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I’m currently reading the Heath brothers book called Made to Stick. It’s an amazing book about understanding how any sender can make their idea resonate with an audience. Last night I got stuck on an example that Chip and Dan use to illustrate their concept that a sticky idea contains 6 key elements -otherwise known The SUCCESs principle

• Simple – the core of your idea
• Unexpected – create mystery, highlight a knowledge gap
• Concrete – Velcro Theory of memory – the more hooks the better
• Credible – use authorities, vivid details and humanize stats
• Emotional – emphasize the benefits & get people to visualize
• Stories – are effectively simulations and can inspire

The Example

“Stephen Covey, in his book The 8th Habit, decribes a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries. He reports the poll’s findings:

* Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why
* Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals
* Only one in five said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals
* Only 15 percent felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals
* Only 20 percent fully trusted the organization they work for

Then, Covey superimposes a very human metaphor over the statistics. He says, “If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.”

Why this Works

Here is my understanding of the SUCCESs principles in action from Stephen Covey’s example above

1. Simple – a kids soccer team isn’t difficult to imagine. We see them all the time at parks around every city

2. Unexpected – only 4 of 11 players would know their own goal? It seems impossible that the majority of players on each team don’t even know which way they are supposed to go.

3. Concrete – 11 players are easy to understand and visualize.

4. Credible – surveyed 23,000 people. That’s a lot of people and a lot of data to crunch. Plus, Stephen Covey has his own authority on the subject of organizational performance because of his previous publications.

5. Emotional – kids are generally an emotional topic. If you have them, you may be smiling right now while thinking of your kids playing soccer.

6. Stories – Many parents can relate this data to their own life and watching their kids play sports. Have you ever seen a kid run the wrong way? Have you ever watched your kids team swarm around the ball? The soccer analogy humanizes the data and makes it personal.

Do you have any other examples of ideas that stick? What commercials do you think stick with you? Can you see the SUCCESs principles in the commercials you like?

Other Resources

Visit the Chip brothers website

Watch an interview on YouTube

  • http://www.reasontwo.com/ Jay Leishman

    Wow. What a review. Great job Marc. 

  • http://www.reasontwo.com/ Jay Leishman

    Also I was forced to read it in University and quickly learned to love it. Need to get it out again!

    • http://blog.marcbinkley.ca Marc Binkley

      Thanks for reading the post Jay! There is some awesome content in that book. What did you take at university that you had to read it?

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