The Next Best Thing

From reading the title of this blog entry, can you tell what this post will be about? You may have hundreds of guesses on what the post could be about, but how would you know if you wanted to read this or care about what I have to say? The easy answers are no and you wouldn’t. What your idea of ‘the next best thing’ is probably does not match my idea.

Much like the real world, the world of public relations has no room for vagueness. Hearing “the next best thing is coming to a store near you” certainly does not have you racing and pushing your friends out of the way to get it. However, hearing the iPhone 7 has a new camera feature with a f1.8 aperture, new sensor and six element lens that allows brighter and more detailed photos probably just perked your interest. That’s because, as the Heath brothers point out in the SUCCESs formula, the description is concrete.

In this week’s chapter of Made to Stick, the brothers focused on how to have concrete messaging, which is also inevitably sticky. They brought up the fact that when people are able to relate to a concrete message or image, rather than abstract words and ideas, people are more likely to remember and care about what you have to say. Airbnb did a fantastic job at making an abstract thought concrete with their campaign to release a new logo. By taking an abstract word and forming it into a brand new symbol, representing the joining of people, places, love and the letter ‘A’, Airbnb was able to solidify what their symbol stands for: belonging.

Not only did the symbol itself transform abstract ideas, Airbnb went as far as to name the symbol, Belo, in order to further solidify the meanings behind it. The last sentence of their video brought all the ideas together to one final, visual and concrete statement about the symbol: where ever you see it, you’ll know you belong.

The response to the new symbol was not overwhelmingly positive, as sometimes (often) PR campaigns can run into. However, Airbnb responded with a sarcastic infographic about the responses they had received, which hit the nail on the head for last week’s blog about unexpected messages.


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