Saturday, March 29, 2008

Six Principles to Create Project Ideas That Stick

I first heard of Chip and Dan Heath's book "Made to Stick" through a blog post made by Guy Kawasaki last year. It also had a Stickiness Aptitude Test where I tested a project idea of forming a blog advertising network at that time. The idea passed that test. Today, my blog advertising network is still growing and have done 50 campaigns to date.

The book Made to Stick is an important resource that can be useful to product and services creators. It forces us to admit and deal with the curse of knowledge. As we learn and become knowledgeable on something, it is hard to imagine what it was like not knowing it. It affects our ability to communicate. This is where we get cursed in the process.

As a trainer and writer, this curse has affected my writing and teaching abilities. There are a lot of things that I assume to be no longer relevant or too basic. Only to realize later, upon being contacted, that a specific audience segment wants to know more about it.

According to Chip and Dan Heath, a sticky idea is something that is understandable, memorable, and effective in changing thoughts or behavior. The six principles of Made to Stick is abbreviated as SUCCESs (Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories). Here is my understanding and how I relate to it based on experience.
  • Simple
    A product or service must communicate a single and most important value in order to be perceived as simple. Providing more choices hinders decision making and recall. Use what is already in the market for easy identification.

    When I launch the blog advertising network, my pitch to prospective bloggers is that this is similar to the paid blogging programs to date (citing sites) but the dealing is more on a personal level.

    For advertisers, this is an entry level managed blog marketing campaign at a small amount that can help them gain website traffic from various sites and through search engines.

  • Unexpected
    Getting your target audience attention is very important. It must be unexpected to give the surprise factor. The blog advertising program was first launched to bloggers who are also club members. It ran like that for nine months and it was a membership privilege that was unexpected.

    The same also to advertisers where the first batch are also club members, the advertise now and pay later scheme made the offer fairly attractive and caught those participated by surprise.

  • Concrete
    Make it easy to understand and memorable. I believe that in this project, being able to continuously experience it, that includes not running out of ad assignments to be given to bloggers in the network, allows it to be alive today.

  • Credible
    A program in order to be credible must have some authority in it and even testable as well. For the blog advertising campaigns, my ad placements are not limited to client sites but also mine and use such to demonstrate sample results in terms of traffic from direct visitors and search engines.

    Rolling out the program with 20 bloggers who are part of the club immediately helped in establishing it. Last October, more bloggers were added and mostly referred by those in the network already.

  • Emotional
    A product must appeal to the emotions of the target audience. In the case of blog advertising network, the program was designed to appeal to the interest of bloggers who would like to explore making blogging a revenue-generating activity. To advertisers, it is a means to gain visibility while remaining frugal in advertising expenditures.

  • Stories
    Get people to act and be inspired. Sharing sample stories of successful campaigns to prospective clients is important.
Made to Stick is one book that definitely deserves a two thumbs.

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