According to Made to Stick, Aesop’s fables are so sticky and memorable because they use concrete examples in their stories. “Concrete” in this sense is anything that can be described or detected by the human senses. The bitterness of sour grapes is akin to the bitterness we feel when we fail to get what we want. The idea sticks.
There are a few places you can inject concreteness in your marketing:
- Product promise
- Your brand’s tagline/message
- Your brand name
Here are examples of how brands are using concreteness (rather than vague abstractions) to make their brands more memorable:
A. Concrete Promises
i) Fixed Quantity
100 pushups promises that you can perform 100 consecutive pushups by following their program. No more, no less. You have a clear, concrete and finite goal to reach.
ii) Fixed Time
We divide time into chunks: years, months, days, hours.
These chunks help us visualize time in a more concrete way (e.g. one month is the time in between paychecks).
Losing weight and getting fit usually takes a long while, which can feel like an overwhelming, unsurmountable challenge. P90X takes that seemingly endless timespan and compresses it into a mere 90 days. Be a different person in just 3 months!
One Month provides you with courses that can help you upgrade your skills before your next payday. You’ll literally deserve a better paycheck next month!
5-hour Energy provides you with more energy than an energy drink, a soda AND a latte. Two bottles will get you through an entire working day!
B. Concrete taglines
When we think of raw, we think of organic foods, untainted by chemical additives. Raw foods are also synonymous with heath and dieting. Notice how the visual gives you a clear image of what you’re paying for.
Sugru is a magical glue that becomes rubber after curing overnight.
Both the glue and rubber helps add a tactile impression when imagining how the product might feel like.
Everybody needs oxygen to breathe. It’s a good thing, why not sell more of it?
Knock allows you to unlock your Mac by knocking on your iPhone, just like you would on your door.
Apart from the sheer convenience, it adds tactile feedback and gets people talking about it.
Drew Manning spent 6 months going from being fit to being fat, and then another 6 months to being fit again.
He did it initially to sympathize better with his clients, and found that he underestimated how difficult it was- how it affected his mood and lifestyle. He then worked his way back to fitness, experiencing shame and embarrassment. Drew now has more street cred than “naturally fit” athlete types who don’t know what it’s like to be overweight.
Ever needed to put something away until later? Imagine a safe sitting in your house, where there’s no keyhole or combination wheel. Just a timer.
Best for sinful deserts, video games, and credit cards. You already know how it works.
“Bullet” might bring to mind bullets from a pistol or rifle, but we’re actually talking about the kind used in note-taking. The Bullet Journal site demonstrates the system as you scroll through it, making it incredibly easy to learn and pick up.
Maybe it’s because you’ll look like an ostrich sticking its head in the ground.
Or maybe it resembles a giant ostrich head.
But whichever it is, the Ostrich Pillow will definitely help you associate the ultimate mobile napping experience with this giant bird.
You wear the Undress over your clothes, and you can now change your clothes without having to find a public toilet.
It’s a dress that helps you undress- a portable changing room.
LIFX is a light bulb that can be controlled with your smartphone. It can be programmed to switch on by itself, and even change colors!
Its color-changing effects (as shown in their video) are incredible, and shows you just how much fun you can have with it.
Quad Lock produces the strongest smartphone mounting systems on the market.
Their easy instructions of “twist, lock and go” lets you visualize just how simple it is:
Concrete ideas are easier to visualize and recall.
People are generally better at remembering concrete stuff (“We’ll put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade”) than abstract concepts (“Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives.”)
By ensuring that your idea can be described by the senses, you make the abstract become concrete. This makes it much more memorable to your audience. Your idea becomes sticky.
As always, stay tuned for more posts about the other principles of stickiness!