Crafting Messages that Stick

Jun 2, 2010

Stanford Professor of Organizational Behavior Chip Heath has pursued an intriguing line of research in his work exploring what makes ideas stick and how the “stickiness” of urban legends can be instructive in this arena.
The article Loud and Clear: Crafting Messages that Stick—What Nonprofits Can Learn from Urban Legends, by Chip Heath in Stanford Social Innovation Review, targets nonprofits is a companion piece to Heath’s book Made to Stick, co-authored with his brother Dan Heath. The article distills the Heaths’ findings on the characteristics of urban legends that help them endure to six key concepts:
Simple, including use of analogies [i.e.when The Center for Science in the Public Interest dubbed fettuccine alfredo “a heart attack on a plate.”]
Concrete—using specific details
Emotional—be it positive or negative emotions
Storied, perhaps the most important aspect of all and a familiar one to
many arts advocates.
Nonprofits and individuals seeking to be more effective in their communications – including for advocacy, championing change within an organization, marketing and public relations purposes, internal or external presentations, and more—will find the ideas in this article to be useful. A related piece, Making Your Presentation Stick, is a concise reference that applies these stickiness concepts to use in formal presentations.

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Tags: Messaging, Arts Advocacy, Strategic Communications

Sub Categories

ADVOCACY: Be an Advocate
ADVOCACY: Messaging Center