Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Unexpected

One of my absolute favorite books that I've read in the past year is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath. It is fascinating and thought-provoking, with many great examples to illustrate the authors' points.

They offer six principles to make an idea memorable:
  • simplicity
  • unexpectedness
  • concreteness
  • credibility
  • emotions
  • stories

I came across a fun example of principle #2 (unexpectness) on a recent trip to visit my sister in Orlando. At several intersections near her house, signs were posted warning that motorists would be fined $183.50 if caught running a red light. I commented on how odd that amount is and my sister (she's so smart!) responded it's to make people talk about it. Duh! I'd read Made to Stick--why didn't I think of that? Anyways, on a later trip in the car, my husband (who wasn't there for the initial conversation) made the same comment I had. Almost a month later, I still remember the exact amount of the fine. What a simple way to make an impression!

If you haven't read Made to Stick, I highly recommend it. I had purchased the audiobook version through iTunes, and I loved it so much that I'm seriously considering buying the hardcover version for reference. If you're looking for more wisdom from the authors, you can check out their blog. They don't update it as often as I wish they would, but there's some great info there!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Great Tips for Bullet Point Copywriting

Another short one--I just read a great post on MarketingSherpa about effective bullet point copywriting.

I highly encourage you to give it a read. Even if you aren't involved in writing marketing copy, the tips could help with writing more effective business communications.

The two big takeaways:
  • Readers tend to look at the first, second, and last bullets (in that order), so you should rank your points to fall into that pattern.
  • You should put your most important words at the beginning of the bullet, and each starting word should look physically different from the others.

Hmm. Hopefully you read those bullets!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fascinating Brand Image

I just have to get this down before I forget it, because this is such a powerful image. I was listening to a podcast this morning (The Age of Conversation episode from The Engaging Brand) and host Anna Farmery recounted an absolutely fantastic--though brief--story from a speech by Michael Eisner. She couldn't remember the specific artist, but Eisner showed a painting to the audience (I imagine it was probably a pointillist painting). Eisner said that a brand is like this painting--when you stand back, you see a whole image (the brand). But that image is made up of myriad little points. Those points correspond to the various interactions a customer has with your brand--contact with customer service, perhaps marketing pieces they receive, the logo or packaging you use.

It's a simple thought, but so illustrative that I find it fascinating.