Do You Have the Sticky Factor?

Lots of businesses are throwing their messages out into the world, but what makes them resonate?

Curator recently launched (props to Shawn Herron for his creative talent), a campaign to spread the word and give a little thanks to Seattle’s famed hero in bringing back the Sonics to our city. Within hours the site had taken root and captured the attention of folks like Gary Payton, local news stations and dozens of Seattle Sonics fans throughout Washington State.

This has me thinking a lot about the ‘sticky’ factor. In other words, what makes some messages stick and others not? In my opinion, what made the Thank You Chris Hansen campaign work was dependent on a few crucial factors:

Relevance – The campaign appeals to an issue that is relevant and impactful in the minds of Seattle residents and basketball fans alike.

Timeliness – The campaign took advantage of launching immediately after a significant news cycle on the decision to build a new stadium to support bringing back the basketball team. It was additionally timed with the local F.X. McRory’s event (read more about that in The Seattle Times).

Uniting Towards a Common Goal – The campaign created a sense of its own community, gathering people who may otherwise have nothing in common and uniting them together through a common goal.

For a message to stick, the audience needs to feel like they are emotionally vested.  This was a key component of the Thank You Chris Hansen campaign because it tapped into basketball fans’ passion for the game and nostalgic memory of the Seattle Sonics. It generated its own subculture.

It seems simple enough, but the sticky factor of a message is still an elusive goal for which so many are still trying to write a formula from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point outlining how the quality of an idea contributes to its ‘stickiness’, to Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Despite these writings, marketers, advertisers and businesses alike are still challenged by competing with the other 3,000+ messages consumers are inundated with every day. Based on the current media landscape, this challenge will only increase. Regardless, I’m still so interested to learn about more case studies that conquer the ‘sticky’ message challenge and am excited to be a part of creating more campaigns that resonate with our audiences.