Brandwords: indelible
October 23, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

Indellible means lasting, cialis buy tadalafil irreversable, irrevocable, a mark left that can not be
easily undone. An impression that is not easily forgotten.

What causes people to be marked? Changed forever. What makes something stick?
Chip and Dan Heath call it the “spectrum of memorability” in their book MADE TO STICK.

Here are their principles for leaving lasting “indelible” impressions…

PRINCIPLE 1: SIMPLICITY

How do we find the essential core of our ideas? To strip an idea
down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must
relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission
— sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must
create ideas that are both simple and profound.

PRINCIPLE 2: UNEXPECTEDNESS

How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas,
and how do we maintain their interest when we need time
to get the ideas across? We need to violate people’s
expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. We can use
surprise — an emotion whose function is to increase
alertness and cause focus — to grab people’s attention.
But surprise doesn’t last. For our idea to endure, we must
generate interest and curiosity. We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period
of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge — and then filling those gaps.

PRINCIPLE 3: CONCRETENESS

How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions,
in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry.
Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point
of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images because our brains
are wired to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in
concrete language: “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” Speaking concretely is the
only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

PRINCIPLE 4: CREDIBILITY

How do we make people believe our ideas? When the former surgeon general C. Everett
Koop talks about a public-health issue, most people accept his ideas without skepticism.
But in most day-to-day situations we don’t enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry
their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a “try
before you buy” philosophy for the world of ideas. When we’re trying to build a case for
something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is
exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S. presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald
Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have cited innumerable Statistics demonstrating
the sluggishness of the economy. Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters
to test for themselves: “Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you
were four years ago.”

PRINCIPLE 5: EMOTIONS

How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. Research shows
that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an
entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.

PRINCIPLE 6: STORIES

How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters naturally swap stories
after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories,
they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront
during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that
mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation
in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight
simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.

Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here’s our checklist for
creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story.

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