Made to Stick

Made to Stick

Hannah Davies
17th July 2017

Campuslife have recently started its own Book Club. As an avid reader, I was very excited to learn this and started to plan some suggestions of fiction authors that I could share with my colleagues. I quickly learned that this wasn’t ‘that’ sort of book club, but rather a forum for the team to read books that would help us do our jobs more effectively. Funnily enough, my excitement dwindled considerably.

It actually hasn’t been that bad. So much so that one particular book called ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath has inspired my blog.

The basic notion behind the book, is why do some ideas thrive, whilst others die? How can we make the things we talk about in meetings, write about in our proposals and content we share on our social media channels become more ‘sticky’? How do we get people to remember us and care about what we do?

According to the book, if we follow the ‘SUCCES’ acronym, we can make any story ‘sticky’:

Simple - what is the single most important thing to be highlighted?

Unexpectedness - forcing us to sit up and take notice

Concrete - who, what, where, when, how

Credible - giving us reason to believe it is true

Emotional - a reason to care

Story - provides us with a surplus of meaning

Chip and Dan talk about the 6 basic ideologies that we must think about when wanting an idea to stick, (see above) but the one that was most ‘sticky’ to me was the ‘Emotional’ and ‘Story’ aspect.

Whilst reading this chapter, I was thinking about my role within the business as the Commercial Manager responsible for presenting our products and services to our customers as an ambassador for the company. Do I focus too much on the what and how, as opposed to the why?

Working for a student communication agency, one would correctly assume that we know how to communicate most effectively and present our ideas to our audience, but how do we know if these ideas have stuck with our audience?

If we think about our everyday lives, we can always remember a story of something funny that happened or something we had an emotional reaction to and so injecting a story in a piece of content that we share to our audience, provides them with a surplus of meaning to provide context to the message.

The book highlighted to me that we need to give our audience a reason to care about our suggestions and ethos. Sticky ideas resonate with us without us knowing that they have — we can see this very clearly with any iPhone launch, where thousands stand in line for a product that promises to make them ‘cooler’, more efficient, better informed, and more capable of dealing with whatever their lives throw at them. Sticky ideas appeal to our wishes, and hopes, and interlock with our emotions.

To bring this back to the HE sector, and students starting their student journey that ultimately begins once they have received their A-Level results. They are most likely going to be feeling excited, nervous, overwhelmed and the University at this exact point will be presenting them with content.

Universities need to be reaching out to these emotions by producing the ‘stickiest’ of content saying ‘we understand your feelings’ and ‘we care’, not corporate text that will definitely get lost amid the plethora of other pieces of information that gets thrown at students at this time.

Campuslife have a team of recently graduated students that churn out content every day specifically geared towards the student journey. It’s peer to peer, it's engaging, it reaches out to the emotions of students and its sticky.

At Campuslife, we always strive to be at the forefront of digital solutions for Universities; Browzer is a powerful tool for doing so, but after reading this book I feel that the real importance and value in what we do comes from the endless ‘sticky’ content that we produce every single day to ensure that your students care about you and the services you provide, that in turn (we hope!) make you care about us.