The last keynote of the conference on the last day and it is once again moderated by … … you guessed it Kevin Ryan and features Dan Heath co-author, with his brother Chip, of Made to Stick – Why Some Idea Survive and Others Die.
From the Made to Stick site;
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.”
It’s a great book and I am looking forward to the keynote.
Dan starts off the talk with examples of urban legends such as the Great Wall of China being the only man made object viewable from space. Another one is that you have to drink 8 glasses of water a day, you don’t. You need to consume up to 8 glasses but you get most of it from foods such as fruit. He also sites the ludicrous example of the KFC story that they had to change their name to KFC because their chicken isn’t actually chicken. I still laugh whenever someone repeats that to me.
What’s the point of all this? These are all ideas that stick
Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, written 2500 years ago is still being told to this day. Many, many things were written 2500 things ago yet this idea has stuck.
So why do ideas stick? The Heath brothers have found 6 key factors for sticky ideas and that they must have the following;
Dan breaks down a couple of those points;
On Decision Paralysis Heath is making that case that if a user is given too many options their ability to make a good decision is greatly reduced. This brings up the need for landing pages and having a product or service as a champion of that page. If you have thousands of products then pick a category and champion that on a page. Never put too many things on one page and expect that your site visitors will want to sift through all of your products when they only want one.
Noting Pandora.com(damn you RIAA) Heath points out the ease of use that Pandora has. When you get to the site all they ask is a song or artist and then they tailor a radio station that fits that song or artist. This is done by the Music Genome Project which has broken songs down into identifiable markers.
Heath states that you need to be simple in creating an idea, don’t be complex. Your idea must be easy to understand and when it comes to slogans he notes Quebec city and their idea of being ‘France without the attitude.’
Your message must create an emotional spark inside a user. Effective campaigns can elicit an emotional response but not get on their nerves. The correct emotional response should make people feel prideful when talking about it. Don’t Mess With Texas is one such campaign. Texan’s(I know, I live there) are extremely proud of being from Texas and if someone ever messed with it you would git yer ass whupped. Their original flag said ‘Come and Take It’ on it so this campaign was extremely effective; in 5 years litter was down 73%.
The state didn’t use scare tactics by threatening to triple fines for littering instead it tapped into the very root of every Texan’s pride and turned them into littering vigilantes. If you littered in Texas then you weren’t a real Texan and in Texas it has always been Texas first, America second.
The campaign is shear brilliance and when studied makes you bang your head and think ‘Man, I wish I thought of that’
You need to get people off the fence and siting examples of profiles from Match.com and the lack of message in their profile headlines. Some use simple ones like ‘Hey…’ and others have used more complete ones such as ‘Athletic math nerd seeks someone to hum Seinfeld intro with.’ The latter states who they are and what they like.
Another example shows vertical profile listings with short headlines. One in particular states; "The guy above me is married and the guy below me is a stalker." This is someone who knows the game of Match.com and knows how to draw attention to themselves.
Set yourself apart but do it differently than the competition. Of course, this is a very tricky thing but research can help you choose the right campaign.
One key element in a lot good sticky messages have been the Positive-Negative such as Don’t Mess With Texas or a company in Australia that stated "We don’t want to be first and we don’t want to be third." There are other examples of this type of positive-negative themes but it is basically positioning yourself against the competition.