6 Ways to Make Your Ideas Stick with Marie Kondo (Tidying Up)


When you think “Spark Joy,” do you see an image of Marie Kondo? I do. Her success is quite amazing and in this video, we’ll be breaking down how her messaging and brand perfectly aligns with one of my favorite books, Made to Stick, by the Heath Brothers.

What We Covered


Marie kondo is an expert organizer and lifestyle coach. Organizing coach? That really a thing? Yes. 

Almost instantly her KonMari decluttering method became a darling of the lifestyle industry. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find dozens of evangelists recording their before and after videos showing the impact Marie Kondo has made in their lives. She’s also Googled over 200,000 times a month, which makes her the most popular authority for decluttering in organizing; words that I never thought I would have to say. 

Did you ever think there would be such a thing? I know I didn’t. So how did Marie Kondo become as synonymous to organizing as Dyson is to vacuum? 

I’m Christian Martin and today we’ll be looking at the success of Marie Kondo’s ideas through the lens of Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made To Stick. 

We’ll break down how Marie Kondo’s message fits perfectly into the six Made To Stick Principles to successfully spread her ideas and become remarkable at what she does. 

I’m talking about how she got millions of people all over the world to pay attention to decluttering and got her own Netflix show in the United States, even though she doesn’t speak English. And we’ll also cover how you can build an absolute empire out of anything. Even decluttering if your ideas are sticky enough.

So, I need to talk about the importance of Made To Stick by the Heath Brothers. I read this book about seven years ago and I absolutely hated it and I don’t know why I thought it was over simplistic as if the answer to success was found in complexity. Now, I reread it recently and I thought it was absolute genius seven years ago when I read it, I was broke and now I have a burgeoning online empire and I don’t think my reactions are coincidence. 

The authors of Made To Stick, Chip and Dan are masters of simple and concrete communication, which as it turns out is incredibly important if you want to be successful. Now the beauty of the book is that Chip and Dan Heath, uses all of the strategies they teach in their own writing. The book is a bit like The Matrix. Once you’ve been taught how to see the world through their Lens, you can’t unsee it.

It’s like taking the red pill of communication. So I’ll be using Marie Kondo as an example for each of the six principles you need to know. But if you want to go more in depth with Made To Stick, click the link down below and head over to my blog.

The six Made To Stick principles are called the s.u.c.c.e.s.s. model because good communication is simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and it involves stories. This is the exact model that I use to create winning ad campaigns that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if you’ve been trying and failing to gain traction with your business or your product, you’re going to want to pay attention.

Principle number one is simple.

Marie Kondo keeps her message simple. She helps her clients eliminate anything in their lives that does not spark joy. Now, how much simpler does it get? Does it spark joy? If yes, keep it, if no, get rid of it.

Her message is concrete and simple with no wiggle room for extra interpretation. The goal of finding your core message is to rid yourself of fluff and prune your idea to the absolute core while at the same time making sure it’s specific to your audience. So Marie Kondo’s message of spark joy speaks to an audience that is struggling emotionally to let go of the clutter they’ve acquired over years and years of buying stuff. 

At first I thought, “How can these people have so much stuff in their homes?” And then I realized, after enough time, it’s easy for any of us to end up like this. So Marie understands that humans take action or inaction because of emotional reasons and they tend to justify these reasons with logic. 

The way to get someone to take action or get rid of their clutter is to address the emotional side of the equation.

The idea of sparking joy does just that. Of course, we all logically wish that we could have less clutter, but when we use the Konmari method, we actually find ourselves taking action. Now, simple does not have to mean short, but it does help. 

What’s important is the single most important element of your message is clear and easy to understand. Let’s take a message from a fertilizer company. For example, here’s a typical mission statement or customer focused statement from a business:

Our mission is to become the global leader in premium cattle only fertilizer distribution by sourcing quality fertilizer from trusted farms, providing fast customer support and direct to consumer pricing.

It’s boring.

Just kill me. Now.

This is what most business messaging looks like and it is boring as hell. It’s no wonder that nobody pays attention to most people’s businesses. Now try this message again with the core message distilled into something memorable and easy to understand:

We sell quality bullshit without the bullshit price guaranteed.

Now, I don’t have to tell you which message will stick better, A or B. So this brings me to principle number two.

Principle number two is unexpected. To be unexpected is to break away from the everyday, the ordinary, the status quo. In the Internet marketing world, we experience mental opt-out when we see messages that we seen too many times, this used to be called banner blindness. 

Now the way to get around this is to use something called a pattern interrupt to utilize the element of surprise. Marie Kondo’s methods include weird things like thanking every pair of socks you’re getting rid of and kneeling on the ground to greet your home.

These aren’t the only things that make your idea sick, but the gestures of gratitude and appreciation are often unexpected in their surprise and a delight for people who have never experienced something like this before. 

So this may seem odd at first, but many people are able to let down their guard and participate because it’s entirely new to them. They don’t have any built up objections in their mind. 

Now, once I sticky idea grabs our attention, it refuses to let go. It’s almost impossible to forget about a sticky idea once you’ve experienced it, like saying thank you to your favorite t-shirt from college before sending it off to the Salvation Army.

Principle number three is concrete. Instead of describing joy as a chemical release in the brain, Marie compares sparking joy to holding it up.

People understand the joy of holding a puppy because it’s concrete and relatable. We’ve all been there before. So this reminds me of something in the online education world called the “curse of knowledge”. Now, it’s been said that the main difference between an expert and the novice is the curse of knowledge. 

Experts have the bad habit of describing things abstractly because they can process abstractions where layman cannot. People that aren’t experienced. 

In the book Made To Stick the author’s describe a national campaign with the goal of warning the public of the dangers of the entirely unhealthy makeup of movie popcorn. This was in the 90’s. 

Now a nutritionist might explain that movie popcorn contains 20 grams of trans fat in the warn the public to stay away, but the public has no idea what this means to them. Instead, a smart marketer decided to explain that movie popcorn contains more fat than a bacon and eggs dinner, a big Mac, fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings combined.

And then they put this in a visual form side by side with a bag of movie popcorn. This combination of things on the right movie popcorn on the left. Now the public understands. This campaign made by the Center for Science in the Public Interest caused Movie Theater popcorn sales to plumb it by 50%, literally striking fear into movie goers hearts. 

It also caused movie theaters to change how they made their popcorn and they started to use a healthier alternative with less trans fat. So if you can turn your abstractions into concrete examples. Your ideas have a lot better chance of sticking in the minds of your audience.

So principle number four is credible. Now if you can get just one recommendation from an extremely reliable source, your idea becomes almost instantly, completely credible. For instance, if your startup is accepted by Y Combinator, it’s very likely that you can be accepted by another startup accelerator.

Or if Gary Vaynerchuk says that your startup will be the next Uber, you’re going to get a lot of attention from media and investors, or if Marie Kondo features your closet company, Closets Closets Closets, on her show, chances are that you can leverage that for more sales. 

All of these examples are extremely difficult to achieve and also why they can create a ridiculous amount of credibility for you with just one source. Now going back to Marie Kondo, her credibility has garnered the attention from celebrities like Katie Couric, Stephen Colbert and Ellen Degeneres. 

But if you’re a smaller brand and you can’t find a celebrity or industry expert to endorse your product, just use your customers as an authority. Marie’s popular Netflix show, Tidying Up, picks real families, real American families who are just like you and I and puts them through the KonMari method. Each episode provides plenty of credibility, proof and testimonials for Marie’s methods.

Just search Konmari method before and after on YouTube and you’ll see hundreds of of evangelists praising Marie’s ideas and showing off their own before and after. 

Now these people aren’t celebrities, but just by telling the story of your customer, getting results with your product, you can leverage this idea of credibility. The third option here is to use what’s called anti authority. This is a classic direct response marketing technique. 

Let’s say for example, that you sell solar panels and you run an ad that says the power companies hate him. New Company finds a way to cut your electricity bill by 80% By positioning yourself against the established authority that may be out of favor with the public even you can create credibility of your own.

Principle number five is emotional. As much as we’d like to think we’re rational beings, let’s face it, humans often operate on primal emotion. Now, every episode of Tiding Up starts with a family struggling with organization. 

We see their day to day anxieties with a messy home and their logical desire for things to change. If they haven’t done anything to create the clean, organized home, they say they desire. 

So clearly being rational and decision by logic is not at play here. Now, I’m not here to condemn. It’s very easy to empathize because we’ve all struggled with the same problems. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one moving to a new city or the arrival of a baby, we can all understand that decluttering tends to take the back seat when life gets in the way. 

So how does Maria actually get people to make a change and finally declutter their home? Well, first she appeals to emotions. Marie knows logic isn’t enough to get us to take action. 

Next, Marie acknowledges that your belongings are representation of you and getting rid of clutter can sometimes feel like an assault to your identity. Have you ever tried to give up a favorite t-shirt from your past? 

Then you know what I’m talking about. She also has you take your belongings and say thank you to your belonging before getting rid of it and say thank you to your home to change your perspective about getting rid of things you don’t need by dealing with clutter on the emotional level. 

It’s genius.

Principle number six is stories. Last principle to make an idea sticky is the use of story, which is one of the most powerful elements you can bring into your branding and marketing. Stories can burn an idea into your mind and leave a permanent understanding of a concept.

During the 2014 Superbowl, Duracell, the battery company, created a commercial telling the story of Derrick Coleman. You know, Derrick isn’t NFL defensive player for the 2014 Seattle Seahawks. 

Derrick Coleman was born deaf and he faced a challenging life ahead of him trying to make it in the NFL. He was picked on for wearing hearing aids throughout his childhood. He was picked last and football for being disabled and he had to find ways to keep his hearing aids on when he started playing football in high school and college. 

People even told him it was impossible to become a professional football player, but he didn’t listen, no pun intended. 

He took his grit and determination and became a Super Bowl Champion. Now, Duracell could have easily explained that they’re the best, longest lasting batteries in the market, but instead they took a real human story with emotion and showed how battery powered hearing aids help Derrick Coleman become a professional football player against all odds.

Now, if you’re intimidated by the prospect of coming up with a great story for your company, don’t worry. Most good stories are collected and discovered rather than made from thin air. 

Duracell didn’t just make up a story about their batteries, they found an effective story out in the real world to show why Duracell batteries are important to the growth and success of people and more importantly, their customer base. For Marie Kondo, every episode of Tiding Up is a story of a real family, bettering their lives with Marie condo’s message and techniques. 

They aren’t actor’s. This isn’t a film set. We follow their journey within their own home and see their struggles and triumphs to become better people. Marie Kondo uses a few key elements to develop engaging stories for her readers and viewers. She creates a sense of mystery in the shows and you wonder how is this going to end?

So in episode four of the series we watch a grieving widow clean out her husband’s closet and we want to know, is the widow going to go through with it and how is this going to affect her? 

The goal is to get your audience asking: what’s going to happen next? Marie Kondo’s message has sold 4 million copies of her books getting over 45 million views on her youtube channel, created her own Netflix show and impacted the lives of millions of people in large part due to the stickiness of her ideas and the adherence to all six of these principles.

She simplified her ideas to the court with spark joy. She created an unexpected and surprising steps by thanking the clothes. She made her message concrete and she built credibility with real human testimonials, celebrity endorsements and she transferred her message through real story and human emotions. Now, before I end this video, I have a test for you:

Remember my fertilizer company example from the beginning? Without going back to rewatch principle number one, write that second message, I created it in the comments below. 

I only mentioned it one time, so I’m curious if the message was sticky. If you comment correctly, great. If you didn’t tell me why. What was the message missing? I hope you can use what you learn in this video to make your next big idea a little more sticky so you can get your message out to millions. 

If you want to learn how to use the s.u.c.c.e.s. method to create ad campaigns for your business, that will capture the heart and mind of your market, that will spark joy in your own unique way, check out my free training at ChristianMartin.org. To get more of these marketing breakdowns, hit the like and subscribe button below right now. Just do it. 

You’re going to love it, and I’ll see you in the next video.


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