The Power of Persuasion

How do you make your marketing message stick in people's minds? It's important to make it sticky. Chip and Dan Heath describe a sticky concept as one that is comprehended, remembered, and causes some form of change in a person's attitude, behavior, or beliefs in their book "Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die." They looked at urban tales, commercial campaigns, and even proverbs to get a better understanding of what makes ideas stay.

They learned that being personable, having a lot of resources behind you, or even being a creative genius aren't prerequisites for making an idea stick. They discovered six characteristics that help ideas stay.

The following are some of these characteristics:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Story

The initial letters of each quality are the first six letters of the word SUCCESS, which will help you remember them. A marketing message must have a basic and relevant core theme in order to be effectively communicated (Simple).

It needs to compel people to pause and pay attention (Unexpected). It must be easy to comprehend and remember (Concrete). They must also agree or believe it (credible), be emotionally invested in it (emotional), and be able to see it (Story).

Make your marketing message as simple as possible

Finding the main message and conveying it in a clear manner is what simplicity is all about. The one critical piece you want to transmit is the fundamental message. "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy," as the old adage goes.

Assume you're attempting to devise a strategy for teaching a buddy to play chess on your behalf. It is hard to precisely foresee the opponent's reaction outside of the first one or two moves, and any strategy quickly becomes ineffective.

The "Commander's Intent" is a term used in the Army. To achieve a good conclusion, commanders in the field must adjust to the changing reality on the ground once the conflict starts.

Southwest Airlines' main slogan is that it is "the low-cost airline." This one central theme runs across all new concepts.

All decisions are simplified into simple options when this basic message is continually kept in mind. It's a go if the choice will save money. It's a no-go if it would raise expenses.

Why is it so difficult to uncover the main message? It's difficult because leaving behind concepts that are intriguing and significant to you but aren't the most crucial point you're attempting to transmit is unpleasant.

People suffer from analysis paralysis when they have too many options. They either don't make a decision or make poor choices.

As a result, emphasizing the most crucial component of the message is the first step in producing a sticky marketing message. After you've identified the primary message, the following step is to make it more succinct.

Try to convey your main point in as few words as feasible. What is the best way to condense your main message? Use analogies that draw on what the other person already understands.

The producer of the film "Alien," for example, had to simply state that his new film was "Jaws on a spaceship." Scriptwriters, directors, set designers, and others could use that basic and brief word to adapt what they recalled from "Jaws" to the new film "Alien."

As a result, when it came to set design, the producer didn't have to explain the inside of the spacecraft to the set designer since the set designer could readily recollect that the boat in Jaws was ancient, somewhat antiquated, had a lot of personality, and was generally unreliable. All of this was communicated via the simple comparison that "Alien" was "Jaws on a spaceship."

Unexpectedly deliver your marketing message

It's all about grabbing a person's attention with unexpectedness. You may pique someone's interest by shocking them with something that goes against their expectations. A person's surprise causes them to halt and gather additional information about the world around them.

Surprise captures a person's attention in the moment, but curiosity keeps it for longer.

So, how can you pique people's interest? Make a distinction between what a person knows and what he wants or believes he should know. These spaces give us discomfort, which makes us want to fill them up.

"Massacre in San Bernardino (unexpected) – details at 11:00 (curiosity)," for example. The title drew our attention and piqued our interest in learning more about the event.

Make your marketing message as concrete as possible

Marketing communications that stick provide a picture for the other party to see and experience. The Fables of Aesop are excellent instances of abstract moral principles being rendered real.

In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," for example, the abstract concept of "always tell the truth" was concretely represented. Concrete concepts are distinguished by the ability to see them in your mind.

Some of my posts, for example, are lessons from successful individuals. I was able to connect the abstract concept of rediscovering your passion to a specific and relatable person in a sensory-rich image by creating the image of Howard Schultz plunging his hands into a barrel of coffee each morning and breathing in deeply to remind him why he got into the business in the first place.

According to the Velcro Theory of Memory, the more "hooks" we can add to a concept, the more sticky it will be. Concreteness not only aids in the comprehension of concepts, but also in the achievement of a shared purpose.

Engineers had to ensure that the astronauts could live for up to 13 days and make it to the moon and back during the Apollo missions. This unmistakable message assured that all engineering teams, from Life Support to Propulsion, were working toward the same objective of transporting three men to the moon and safely returning them to Earth.

Make sure your marketing message is trustworthy

People will believe in your ideas if you are credible. We often depend on renowned authorities who have expressed similar viewpoints while seeking to generate credibility for your proposal. Who can dispute the surgeon general's endorsement of a plant-based diet?

Other times, we utilize data to attempt to build trustworthiness. When using statistics, attempt to use the "human-scale principle" to make your data more understandable to the average person.

The national debt, for example, is nearing 29 trillion dollars as I write this essay. Many people will find that sum difficult to fathom until you tell them that it amounts to more than $230,000 per taxpayer.

There are, however, many additional methods to make your ideas credible, such as outsourcing your idea's credibility to the audience via the use of a "testable credential." Take, for example, Ronald Reagan's famous presidential debate question from 1980. "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Ronald Reagan questioned, rather than utilizing facts.

Emotionalize your marketing message

Making your concept emotive simply implies that it must appeal to people's emotions.

Discussing the repercussions of ideas for people is a common strategy.

When Jessica McClure, then 18 months old, fell down an old well in her aunt's back yard in 1987, there was 24-hour coverage. The tale captivated the whole globe. "Everybody's Baby," a TV movie, was based on it.

In 2014, however, when 301 people were killed in a mine explosion, hardly one recalled it a year later.

Jessica was a single person who we could care about, which is why the initial tale was so stunning. The miners were only a statistic in the second tale.

You may leverage the power of association to get others to care. Many advertisements, for example, equate items with prestige or sex appeal, which everyone is concerned about.

Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume conjures us images of wealth and sex appeal. Because she had been married to so many prominent and important husbands, diamonds are plainly connected with money (status), and Elizabeth Taylor is a seductive and enticing persona to men (sex appeal).

Another frequent strategy for getting people to care is to appeal to their self-interest by informing them what they stand to gain.

Make a story out of your marketing message

People may use stories as an example for how to behave. It's only normal for the listener to wonder, "How would I have reacted if I'd been in that situation?" when someone tells a tale.

A wonderful friend of mine recently shared a tale on Facebook about an incident she had with her kid while using a public lavatory. A little girl with a sore and runny nose was sobbing uncontrollably because her mother was forcing her to blow her nose with a scratchy washroom paper towel.

Her mother began shouting at her and calling her names because the youngster was distressed. "I would have punched the mom," or "I would have called security," were among the reactions to my friend's post.

This capacity to imagine oneself in a scenario is the next best thing to actually experiencing it, and it works as a brain's "flight simulator."

Stories have the ability to move and inspire people. Consider Jared from Subway, who shed hundreds of pounds by eating just low-fat sandwiches. His example motivated millions to eat more healthily.

Tale plots

There are four different sorts of story plots that may be used to inspire:

  • The Challenge: A character in this narrative overcomes challenges to achieve success. Madam CJ Walker, for example, surmounted several obstacles, including her inability to read, to become the first black woman billionaire.
  • The Plot: In this narrative, two individuals who are quite different overcome societal hurdles to attain a shared objective. Earl Tupper, the introverted inventor, and Miss Brownie Wise, who conquered her concerns and developed a 9,000-strong army of tupperware salesmen, are two examples.
  • The Innovation: In this narrative, a person or a group of people utilizes ingenuity and guts to come up with a creative solution to a problem. Keurig, for example, sells its coffee machines at a cost to shops in order to profit on the recurring income from the sale of coffee pods to customers.
  • The Springboard: In this narrative, characters see how something new is destined to alter the course of history. For example, in 1910, a lumber trader named William Boeing went to an air show and saw the future of aviation and saw how his timber firm might help make it a reality.

What strategies can you use to make your marketing message more memorable?

Thanks to Steven Imke at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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