Change is tough. That's why most people resist it at all costs. So, how do you get people to change an ingrained behavior, such as switching from a competitor's product to yours?

Changing behavior starts by impressing an idea on someone's mind. But the first step of that process is making that idea "stick"—and that's where the Heath brothers come in.

In The New York Times bestseller Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Dan and Chip Heath break down how ideas become "sticky"—why they stay in people's minds and develop a life of their own.

Malcolm Gladwell popularized "stickiness" as a concept in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and it's stuck ever since. But in a new twist, the Heath brothers have taken that concept and created a checklist of actions to help readers define and refine their ideas so they're more likely to stick with colleagues and consumers.

So, how do you begin to apply these steps to your marketing strategy? It's simple: Focus, and start small.

1. Start small, and communicate clearly

When you're encouraging a customer to switch brands—whether it's his laundry detergent or SUV—you're asking for the same thing: change. And according to human nature, the best change is closest to no change at all.

That's why the Heath brothers advocate pushing for small changes over time rather than going after one drastic change. Why? Because it's easier to ask someone to act similar to how he's acting now than it is to ask him to act wildly different.

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Ken Ribotsky is CEO and owner of Brandkarma LLC, which provides everything from brand development and advertising to medical education and public relations.

LinkedIn: Ken Ribotsky