For exhibit and event professionals  

Sticky Stories Spell Success

October 9, 2017 By Editor

Sticky Stories spell success

Remember the story that went around about the man who wakes up in a bathtub with one of his kidneys missing? It was pure fiction, but somehow it resonated, was remembered, and passed on by millions of people.

It’s the dream of all marketing writers to have their messages spread as fast and as far as the kidney story. Stories have always been part of the marketing mix whether they're simple ads or more complex constructs such as a trade show exhibit. Why do some stories stick and others die?

Brothers Chip and Dan Heath believe they know. They even wrote a book about it in 2007 entitled Made to Stick. We think that book is even more relevant now than it was when it was first written.

The brothers, one a professor and the other a marketing executive, believe there are six principles that make a story sticky.

Here are the Heath brothers' Six Principals of Sticky Stories.

  1. Simple — The concept needs to be easily understood and easily communicated.
  2. Unexpected — Use unexpected developments or ones that invoke curiosity.
  3. Concrete — Build your story on a strong foundation and craft a vivid mental picture of the concept.
  4. Credible — Be sure your story is believable and credible.
  5. Emotional — Tap into people's emotions by invoking memories, aspiration or empathy.
  6. Stories — Use simulation and inspiration to initiate the actions you desire.

Perhaps the most famous and successful sticky story of the last century was JFK's speech Rice University in 1962:

“We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …”

When it’s time to tell your story in your next exhibit or event program remember that success is spelled S-T-I-C-K-Y!


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