Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Stickiness Factor

This blog post is a follow-up to my Monday post, The Law of the Few. Today, I will be sharing more highlights from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, more specifically, his thoughts on what he calls “The Stickiness Factor.” The Stickiness Factor suggests that there are specific ways of making a contagious message memorable. There are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes.

Gladwell references numerous studies in marketing and television to conclude that advice needs to be practical and personal in order to become memorable. For example, the addition of a map of the campus and a list of appointment times to a brochure urging students to get tetanus shots was enough to increase the percentage of students that followed their call to action by 25%.

According to Gladwell’s research, it seems that the secret to the success of the case studies he examines is research and close monitoring of the results of their efforts to be ‘sticky’. One great example in the book is Sesame Street. The success of Sesame Street and its groundbreaking format was not achieved by accident. The producers thoroughly test their episodes on children to make sure that the content holds their attention. The lesson to learn here is that focus groups and consultation of opinion leaders within your target demographic are powerful ways to learn how to influence those key members of society that influence the masses. According to Gladwell, there is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.

Be on the lookout later this week for my final Tipping Point-related post on “the Power of Context”. In the meantime, you may be interested to read this week's Time Magazine Q&A with Malcolm Gladwell. You can also follow the author himself on Twitter!