Made to Stick: Chapter 3- Implementing ideas that are concrete

Not all ideas are created equal and not all equal ideas “stick” the same way.  In order to understand how ideas last, it is important to understand how they are implemented.  Implementation is important because often times it is not a matter of what is most useful but what idea makes most sense to the consumer. Concrete ideas make sense to people because they are easy to understand and imagine; often described in a way that is visual (have a lasting image) and easy to dissect (less abstract).


A concrete idea is not one mystified with weird facts and figures. Let’s take for instance the following example, “Movie popcorn has 20 g of fat”. How does one interpret that statement? What is 20 grams equal to? Is 20 grams a small amount? Compared to what? On the other hand, a concrete example would be “Movie popcorn contains more fat than a bacon-and eggs dinner, a big Mac, and fries for lunch and steak dinner with all the trimmings combined”


Now that is something that resonates with the average American!  I love popcorn, and the latter statement immediately made me reconsider my future popcorn consumption.


Implementing concrete ideas are important because they are direct and therefore have more impact on future behavior. This simple concept can be applied in a myriad of ways.

From ensuring people have better information and access to community resources to better quality of services; using concrete ideas and messages can help achieve that.

Sometimes it is as easy as having customers call one direct line to refer them to a needed service, rather than figure out for themselves where the Emergency Food pantry is located. A concrete way of implanting this message can be something along the lines of “All community services, just a phone call away” or “5 minutes: the time it takes you to connect to community resources” The easier we make the delivery and implementation of health and social services, the better outcomes we will see.

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