Visual Summary Of Made To Stick: The Marketing Cheatsheet

Jon Tan
Jon Tan
January 13, 2015
2 min read
Visual Summary Of Made To Stick: The Marketing Cheatsheet

In this article

Chip and Dan Heaths’ book MADE TO STICK is a must read for any marketer hoping to get her messaging to work It teaches methods of making ideas sticky - easily grasped, hard to forget and effortlessly circulated.

For your convenience, we’ve created a nifty illustrated cheatsheet covering the core concepts in the book.

We hope you’ll have as much fun reading this as we did creating it, enjoy!

made to stick infographic

The Memorable Marketing Cheatsheet

(Visual Summary Of Made To Stick)

MADE TO STICK is a guide to making ideas sticky – easily grasped, memorable and effortlessly circulated.

Very appropriately, the names of these techniques spell SUCCES:









Only the essence

Prioritize information, but don’t dumb it down. First tell the important bits, then trim what’s important but unessential, finally, add details.


She’s a rocket scientist who looks like Jennifer Lawrence!


She’s blonde and employed.

Keep information compact by using generative analogies. Explain your ideas using what people already know.


Disneyland employees are called ’’Cast Members’’. This tells them how to behave, even if they’re just sweeping the park, they are on stage and need to act the part.


Subway’s employees are called ’’sandwich artists’’ even though employees are tasked to follow precise sandwich making instructions and not get creative.

A prioritized, compact message helps people make decisions as they apply your idea which makes it motivational and memorable.


Get attention & hold it

Get attention by breaking a thinking pattern. Find what’s unexpected in your message and bring it ot light.


Benanas contain potassium, which is radioactive.


The power of a nuclear bomb can be measured in bananas.

(This is totally true btw, historical nuclear bomb Little Boy was 3.1 x 10*8 bananas strong)

Hold attention by generating curiosity. Pose a question related to your idea that your audience just has to know the answer to.


Imagine this headline:

’’Children Hooked on New Drug In Town’’


Now imagine this:

’’Children are abusing a new drug – and it may be in your own medicine cabinet!’’

By creating insight through the unexpected, the audience learns not just what but why an idea is.


Easily grasped $ reacalled

A concrete idea is one that can be easily grasped and recalled. To create concreteness, use sensory language.


Did you know your popcorn has 20g of fat?


Did you know your popcorn has more fat than a bacon and eggs dinner, a Big Mac and fries and a steak dinner with all the trimmings… combined?

A concrete idea improves the likelihood of understanding in the beginning and the level of recall over time.


Can you believe it?

The simplest way to create credibility is to bring in an authority figure.

But we can’t always do that, so here are five other ways:

  • Anti – Authority: Use the reverse of authority to preach the adverse effects of a situation.
  • Details: Details create the impression that an idea is true.
  • Statistics: Statistics can be used to illustrate a relationship between 2 less credible elements.
  • Sinatra Test: In Frank Sinatra’s song New York, New York, there’s a line ’’if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere’’. This idea applies to making things credible – succeed at one thing and you’re an authority figure in all periphery topics.
  • Testable Creditability: Make a claim the audience can verify for themselves.

Credibility makes it easier to believe in an idea, which in turn makes it easier to remember.


No feels, won’t care

People need to care to take action, so appeal to their emotions. Studies have shown that ANY analytical thought decreases the intention to act.

Form an association between what you want someone to care about and what they already care about.


Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%


Overfishing of Pacific bluefin tuna will lead to the end of sushi as we know it.

Emphasize benefits over features to appeal to emotional self – interest.


100g of MUSCLE SAUCE contains 150g of protein!



Elicit emotions by appealing to your audience’s identity – their values, morals and sense of duty.


’’Don’t Mess With Texas’’ was a slogan used in an anti – littering campaign targeting at males aged 18-35 (the most likely demographic to litter). It appealed to the Texan identity of cowboy swagger and, beyond creating a drastic reduction in littering, became a statewide cultural icon.

Emotional engagement is key in making your audience care about your ideas.


It’s almost experience

Stories encourage the listener to mentally reenact your tale, embedding the idea into their minds through vicarious experience.

It is more effective to discover a story than to produce one. Consider the following examples from IMDB’s top movie list:


The classic underdog tale of rags to riches or triumph through willpower.

The Lord Of The Rings

’’A meek hobbit of the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron’’


Stories about people who develop a relationship that bridges a gap – radical, class, ethnic, religious or demographic.

The Shawshank Redemption

’’Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency’’


Stories of innovation, problem solving and mental breakthroughs.


’’Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer – generated analysis to acquire new players.’’

People remember what they’ve experienced, use stories to simulate this effect.

Sticky ideas are an indispensible part of any successful marketing effort.

Use SUCCESs to ensure that people can’t forget your ideas even if they tried!

If you enjoyed this post, check out our 6 part series with examples of stickiness in action:

Hey! Another great way to make your brand's messages to stick is to write great product descriptions.


By checking out our 8 Easy Rules to Write Product Descriptions That Sell!

Jon Tan
Jon Tan

My coffee expenses and my office rental are one and the same.Terrified of mathematics and carbohydrates.

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