We’re back to Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, and how the audience gets a vote on our ideas.
And this is really great information for those of us who write copy because we definitely want our ideas to stick in the minds of the reader. It’s in our clients’ best interest if our ideas ARE sticky! Sometimes, however, our sticky ideas can be improved upon.
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who writes copy or just those who want their ideas to stick, for whatever reason.
Now, as mentioned, the audience (reading or listening public) often gets a vote:
- By changing the meaning of your idea
- By improving your idea
- By maintaining some parts of your idea and dropping others
And as in the previous post, Nice guys finish last was not the real meaning of the quote originally said by Leo Durocher. His quote had to do with baseball, and specific people, and was not meant to be a general quote. But the public evolved what he said into the cynical quote we all know now.
Today’s topic is improving your idea. And a good example of that is a fictional character, Sherlock Holmes.
When you think of Sherlock Holmes, what comes to mind? Undoubtedly, it’s “Elementary, my dear Watson.” But actually, Sherlock Holmes never said that. His most famous quote was really the one that was never said.
So why did something that was never said get so sticky? For starters, Holmes frequently used the phrase “My dear Watson”, and the word “Elementary” was also used often. Sherlock Holmes mystery fans just started blending the two and they mutated into what we hear now. Plus, the phrase just sounds very “Holmesish”. And it DOES capture the nuance of the brilliant and condescending Sherlock Holmes really well.
Sherlock Holmes has therefore given us the example of the second bullet, improving the idea.
As copywriters, we want our ideas to become sticky just as we wrote them. However, we need to put pride aside, because the public reading our ideas may very well have a better idea. Spotting a sticky idea is just as important as creating one.
Next we’ll look at the last bullet, maintaining some parts of the idea and dropping others. Until next time…..