Monday, April 4, 2016

Sticky (21) Boston Strong

Just read the article about the Boston Strong banner being displayed on the final stretch of the 120th Boston Marathon next week.  When I read that I got just a bit teary. You know the story, two college students, Nicholas Reynolds and Chris Dobens, came up with the idea of the t-shirts, published it on Facebook and by the time the smoke cleared, earned almost a million dollars for charity. Some claim the phrase is losing steam, but I beg to differ, so does the One Fund.

In the words of Howard Fineman, "Today, rescuers were running toward the wounded on Boylston Street in acts of true heroism -- running toward the sound of the screams.

In the end, the terrorists will fail because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men -- they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind."

Proof that "Boston Strong" is sticky? Easy, almost nobody you meet remembers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but everyone remembers Boston Strong.

The reason I think this is "sticky"(Simple/Unexpected/Concrete/Credible/Emotional)" 

  • Simple: Blue and Yellow, block letters. There are other renditions of course, but this is the core.
  • Unexpected: Two college students, near instant turnaround, it went viral. No way to see that coming.
  • Concrete: "Concrete details allow us to imagine a scene and, crucially, imagine ourselves in it." [] I have the slogan as a refrigerator magnet and reflect on the heroics and strength of the people of Boston every time I see it.
  • Credible: This is what they call internal credibility, "Internal credibility is the ability of our ideas themselves to convince through an appeal to our audience’s sense of how the world works and how they see it." [] It is credible! The rescuers ran towards the screams.
  • Emotional: Here is an article with just five of the heroes of the bombing. Feel more than a bit teary? Of course you do. Me too. 

(Stephen Northcutt is the conference chair of SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6. Boston is one of his favorite cities. He is also, as you can see from this blog, a student of stickiness and curious about why some ideas stick while others don't.)

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