Since I’ve started here at Ydraw we have put in place a simple Script Writing Formula that we like to call the The Made to Stick Formula. I’ve gotten familiar with the Made to Stick method, the formula that makes an idea remembered. It is categorized in 6 principles.
Each of these principles represents the methods to help stick your ideas in the heads of the consumers. Let’s look at each one individually.
What are the core elements of your message? There is a lot that goes into a company and a lot that goes into a product, but the audience doesn’t need all of that background knowledge. That’s the difficulty of having knowledge, thinking that everyone will be able to absorb what you know when they can’t. By adding too much information you can confuse the audience in what they are supposed to know. Find the core of your message and share that message with others. In doing so, you will motivate them to a decision.
If there’s nothing to grab your audience, why would they remember your video? Try and pique the interest of your audience by introducing a mystery that they can’t wait to figure out. Humans like to think in patterns and to keep their attention all you need to do is break these patterns.
The easiest (and most quoted) example of this is Aesop’s fables of the concept of “sour grapes.” The Fox cannot reach some grapes and decides that they must be sour anyway. He wasn’t bitter over not getting what he wanted. But the term ‘sour grapes’ is a lot easier to say than ‘don’t be bitter from not getting what you want.’ Something becomes concrete when it can be described by the human senses.
How do you look credible? Base your idea on authorities – experts, if you will. If you can’t do that you can use 5 other methods. An anti-authority (the dying smoker), Details of about your product, Statistics, Using the ‘Sinatra Test’ (“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere” – the one test case that proves what you can do) and Testable Credentials (allows consumers to test it themselves).
I’m not suggesting that you should make your audience cry or anything, I’m suggesting you get them to care. For people to take action, they have to care. To do that focus on the individual, as Stalin once pointed out, “a single death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic”. Association also works well by associating between something the audience doesn’t care about and something they do.
What really makes an idea stick? Tell it as a story. Stories can reflect oneself in the minds of the audience and can go a long way to enter the long-term memory storage of an individual. There are three major types of stories to look for. The challenge plot (underdog, rags to riches), the connection plot (developing relationships that bridge the gap), and the creativity plot (somebody making a mental breakthrough or solving a long standing issue).
When following these six principles, your ideas can stick better in the brain of your target audience. But let’s see it in action, here’s a video we did for Atlas, an IT service management company.
How well did this video accomplish the 6 principles of ‘Made to Stick’?
Let’s go through them.
Simple. Atlas is the choice for your IT service management.
Unexpected. Using a monster truck as a metaphor for being stuck without knowing what to do with your IT services is something out of the blue and no one saw it coming.
Concrete. “We are your IT service management contact.” That is a concrete promise to the consumer. By using Atlas they won’t need to go any further to get their IT service management needs met.
Credible. At 1:15 the video talks about costumer satisfaction and shows a graph to show how they are improving on that concept. In the next scene they go over the benefits of using Atlas, cooperation through get together sessions, using webinar training and choosing ways to save money while increasing the user experience.
Emotional. There were a lot of emotions that are felt in that video. Worry and frustration, because the truck was stuck in the mud. The relief when Atlas came along and helped them out of the mess. Finally, gratitude, when they chose a better path and Atlas filled their gas tank and cleaned up their truck.
Story. If I worked in IT service management, I would certainly remember this story of how Atlas came to the aid and helped an ITSM company out of the mud and back on the right track.
There are so many great ideas out there that are just waiting for a story to tell the world about how amazing they are and how that idea can improve the lives and companies around the world.
I hope this little Made To Stick formula will help you create your next script. If you need a video, reach out to us. We would love to help craft the perfect script for you company.
Hey by the way, if you want to check out how to write a script the Made to Stick way, check out this guide on writing a script.
I’m not saying I broke my chair by doing something irresponsible or life threatening or trying to race down the parking lot or anything.
I sneezed and broke my mother-flipping chair. How does that happen? HOW?
Let me explain it as best I can. My desk is in the front, you might think I was the receptionist, but I’m not. Thankfully, for them at least, I would be a terrible secretary.
I was doing some writing (it is in my job description as ‘writer’) and I was wedged up to my desk nice and snug. I was sitting more towards the edge of my chair and typing out something as I was listening to some music on my Bose headphones.
“Makin’ my way downtown, walkin’ fast, faces pass and I’m home bound!”
Without warning, I had a surprise sneeze. Not a super violent sneeze or anything, just a normal sneeze.
Immediately, I heard a small pop. I thought the quick action had popped the lever out of its place. You know, the little lever on the side on the chair that makes it so the chair will either lean back to stay up straight.
So I didn’t really think anything of it. I do like my chair up straight so I tried to lean forward to put the lever back into place.
When I tried though, the lever was already in place and the chair was wobbling wildly.
I still had my headphones on at this point, so I took them off to maneuver easier without a cord wrapping around me. When I took off the headphones I could hear my coworkers calling out to me.
Coworker: “Are you okay, out there?”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”
Boss: “Did you fall over?”
Me: “No. I think I broke my chair.”
Coworker: “What? How?”
Me: “Um, I’m not sure.”
So I finally wheel back a little and realize how bad the wobbliness really was. It was obviously broken more than I thought it was.
I overturned the chair and found this.
Yeah. I broke metal. METAL.
Now sure, I’m a big fella, like a pretty big fella. I’m 6’2” and look like I’m about 250 to 260 pounds when in actuality I’m heavier. My shoulders are incredibly broad and if I really put my mind to it I probably could be some sort of heavy weight lifter. It’s not for me, but I could do it.
So now I’m in my new job and within the first month of being here I broke my chair, by sneezing.
About this time is when I try and merge this anecdote into some sort of marketing or video production “life lesson”, so I’ll give it a try.
Don’t be caught feeling comfortable in what you’re doing, whether it be video scripting, writing, animation, marketing, or creating; a sneeze might come along and force you to stand all day with a cardboard box propping up your keyboard so you can type.
Because you’ll look like a full-fledged moron standing next to a broken chair.
What are cave paintings, essentially? A pretentious art show in the middle of a damp cave, that’s what. I can picture the artist was standing there next to the paintings in a Woolly Mammoth beret looking bored. At some point, there were probably caveman art critics who came along. “Oog no like use of space.”
The paintings ended up drawing notoriety and attention. The same is true with today’s online content.
Videos are made to attract attention and hopefully keep an audience long enough to motivate someone to action. That would be pretty easy to accomplish if today’s online viewers didn’t have the attention span of a toddler hopped up honey smacks and jolt cola.
Sounds patronizing, I know, but that’s exactly what the audience has been reduced to. Recent studies show that online viewers have an attention span of 9 seconds. 9 seconds? I can’t even have a thought in 9 seconds, a hazy recollection maybe, but never a full thought.
Ask any six-second “star” of Vine to explain why anyone would subscribe to his or her channel. I’m sure they couldn’t tell you because, quite frankly, the phenomenon of Vine shouldn’t even exist. People shouldn’t have fans for a six-second joke that has been circulating within 5-6 different Vine user variations. It’s absurd.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality we now live in. As we devolve into human versions of Spongebob Squarepants we have to change the way we approach making video content. So now the job is to shake a pair of keys in front of the audience and have them on their backs, giggling and reaching for the shiny–shiny.
Again, sounds patronizing, but that’s the truth of it.
The meat of the message is in between two carefully crafted intro and conclusion buns. Now, the art of the video is more like the KFC Double Down
A chunk of meat, a bit of cheese, some tantalizing bacon and ends it all with another huge chunk of meat. It may not be very good for you, but it’s popular and people keep on buying it.
This is the formula for a new age. A snack sized informational nugget to fill you up as quickly as possible. Seems kind of difficult, but there are ways to make it work.
Key things to remember with this new format:
GET TO THE POINT. Since videos are inherently getting shorter, your message should get to the audience quicker. The specific fight is to get your point out before the viewer clicks on the ‘Skip Ad’ button. This is the new marketing battle for many companies. First it was recordable TV– viewers could hit a button and skip the commercials, now it’s a small clickable banner in the bottom right corner of your video. How many seconds do you have? It takes 5 seconds for that button to get clicked. Spitting out your point or grabbing their attention in the first 5 seconds will do you well to get your message out there.
EXPECT A DROF OFF. Unless the video you make has a very specific purpose, the most important part of your video will not be the end. The end is where most of your audience has already clicked away so they need to see who you are and what you do before that happens. 20% of the audience has already clicked away within the first 7 seconds, so make that time count. Those first seven seconds could make all the difference between a skipped video and a high retention rate.
A MOSTLY WATCHED VIDEO WILL USUALLY BE THE MOST YOU’LL GET. A mostly watched video on YouTube or post on Facebook, unless it’s a 6 second Vine, is probably the best result you can hope for. As you watch the numbers of where people click away, getting 75% retention on that video is actually amazing. Most videos don’t even last that long. The challenge is not only to get all the information you can in a small amount of time but to also front load the thing as much as possible. Basically, all videos have become the equivalent of children’s shows and the end is now usually saved for a kicker of some sort. Some off chance reward for making it through a video.
Now that you know the formula, the real challenge is getting your message out. The first 7 seconds could be right on point, but the second that video falters, it’s lights out. There is no room for fluff in the entire video. It’s all meat with a bit of cheese. Why am I so hungry all of a sudden? Is KFC still open?
Have you ever had one of those weekends? A food fueled smorgasbord that leaves you with a meat hangover?
I did this last weekend.
(Pictured: a heart attack)
It was AMAZING! Three racks of ribs, two full home grown chickens and ten bratwursts.
I spend over 9 hours making this. That picture was taken near the very end and I had spent a very long time making sure that everything went perfectly. Boy did it ever.
(Pictured: Drool Factor 5)
The same thing can be said about anything: School, children, career, business. They all need nurturing. They all need taking care of. They need time to be mastered.
It’s the same with writing. You have to nurture the skill if you want to master it. Perhaps some think that it’s all just a matter of left to right, up to down, put it in an order to make sense and viola! You have some magical sentence that will change the world.
Or not. It does matter what the words say. I forgot to mention that.
In my line, that’s really all that matters. Especially when trying to write and explain concepts for companies that not only make sense, but are engaging and entertaining.
But hey, that’s our job.
There’s nothing that feels quite as nice as when a video comes together. Especially when that video is now creating traffic to your website.
The numbers don’t lie. 80% of Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website in the past month. Video sharing websites like YouTube are getting millions of hits a day. Since nearly the entire world is on board with this whole Internet thing, that’s a lot of people that could be watching videos about your company.
When Ydraw started we were making good videos that held audiences attention.
Then as the years went by, the videos went from good to great. Sort of like how the Beatles only got better after they replaced Paul after the car crash.
So as we venture into the future, we write.
Writing has always been second hand nature for me. To accurately represent feelings through action and dialogue have been a staple in my life ever since I can remember. A lot of it has been from working on movie sets with my dad, an accomplished Special Effects Technician.
Since I was a little kid I’ve always been on a movie set. My first memories of a movie set was going down to San Diego and seeing some jets used on ‘Top Gun’ and getting yelled at by Tom Cruise. I started working on movies since I was 15 and have a decent resume (not that my name appears on all of those movies, not a lot of people’s do).
But my passion wasn’t into making the production, but rather into creating the story. So I started writing and writing and then after that nap, more writing.
I still have some of those first attempts to put pen on paper and they are BAD.
In the same way when I started to smoke ribs, those first racks of ribs were terrible. Absolutely and horrifyingly terrible. I even made friends of mine eat them.
I still feel bad about that.
But today, my writing and my ribs are something I’m proud of. It took years to accomplish. Hours upon hours of practice. Now I’m being recognized for both. I have a great writing job here at Ydraw and my whenever anybody takes a taste of my ribs are blown away at the quality. The reason is simple.
Through nourishment and time-consuming effort, I have been able to cultivate the type of result that is extraordinary. And more importantly, a result I’m proud of.
There are a lot of people who make the best out of the career they thought they were going to enjoy. A lot of people hate their job but have to go everyday because they have no choice. Then there are the select few who are doing exactly what they want, happy as can be without complaint. They are what we call “imaginary.”
But we need to change our situation to get employment where we are happy. I’ve done that recently by getting myself hired at Ydraw. (Are the bosses reading? Okay, good.)
But changing your job around can be an incredible hassle. Let’s go through the list.
CHANGING YOUR INSURANCE. This was the big one between my wife and I. At my old job I had incredible insurance that was set up for me and I didn’t really need to think about it. With my new job change, I’ve got to find and change my insurance myself. Not a huge challenge, just a huge hassle.
Now I need to vet about 200 health care companies for the best coverage at the best rate. Or trust my health to the government and get covered by the Affordable Care Act.
Good news though, I think I saw my favorite celebrity with “#getcovered” on a white piece of paper, so I’m pretty sure I won’t die.
FALLOUT FROM YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER. My former employer was also my father-in-law. I don’t recommend doing that. There’s no separating your private life with your personal life.
For example, when I gave my two-week notice my wife got chewed out like she was 15 again, for an hour. I actually didn’t make the two weeks; I made it four days, from Tuesday to Friday.
I then was invited to start early if possible. It was possible and I jumped at the chance. I always wanted to write and Ydraw made that happen, why wouldn’t I go for it?
(“How do I computer?”)
PRESSURE TO KEEP THE NEW JOB. Now that the fallout is as deep as the craters on Edward James Olmos’ face, you have the added pressure to keep the job you just got because you cannot go back to that old job.
That bridge is a smoldered wreck of brittle matchsticks, so you need to perform. There’s nothing worse than trying to perform with that sort of pressure to impress your new bosses while catching up with your company’s procedures.
Sure there’s a learning curve, but how obtuse is that curve? It’ll make your palms sweat.
UNDERSTAND YOUR NEW COMPANY’S CULTURE. Every company has a different way of doing things. In my old job if the boss caught you taking a break when he walked up to the job site you would see his face melt as his eyes borrowed deep into your soul as his high piercing screeches destroyed your eardrums.
It’s not like that at Ydraw, it’s not like that at all. I haven’t been here long enough to know where everything stands just yet, but I’m sure there is some snags here and there I’ll learn, but for now, I’ll just lay low.
(pictured: how my life works now)
THE CAR SITUATION. I had a company car and even though I couldn’t do much with it besides my work, it did get me around when I needed it. Now I’m down to one car. One 2010 Toyota Corolla (that’s right, ladies) with a wrecked backseat from two kids reenacting ‘Lord of the Flies’ during road trips. So my morning routine is as follows.
6:30am: Get up, get myself and kids ready for the day.
7:45am: leave with kids and wife.
8:05am: drop off kids at school.
8:25am: get dropped off by wife at work as she goes to school. Stay at work all day, stranded.
4:30pm: get picked up by wife with kids.
4:50pm: get home and stay home to let wife take car to school at night.
So until I get another mode of transportation I’m just basically a toddler who’s gets dropped off at daycare everyday.
(update: I got a motorcycle and it’s super rad.)
(pictured: me not looking super rad)
As much as it is a hassle, I’m glad I’ve made the change. Writing has always been my passion and I’m here fulfilling that dream. There’s nothing that feels as nice.
(Pictured: not me.)
I guess changing your job isn’t that bad after all.