June 07, 2016
How many people a day do you come into contact with? A week? A year? It's safe to say that the number's pretty big, and the same goes for all those people who in turn come into contact with you. You might just be a blip on their radar of all the people they meet, while you can't forget them.
We're looking into what makes those folks so memorable, and how you can make yourself an unforgettable person in your own network. The theory behind our dive into becoming unforgettable is inspired by Chip and Dan Heath's Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. While the Heath brothers study what makes ideas and marketing pushes 'sticky,' we find that the same principles apply for what makes a person memorable and dare we say...unforgettable?
Did you read 'sticky' and think...huh? Don't think too much about it, it's exactly what it sounds like; successful ideas all tend to be successful because they stick with you. Think about that commercial you can't forget or story or urban legend you cant' stop thinking about.
Most likely, you'll head to the store or at least check out the website for the commercial you saw and after that urban legend, you've become a bit more superstitious about taking drinks from strangers....or stepping on the cracks of the sidewalks.
Whatever the idea or marketing promotion may be, there's some common elements to them that made them successfully sticky and above all - memorable. These same elements can be applied to yourself, your business, or the services your provide your clients, and in the same way you can utilize them to become sticky and unforgettable. But before we dive into that, why do you need to become unforgettable in the first place?
On average, humans have about 70,000 thoughts per day and to break it down even further, it comes to about 48 thoughts on average per minute, per day. Suffice to say, we're doing a lot of thinking about a lot of different things all day, leaving our brains and memory to have to make some decisions on what they'll remember and retain in the long run.
Funders and Fathers estimates that if you interact with about 3 new people a day and if you live for around 78 years, you have the chance to impact about 80,000 people. That's a significant number, and while we can't make any promises about making you unforgettable for all those folks...we can certainly try!
The Heath brothers argue that there are 6 principles to creating a sticky, successful idea and that of all the amazingly sticky ideas they studied, each and every one of them had these principles integrated into their very essence.
There's very few of us that are blessed enough to understand the complicated backstories and character histories that go into epics like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, so wouldn't you say that keeping it simple is always better? This doesn't necessarily mean keeping things short, instead be 'simple and profound.' The Heath brothers argue that the best example is The Golden Rule, it's both simple and profound. Okay, you get that, how can simplicity translate to making yourself memorable?
Well, it's all about creating your simple answer to what you do. What is it that you offer, do, or can do for the people in your network? Can you sum it up in one simple sentence that sticks with people? If you're the go-to real estate agent for buying and selling condos in the Miami beach area then own it, and make it known to your network in the simplest (yet pithy) way possible. That way, when they're looking to finally buy that beach-front condo, it's you they turn to first.
You'll need to go beyond your pithy mission statement here though, and to really stick, you'll need to surprise your network. The Heath brothers argue that in order to generate interest and curiosity in our network, we need to "engage people's curiosity over a long period of time by systematically 'opening gaps' in their knowledge and then filling in those gaps." Simply put, how can you surprise or catch your network off guard and then quickly answer any questions they may have.
Ever been drawn into opening an email because the subject line asked you an intriguing question that you wanted to know the answer to? This is a great example of making something sticky, you're bound to remember it because it surprised you, sparked your curiosity and then clarified any questions you had. We'll go back to our Miami real estate agent who sends out an email with a subject line that reads 'Which Miami neighborhood's real estate market is heating up?'
Inside the email is an article or information about the hinted-at neighborhood and why real estate is going so quickly there. You as the agent is peaking your network's curiosity and then providing them with valuable information to answer their questions and you may even give them the option to contact you for more information. We all know how important it is to provide value to your network as a means to stay top-of-mind and now to make yourself memorably sticky.
Okay, we've got simple and we've got unexpected but that's not enough to be memorable, you need to give your network some concrete images to associate with you, "naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images because our brains are wired to remember concrete data." Why not go ahead and show off those beachside condos in Miami you recently sold by sharing pictures of their happy new owners on their balconies? Social media is a great place for you to establish your concrete examples.
While this is a literal interpretation of creating concreteness, it's also an easy way to avoid the trap of abstraction, which the Heath brothers credit with making it even harder to understand and remember an idea. Instead of making your network interpret exactly what you can offer them, show them those concrete examples that they can begin to associate with you and your business.
You can preach how you're the best real estate agent in the Miami Beach area till you lose your voice, but there's nothing that will make you more unforgettable than by sharing some tidbits or facts that lend you some credibility, "sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials." This being said, it doesn't mean you need to start wearing a badge with your Yelp rating in order to prove your credentials to everyone you come into contact with. Instead, you need to find a way to share your credibility in a bit more of a creative way. Why not share former client testimonials on your social media or in emails, or even have your former clients reach out to perspective leads to share their own success story?
The Heath brothers warn against relying on hard data or numbers when it comes to creating credibility, instead give your network a chance to test out what you're offering them by sharing success stories, or even offering a free consultation or hour of your time. Won't they remember the real estate agent who took the time to show them a few listings for free as a way to prove their credibility over the agent with their picture on the bus stop bench?
One of the best ways to get people to remember you or your ideas? Make them feel something. We all know how well the commercials with the sad dogs in shelters work on us, how often are you moved to tears or even go so far as to make the call to donate or adopt a shelter dog? You won't forget those pouting puppy faces anytime soon because you felt something for them and those strong emotions are what helps to make the commercial incredibly sticky. While you probably don't want to invoke the emotions of the shelter dogs as you work to make you and your business more memorable, you can find a way to be positively sticky for your network. How?
How about, 'picture yourself here' or 'you've found your new home' to start? If you're selling those Miami beachfront condos, don't you want to invoke the emotions of what you can provide your clients by selling them these homes?
Create an emotion around the lifestyle created when they buy that new home, you want to make them feel the tropical breeze as they sip their evening cocktails on their new balcony. Or make them feel the excitement of living within walking distance of all those excellent restaurants and bars. Evoke those strong emotions and you're guaranteed to create a sticky reaction from your network.
Finally we've arrived at the final step of SUCCESs and stickiness; stories. The best brand or business has an unforgettable story behind it and this final step is the culmination of the five others, how can all of these steps be brought together to tell your memorable story to your network? In this case, we consider your story to be your personal brand. And while we've covered the importance of why you need to create and share a consistent brand story for yourself and your business, it's these 5 steps of SUCCESs that will help you build up that brand story in a sticky way.
You know the steps, now you need to make yourself and your business STICK. Creating your business is half the battle, but it won't add up to much if your network doesn't think of you when it comes to their time of need. Providing continual value, keeping your network curious, evoking strong emotions, and giving them a memorable brand story are all key elements to becoming unforgettable to your network.
If all else fails, think back to some of the commercials or advertising campaigns that have stuck with you in the past and implement some of the factors you can extract from them into your own brand story. Sure you may not want to invoke the pouting puppies, but how can you inject your story with some emotions? Stick to SUCCESs and you're well on your way to being unforgettably sticky.