Made to Stick, a novel by Chip & Dan Heath, is a great tool for public relations professionals looking for a way to make their ideas “stickier.” After reading this book for my 400-level Public Relations Strategic Writing class, I wanted to share with you the Heath Brother’s magic secret: the six key principles of sticky ideas. With these ideas in tow I have found that you can turn even the most bland idea into something people will remember.
Principle 1: Simplicity
The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.
Principle 2: Unexpectedness
We must generate interest and curiosity. We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge, and then filling those gaps.
Principle 3: Concreteness
We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. The ideas must be full of concrete images because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.
Principle 4: Credibility
How do we make people believe our ideas? Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves.
Principle 5: Emotions
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. The hard part, is finding the right emotion to harness.
Principle 6: Stories
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and efficiently.