I just finished reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. In this wonderful book on communicating ideas so that people will remember them the author has 6 principles:
- Simplicity – Find the core or your idea, don’t bury the lead of your story
- Unexpectedness – Surprise will get people’s attention
- Concreteness – Ideas that are concrete on more memorable than those that are abstract
- Credibility – Authorities or details can be used to increase credibility
- Emotions – People will remember what they care about
- Stories – Stories are useful to get people to act on an idea
I find that I examine communication ideas now through the lens of these principles. A friend pointed out a good example of these principles in an ad from the American Lung Association. Kids know that cigarettes are bad for them but how can you truly get that message across in a way that is in this case simple, unexpected, concrete and emotional. One third of the people who smoke will die from it. That’s the statistic. How to communicate that? The American Lung Association made this ad that equated what it would be like if you had a one in three changes in dying by crossing the street. This is an idea that is made to stick.