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What does John F. Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon have to do with personal branding?

A lot it turns out, according to Chip Heath and his brother, Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

The new book has been getting a lot of buzz online and off and for good reason. It’s the perfect personal branding manifesto.

Getting back to Kennedy for a minute, the authors contend that his challenge of "Let’s put a man on the moon in the decade" is a great example of what they call stickiness. Or we would call personal branding. As the Health brothers explain:. The Kennedy challenge is a simple message. Even a child can understand it. Yet at the same time it’s unexpected. Who in the early sixties would have thought about getting a man on the moon. It’s also concrete. There’s no denying what the end result is to be.

The authors have developed a formula for stickiness (no they are not in the glue business) that they call SUCCESs. It stands for simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and story and is a great way to think of personal branding.

Think about it. How do you get people to remember what you do?

• You need to have an easily understandable message.
• It needs to separate you from the pack of other people doing what you do.
• You need to be credible and passionate about what you do.
• And, lastly, if you can tie all the pieces together into examples and anecdotes that showcase what you do you have the makings of a great sales pitch. Not to mention a good story.

Now shoot your way to the moon. But before launching, I'd love to hear how you're doing that.

Wendy Marx • Public Relations/Marketing Communications • President, Marx Communications, Inc. •

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