Question

Topic: Book Club

Sticky Messenger?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
Storyteller value. Made to Stick does a marvelous job on making sure you craft your idea to achieve the best results. Following the SUCCES rules seem like a very good guideline to be successful, but what about the messenger? How valuable is the person or the medium bringing the message to you? Or can a idea/message that is Made to Stick never fail?

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Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (topic: communications). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!

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RESPONSES

  • Posted by CK (Book Club Host) on Accepted
    hmmm. When crafting the message I do think it's important that we look at the delivery medium. A "show vs. tell" message on YouTube (video) is very different than one delivered in print. BUT then again...we can't control how it will spread necessarily (especially since WOM is not amplified through e-communications).

    I'm looking forward to Dan/Chip's ideas on this one, it's a great question and I'll think on it more.
  • Posted on Accepted
    It's a fair question. I suspect the answer is yes... the messenger does matter. Not for any reason that essentially affects the message, but just because people have only a certain amount of time in their lives, and filtering information through the lens of their bias for (or against) the messenger allows them to "thin slice" the message quickly.

    This is why people use ad hominems as an argument technique. Logically, ad hominem attacks make no difference. However, they still affect perceptions, and that is why people should be aware of the use of such techniques when they occur.
  • Posted by dpuffer on Accepted
    Can a message made to stick never fail? Let's think about the beef. If Wendys had not had the beef in answer to the question, we might still remember that little old lady asking the question but there might be no Wendys around our towns to provide the context. In that case, the message stuck and it succeeded but I am not sure that anything kills a bad product more quickly than sticky advertising. And, politically, we probably all remember the message "Mission Accomplished" and the messenger, at the time, had high credibility. I don't think the message succeeded though it has stuck.
  • Posted on Accepted
    We started a program at our organization 5 or so years ago called the Allied Voices program which is what immediately sprung to mind when I read the section of "Made to Stick" on Story.

    No one listens to an environmentalist talking head blathering on with statistics and doom and gloom focused on the problem. Instead, we sought out real people to tell the story for us. Hunters who have been chasing deer in the swamps for decades and are seeing populations weakening and health problems in the deer because of industrial forestry, community members who have been sprayed by toxic chemicals or whose land has been flooded because their wetlands have been destroyed, or local business leaders whose bottom line is being impacted by large scale clear cutting and other travesties. These are people that can be trusted. These allied voices tell their stories and people listen. This is one of the smartest moves we ever made and I was so happy to see that reinforced in the book. Keep an eye out (spot) those stories and it will make a huge difference with legitimacy for your product, message and brand.
  • Posted on Accepted
    If the message is going to be delivered with audio and/or video components (that includes LIVE), the communication skills of the messenger are very important.

    There are a variety of verbal and nonverbal attributes that work here to make your message stickier. I'd love to go into greater detail, but that would be an essay of its own.
  • Posted on Accepted
    If the messenger was not important to the message, then I could memorize a few jokes of Jerry Seinfeld and be just as funny and William Dawes would be just as well known as Paul Revere. The delivery does matter.

    Can you imagine the “I have a Dream” speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King in memo form? A memo may be good for TPS Reports, but not for something that needed to be as sticky as Dr. King’s speech. If you think about this speech, can't you almost now feel the power of the message through his dramatic pauses and seeing his facial expressions?

    In other words, I feel that the more the delivery of a message uses the five senses, the better chance the message has of sticking with those that encounter it.
  • Posted on Member
    Chip,
    Thus the greater importance placed on the message itself; something we should never forget. Everything else is an auxiliary aid mechanism.

  • Posted on Accepted
    I stand with Chip. It seems to me the very nature of stickiness that the message work regardless of the medium or messenger. How amazing to create a message I trust to send out to the world without worrying that people will mess it up!
  • Posted on Member
    I still have to disagree here. Let me say though that in terms of stickiness I do believe that the message is more important than the messenger.

    However, I think the messenger plays a big part in the stickiness. The messenger can easily distract from the message. Take, for example, a teacher that has a very sticky lesson plan but talks in a very monotone way (Buehler? Buehler?). The message becomes harder to manage and process because we need to focus harder just to keep up with the message and to block out the distraction.

    In the same vein, I also believe the receiver plays an important part in stickiness. Moods, priorities, and worldview of the receiver all play an important part. Imagine trying to tell the Kidney Theft urban legend to everyone on the Titanic while it’s going down? (Forget the fact that the nearby cell phone wouldn't make sense to them). I don't think the audience would be as riveted as we may have been when we first heard it. They would never be able to pass along this sticky story because at the time it didn't match with their priorities. At best it might be a distraction.

    So, can a message still be sticky with a bad messenger? O f course. However, I also believe that a great messenger adds to a sticky message and a bad messenger can detract from a sticky message.

    Thanks for the great topic of conversation. (As a side note, I think this would make for a very interesting experiment. How much does the messenger matter in the stickiness of the message?)
  • Posted by js on Accepted
    Chip, I'm a major fan of your book. But I must disagree. Everything that is assoicated with a message is part of the message.
    Condsider an ad for golf equipment with an unknown, hack golfer as spokesman vs. Tiger Woods. Consider an ad for haute cuisine advertised above the urinal in at Wrigley Field. Consider being called on by a salesman in a t-shirt vs. one that comes in suit and tie. The medium/messenger speaks volumes about the message and source credibility. The medium, itself, tells a story that can't be told in the message. It provides cues that are analyzed to determine how the message is interpreted.

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