In B2B communication, it can sometimes be quite a challenge to ensure that your idea and content, which have usually been translated into simpler terms already, stick with your target group. Does that sound familiar?
The biggest pitfall is the ‘Curse of Knowledge’. The person who comes up with the idea will look at their brainwave from their own perspective, all too often assuming that other people will also get what they are talking about. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. However, there are various ways to avoid falling into this trap. Enter Made to Stick, the manual by Dan & Chip Heath, which explains why some ideas survive while others are doomed to failure.
Dan & Chip Heath list six conditions which an idea must satisfy. There is an easy way to make sure the keywords really stick in your mind, as you will see below:
Take each first letter and you will spell out the word… Yes, that’s right: SUCCES – with the last s missing, so why not add another one and make it ‘Stick’?!
To keep an idea simple, it’s important to focus on the key message. This is the most important truth that you wish to convey. It’s easier to remember one important element than five different ones. For example, take our client Bosch’s slogan: “Invented for life”. This slogan is simple and clearly conveys what Bosch is all about. It emphasises Bosch’s expertise (the company’s quality and innovativeness) and demonstrates that Bosch technology improves the quality of life.
Adopt an unexpected angle, attract attention and – most importantly – hold people’s attention. Communicate your idea as a mystery. Good titles or openers play a crucial role. People are fascinated by the knowledge gap. For example, the article “Why Clients Don’t Pay on Time“ by our client The RingRing Company will get more clicks than “Clients don’t pay on time because they are too busy”. Arouse people’s curiosity to make them want to find out more.
Clients are not always on the same wavelength. Clearly convey exactly what you want to say, so that the client understands and remembers it. The campaign by Dagen Zonder Vlees (Meat-Free Days) is a perfect example of this. Almost every year, they encourage people to eat less meat and fish. There is an online calendar to help you to keep track of when you ate meat and fish and, more importantly, when you didn’t. This data is then converted into concrete terms.
Converting the data makes it easier for the public understand the essence of the message as well as the impact of their behaviour on the planet. In this example, credibility also plays a major role.
You can use authority to convey the message, but details, statistics or evidence work too. In B2B, it can be useful to share figures and statistics with interested companies. We are naturally inclined to trust figures and statistics. People have to believe in the message. Our client The RingRing Company has demonstrated that 97% of text messages are opened within three minutes. These figures can act as a trigger for companies that want to implement an SMS service.
The use of emotions will make people care about your idea. When people care about an idea, they will take action more quickly. For example, we publish several interviews with satisfied employees about their work and their life on the Indaver website. These testimonials might well encourage visitors and job seekers to start working for Indaver too.
Stories create a high level of added value, as people find it easy to remember a story and act accordingly. This makes it easier to actually convert your Calls to Action. B2B companies aim to develop their personality by getting their story across. They tend to work more with social media and publish blog posts about relevant themes. This allows them to tell their story while simultaneously involving their clients. Our client Aleris capitalises on this by creating content about its solutions and sharing this content when an opportunity arises.
These six conditions prove that you don’t need to be a genius to write ingenious content. We can’t all be Barack Obama or Steve Jobs. And if you are the kind of creative type who keeps coming up with one idea after another: you’re bound to have noticed by now that people don’t always jump on board.
These conditions don’t just apply to ideas. The content also has to stick: websites, brochures, press releases, you name it. As marketing communication professionals, we also wrestle with this ‘Curse of Knowledge’. When we create content for a website or brochure, we want the client to stay on our website, or to read the whole of our white paper. We certainly don’t want them to throw our brochures away. The SUCCES checklist will help you with this. The right insights and right message will allow anyone to give an idea that extra stickiness factor. Yes, you can!