"Keep the Change." This was the tag line of Bank of America's 2005 initiative to get their clients to save more. Here's the story behind the phrase:
Bank of America approached IDEO, a global design consultancy firm, with the problem of how to entice more people to open accounts. IDEO conducted observations across the country with the bank's innovation team to identify the target demographic: baby-boomer women with children. Then they came up with an idea: "the service rounds up purchases made with a Bank of America Visa debit card to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference from individuals’ checking accounts into their savings accounts." The idea was great, but it needed a tag line that would stick. That's where the phrase "Keep the Change" came in. It's catchy, clear, and easy to remember. And it was amazingly successful. Within a year of its release, the customer base went up by 2.5 million people who opened more than 700,000 checking accounts and 1,000,000 saving accounts.
This story was one of the many that Frank Dust, Ingrid Fetell, and Hailey Brewer of IDEO told in their presentation on garnering shareholder support at our half day training event yesterday, NextGen+. The "Keep the Change" story illustrates one of their 9 tips for getting support for your ideas. Their big takeaway message was this: Storytelling is what sells ideas. If you don't believe me, read these tips below and see if they convince you:
The 9 Tips for Storytelling:
1. A great story will trump facts
Maybe this is a sad reality, but the sooner we embrace this the sooner we can leverage stories to pitch our ideas. Think about all the rumors and myths that persist even when the truth is known.
2. Editing is power
Be bold with your word choices. It matters how you package your idea.
3. Plant a hero image
Make your words and images stick. An image can speak for itself, and people will remember it better than text.
4. Write like you talk
People like to read things that other people wrote. So sound human, add some humor, sarcasm, wit, and informality to your writing.
5. Feed people lines
This brings us back to our "Keep the Change" tag line. It says a lot without being verbose. If you give your idea a name, people will talk about it more. Think of how much these ideas gained traction with catchy wording: Obamacare, war on terror, go green, global warming.. the list goes on.
6. Pitching ideas is theater, so get good at stage craft
Just like in theater, some people get to be the leads, and some get to be the extras in the background. If there's someone in your organization that's great at storytelling, let them take the lead.
7. Invoke empathy
Create an experience at a visceral level. It will make your audience feel for your idea and remember it.
8. Build to learn
Watch how users engage with your idea. Build your idea off of their reactions to it.
9. Enlist creativity
Disrupt the dynamic in the room. Get people to think and see your idea in a new way.
Have you had an idea that you successfully pitched? How did you do it?
Do any of these resonate with you?