Indian weddings have some peculiar customs, one being about a tattoo called ‘Mehendi’. The bride must get a Mehendi on her hands and legs before the wedding.

But hold on… wouldn’t this tattoo be a problem later? Which bride would want to live with a big permanent tattoo on her hands and legs?

Well, the Mehendi is different from other tattoos. It gets washed away within a few days. Unlike a permanent tattoo, the Mehendi doesn’t stick.

As Marketers, however, we want to be able to tell a story that sticks. We live in a world as noisy as a metal band playing at 200% capacity. And the only way of earning the trust of our tribe is by telling stories that get noticed and remembered.

A sticky story is hard to create

But there are ways in which we can intentionally add ‘stickiness’ to the story. In this article, let’s look at 3 different ways of doing just that.


i. Give it a physical location

We want to put the reader in a physical location instead of an abstract start. Where is your story happening? Can you describe the location?

Describing the location makes it easy for the reader to imagine how the story unfolds. A movie starts in their head.

Don’t just say, “George was worried”.

Instead, put George in a cafe. Or under a tree. Or in his bedroom. On a beach. Tell me about his surroundings.

“George sat in his office cabin, staring blankly through the window. The noisy traffic was a nice distraction from his worry.”


ii. Show, don’t tell

Remember, you have to make the story easy for your audience. Give them all the answers on a plate.


They don’t want the answer on a plate. They want to be able to put 2+2 together. The audience loves ‘the chase’.

Instead of ‘telling’ them… we want to ‘show’ them. And then gently let them go so that they can come to a conclusion by themselves.


Here are 4 statements that gradually graduate from ‘telling’ to ‘showing’.

1. “We are good at our work.”

This statement holds little value. The credibility is low. And while Marketers like to tell everyone ‘we are the best’, this is a really poor way of conveying the message. Could there be a better way?

2. “Our clients love us.”

This is better than the previous one. Here, at least, I am making an attempt to convey that my clients like my work. This, too, however, is very common.

3. “Here’s what one of our clients said”

Okay, seems that we are now getting there. Testimonials are great. Slowly, I am shifting from telling to showing – I am showing what our client is saying about us. But is there a way in which I can make this even better?

4. “Here’s the screenshot of a conversation between my client and me”

Boom! There you have it. The ultimate way of showing and not telling. We are letting the reader see the actual conversation and join the dots. I am not saying ‘I am the best’. I am simply showing you what my client said to me.


iii. Specificity > Generality

In their book ‘Made to Stick,’ Chip and Dan Heath teach us that concrete stories stick. Vague details are lost. Specific details are remembered.

Specificity, it seems, helps the human mind to visualize, connect and remember a story.

Instead of saying, “I went to a fast food restaurant for a meal,” you can say, “I went to Mac Donald’s for lunch.”

Instead of saying, “I love playing sports,” you can say, “I love playing badminton.”

How can I implement all these tomorrow?

Maybe you can’t. All these methods need practice. Trying to use all of them at the same time would be overwhelming. My recommendation is – to pick one. And tomorrow, when you publish that article, just ensure one of these approaches is implemented.

With time, your story will be sticky. But initially, it may be like the ‘Mehendi’ on the bride’s hand.