October 29, 2008

Some tips from a tip jar



I came across one of my favorite examples so far of the Made to Stick concept of SUCCESs: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional stories to make your ideas stick with an audience.

While on vacation in Oregon last week, we stopped off at Multnomah Falls (at 620 feet, it's the second highest year-round waterfall in the country). After viewing the falls and marveling at the long journey of the Coho salmon, we stopped at the coffee cart for a hot drink and a pastry.

While waiting for our order, we noticed a large tip jar on the counter, with a list of names on it. Taking a closer look, we discovered that the jar listed the name of each staff person and what they were saving their tip money for.

A few were saving for cars, some saving for trips. Alex was saving "to take Fran out." Jared was saving for Jedi training. We were instantly engaged by the stories.

This tip jar exemplifies the whole SUCCESs acronym for me.

Simple: It's a tip jar with a list of names. Can't get more simple than that.

Unexpected: We don't usually think of the people behind the tip jar or what they might want or need the money for.

Concrete:
I spoke to Renee behind the counter, who told me that the France trip was for her daughter's class. Most of the items listed are concrete and don't need any explanation, like "Scion" or "huge cell bill."

Credible: With maybe the exception of Jedi training, the list was believable because the people are real.

Emotional:
The tip jar definitely creates a humorous response. But it also causes the customer to connect emotionally with the people on the list, even if they're not the ones behind the counter.

Stories: Each sentence on the jar is a story for the customer to engage with. If you speak with the counter person, you'll learn even more of the story behind each list item.

The result? Well, for my husband at least, it meant a much bigger tip than he would normally leave in a jar. We didn't just feel that we were tipping Renee, but that we were tipping everyone who works at the coffee cart. We were drawn to their stories and wanted to see them reach their goals.

If something as simple as a tip jar can create such a response from customers, we as speakers should be able to do the same for our audiences.

What are you doing to create Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional stories?



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