Tag Archives: dan-heath

A “Felt Need” Is What Makes Us Buy

A “felt need” is what dif­fer­en­ti­ates a vit­am­in from an aspir­in: when we crave some­thing (relief from pain), a product that sat­is­fies that desire becomes a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Real­ising this and re-fram­ing a product in terms of this crav­ing is an import­ant step in ensur­ing a pro­duct’s suc­cess, say Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the excel­lent Switch and Made to Stick.

Becom­ing aware of this idea is what led to the suc­cess of Net­flix and NetApp… as well as the demise of count­less oth­er com­pan­ies. In a brief art­icle describ­ing how re-fram­ing a nice-to-have product as a must-have is all about dis­cov­er­ing and exploit­ing a spe­cif­ic “felt need”, the Heaths look at Ray Bards failed attempt at get­ting his “vit­am­in” book pub­lished and how real­iz­ing this idea of a felt need led him to become a suc­cess­ful pub­lish­er.

If entre­pren­eurs want to suc­ceed […] they’d bet­ter be selling aspir­in rather than vit­am­ins. Vit­am­ins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspir­in cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. […]

That aspir­in qual­ity is what Bard now looks for in a book. He says that suc­cess­ful books address a deep “felt need” – that is, read­ers hun­ger for the answers the book provides. Clas­sic examples would be diet books, per­son­al-fin­ance books, and books that prom­ise you mega suc­cess if you’ll just radi­ate pos­it­ive energy to the uni­verse, indic­at­ing your receptiv­ity to mega suc­cess. Bard has become a tal­en­ted diviner of felt need. Fully half of the books that he pub­lishes become best sellers. […]

You’ve heard the old say­ing “If you invent a bet­ter mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Don’t bet on it. The world’s felt need isn’t for a bet­ter mousetrap. It’s for a dead mouse. […]

When engin­eers or mar­keters or entre­pren­eurs get too close to their products, it’s easy to mis­take a vit­am­in for an aspir­in. If your team is flirt­ing with delu­sion, a little love might point you in the right dir­ec­tion.

Six Principles of ‘Sticky’ Ideas

In an excerpt from Made to Stick, broth­ers Dan and Chip Heath provide an out­line of the six prin­ciples of cre­at­ing ‘sticky’ ideas:

  • Sim­pli­city: “We must be mas­ters of exclu­sion. We must relent­lessly pri­or­it­ize. […] Pro­verbs are the ideal. We must cre­ate ideas that are both simple and pro­found. The Golden Rule is the ulti­mate mod­el of sim­pli­city: a one-sen­tence state­ment so pro­found that an indi­vidu­al could spend a life­time learn­ing to fol­low it.”
  • Unex­pec­ted­ness: “We need to viol­ate people’s expect­a­tions. We need to be coun­ter­in­tu­it­ive. […] For our idea to endure, we must gen­er­ate interest and curi­os­ity. […] We can engage people’s curi­os­ity over a long peri­od of time by sys­tem­at­ic­ally “open­ing gaps” in their know­ledge — and then filling those gaps.”
  • Con­crete­ness: “We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sens­ory inform­a­tion.”
  • Cred­ib­il­ity: “Sticky ideas have to carry their own cre­den­tials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for them­selves — a ‘try before you buy’ philo­sophy for the world of ideas.”
  • Emo­tions: “How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel some­thing. […] We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstrac­tions.”
  • Stor­ies: “How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stor­ies. […] Research shows that men­tally rehears­ing a situ­ation helps us per­form bet­ter when we encounter that situ­ation in the phys­ic­al envir­on­ment. Sim­il­arly, hear­ing stor­ies acts as a kind of men­tal flight sim­u­lat­or, pre­par­ing us to respond more quickly and effect­ively.”

via @contentini

Scaling Success and Bright-Spot Analysis

When there is a large-scale and wide-ran­ging prob­lem that needs a solu­tion, we should­n’t attempt to solve it with an equally large solu­tion but instead attempt to break the issue down and find outly­ing suc­cesses to rep­lic­ate.

That’s the wis­dom of Dan and Chip Heath–authors of Made to Stick and Switch–say­ing that to solve com­plex prob­lems we should change our way of think­ing to ‘bright-spot’ ana­lys­is and attempt to scale small suc­cesses.

That’s the first step to fix­ing everything from addic­tion to cor­por­ate mal­aise to mal­nu­tri­tion. A prob­lem may look hope­lessly com­plex. But there’s a game plan that can yield move­ment on even the toughest issues. And it starts with loc­at­ing a bright spot – a ray of hope. […]

Our ration­al brain has a prob­lem focus when it needs a solu­tion focus. If you are a man­ager, ask your­self, What is the ratio of the time you spend solv­ing prob­lems versus scal­ing suc­cesses?

We need to switch from archae­olo­gic­al prob­lem solv­ing to bright-spot evan­gel­iz­ing. […] Even in fail­ure there is suc­cess. […]

These flashes of suc­cess, these bright spots, can provide our road map for action – and the hope that change is pos­sible.

via @Ando_F