Principles from the book “Made To Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath

Principle 1: Simple
Simplicity is about prioritisation – and saying a lot with a little. Consider Hollywood pitches (Speed is ‘Die Hard on a bus’, according to the Heath brothers) or the inverted pyramid, a newswriting technique where the most important information comes first. Too many messages confuse your audience, which is why you need to identify what really matters first. Simple really is effective when it comes to storytelling.
Principle 2: Unexpected
What are Saturn’s rings made of?’ This question is an example of what the Heath brothers call ‘a curiosity gap’. It’s a useful trick to keep your audience’s attention. Unexpected information or images will always catch our attention. To succeed in drawing your audience’s attention, marketers must break common patterns. Let’s say you’re arranging a picnic. We often eat our picnic on a blanket outside in the sun. If we’d want to break that expectation, we could instead arrange a picnic where we eat ants or sit inside a gigantic picnic basket. You get the point. To create the unexpected, take advantage of curiosity gaps and push your audience to think about things in a new way.
Principle 3: Concrete
Using sensory language to paint a vivid mental picture will help your audience engage with your story. ‘A bathtub full of ice-cold water’ is easy to visualise and may even give your reader a slight chill. Equally, we all remember J.F. Kennedy’s speech about landing a man on the moon, as well as Aesop’s Fables, which teach abstract moral lessons through specific and colourful stories. The more concrete our stories, the stickier they become.
Principle 4: Credible
It’s a fact universally acknowledged that for your audience to believe your story, it must be credible. One way of establishing credibility is to rely on experts and statistics. But there are other ways to do it. A classic marketing approach is to offer a free trial period. That way, your customers can decide if the product or service works for them. Word-of-mouth is a lot more credible than your own self-promotion.In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers emphasise that you must put numbers in everyday terms that are easy for the audience to understand and relate to – this helps make your argument more powerful and lends more weight to your message. Instead of referring to $3, for example, perhaps refer to the price of a cup of coffee. Wikipedia and many other brands apply this ‘human scale principle’ to their own very successful marketing strategies.
Principle 5: Emotional
To make a story stick, give people a reason to care. Mother Teresa once observed: “If I look at the one, I will act. If I look at the mass, I will not.” Emotional storytelling involves identifying deeper motivations and highlighting individual stories. After all, people make decisions in two ways: either they act out of rational self-interest (the so-called ‘consequence’ model) or they base their decisions on their identity (the so-called ‘identity’ model). Who am I? What situation am I in? How does a person like me act in this kind of situation? At the end of the 1980s, Texas Transport Department ran a campaign to reduce littering on highways. ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ became a successful campaign because it convinced Texan locals (particularly men aged 18-35) that littering went against their very identity. Between 1986 to 1990, there was a 72 per cent drop in littering. Impressive stuff.
Principle 6: Story

Stories work like flight simulators for your brain: they both instruct and inspire. Research shows that when people share stories, they also teach each other valuable lessons. Think about hospital nurses sharing ward round experiences or construction workers discussing common mistakes. Listening, the audience thinks about how they’d handle the situation if the same thing happened to them – explaining in turn why storytelling is such a valuable tool for learning.

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Applying the principles above , transform the following story into a fun and lively screenplay.

Upon hearing that the local indigenous predator was in the neighborhood in the act of prowling and in search of food, the oldest in age of three pigs made the decision to make some modifications to his domicile. While his male siblings perpetuated their inactive lifestyles by experiencing all sorts of fun activities like dancing and ice hockey, he maximized his efforts and worked hard to rebuild his house with bricks. His efforts were the cause of much laughter for the other two pigs. His house was mocked by them over and over, repeatedly, but he refused to give heed to them. When the time came and the wolf appeared, the other two pigs, who tried to hide in houses of hay and sticks, received an unexpected surprise and quickly became fast food for the hungry wolf, who hadn’t eaten in days. But the wolf, continuing to experience hunger, was not satisfied, so he made the decision to visit the third pig as well and give him an invitation to join him for dinner. The wolf was not aware that the pig had been diligently and faithfully working to fortify his home. When the wolf tried to gain entrance by using his nose to blow the house down with a huffing and puffing action, he quickly became the victim of a depleted supply of oxygen to his cerebrum and lost all sense of consciousness. The pig was triumphant in the end and beat the wolf with the use of a hard work ethic and a big, large stick.

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