brothers’ SUCCESs formula:

1. Simple – focus on the real core of your message and use analogies or stories whenever possible.

2. Unexpected – Violate people’s expectations to get their attention. This is a subtle thing to do properly and if done improperly it can be unsettling, but before your message can stick in someone’s mind they first have to want to know about it.

3. Concrete – Paint a mental picture. Try to hook in to multiple types of your audience’s senses (i.e. visual, auditory, tactile, etc.).

4. Credible – you can get credibility from many places: authorities, anti-authorities, statistics, etc. Credibility helps people buy in to your messages.

5. Emotional – People care about people, not statistics. Always remember that everyone is tuned in to a radio station called WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).

6. Stories – Stories let people simulate things in their mind. They can help people better understand the context of your message.

Following these simple principles helps ensure that the messages you create “stick” with people. That’s what we do for our clients. We ensure that their messages in social media get out to the right audience and they stick.

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