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Made To Stick, Chapter 2 6/6/11

June 6, 2011

Hello,

Regular place, regular time.

Here are some great questions from Tom:

Chapter Summary from the Brothers Heath:

Unexpectedness is about grabbing people’s attention. You can grab people’s attention by surprising them, and an easy way to surprise them is to break a pattern (the way car alarms get our attention by cycling their annoying sound patterns). You can surprise people by violating their expectations or forcing their “guess- ing machines” to miss a guess. (For example, the way that Nordstrom employees are told stories about “the Nordie who ironed a shirt for a customer who needed to wear it that afternoon.” That breaks the employee’s schema of customer service.) Surprise is an emotion that forces us to pause to collect more information about the world. Surprise can be gimmicky—think of dot-com ads—but it is powerful when used in the service of a core message. (See the Nora Ephron story “There is no school next Thursday” for an example, pp. 75–76.)

Surprise gets people’s attention in the moment, and curiosity holds their attention over time. How do you spark curiosity? The “gap theory” of curiosity holds that curiosity comes from a gap between what we know and what we want to know. These gaps cause us a kind of pain—we want to fill them. Hollywood screenplays string us along in this way, but the same technique works in college classes, as when a teacher started his class with the mystery, “What are Saturn’s rings made of?” Curiosity gaps can work in the long-term: Sony’s 1950s quest for a “pocketable radio” kept its engineers busy for years, and JFK’s “man on the moon” speech kept a nation busy for a decade.

Tom’s Discussion Questions:

1) Be prepared to share at least one of the three things 1) How have you successfully “violated somebody’s schema” to create a sticky message in your business? How have you recently been unexpectedly surprised or had your schema violated (that sounds inappropriate) or 3) Where is there an opportunity to get your customers’ attention

2) Do you think that a fair number of your customers would rather be consistently pleased with the high quality of your product or service over being unexpectedly surprised by your business?

3) Be prepared to share some ways to successfully implement the “Gap Theory of Curiosity” into your business?

4) When was the last time an ad, movie or television show had you hanging on the edge of your seat? What were the knowledge gaps it set up?

5) Off-topic: Did anybody else laugh out loud when the author’s mentioned their curiosity surrounding celebrities, specifically Tiger Woods and his secret vices?

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