In the book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath gave us three ways the audience, or public, gets a vote on our sticky ideas.
This is the last post on audience participation and on this book. I enthusiastically recommend you get the book and read it. We copywriters need this information as well as anybody who wants their ideas to stick. It IS a valuable resource!
To reiterate, the three ways the audience or public influences our sticky ideas:
- By changing the meaning of your idea. (The Leo Durocher quote)
- By improving your idea. (Sherlock Holmes’ famous saying)
- By maintaining some parts of your idea and dropping others.
This last way is best illustrated by James Carville. If you remember the 1992 presidential campaign, the one “sticky” quote that basically won the election was “It’s the Economy, Stupid”. The election almost totally focused on that one quote. But Carville actually wrote three quotes for the campaign. And what were the other two that nobody remembers? They were:
- “Change vs. more of the same”
- “Don’t forget health care.”
Those two phrases just didn’t stick. Carville only got one third of his message to resonate. But that other phrase totally framed the election! Somehow I don’t think he was disappointed.
It’s a pride thing. We tend to want our message to be exactly as it was formed in our minds. But a little humility is a good thing. We need to let go and decide if the mutated versions of our ideas are still basically core, and if so, accept the public’s judgment. As long as our goals are achieved, we’ll be successful—even if it’s not quite the same.
Coming up with sticky ideas from scratch is great. But it’s equally great if you can spot a sticky idea.
But to find out the skinny on that, you’ll have to get a copy of Made to Stick. Try Amazon.com or your local Barnes and Noble or wherever you choose to buy books. Your library might have it, but you’ll want your own. Enjoy!