The RIBS Test

Authors Note: All frameworks have moved to a new home at Strategy Umwelt. Please join me at this new platform for a revised list of mental models, strategy frameworks and principles including a revised version of the RIBS Test.

The RIBS test is a simple framework designed to help make a message that resonates (in short, "stick to your ribs"). From startups to traditional brands, creating a compelling message is critical to getting press, finding customers, raising funding or hiring the best people, so you need to ensure the message is as compelling as possible.

(Credit to this framework goes to Caryn Maroony, Vice President Technology Communications Facebook).

Let's break it down.

The RIBS Test.

The RIBS Test.


Who is your audience? Is your company solving a problem they care about? What matters to your audience about the problem? Why does your solution deserve their attention?

Gain attention can be hard, and gaining relevance can be even harder. This should be a key priority in your positioning, and help spark interest. 


Being inevitable is like having a gust of wind at your back. If it doesn't seem like whatever trend or initiative you are a part of will come to pass, you will be perceived as fighting against the wind.

People should feel that whatever you are developing is inevitable. If it seems like these actions make intrinsic sense, you will create a sense of momentum.


You can be relevant, and your product may seem inevitable, but you may not be believed. You need to ensure your message convinces people that you will be the ones to make it happen and can deliver on your goals.


Apply the KISS principle. There is too much clutter and noise, so get to the simplest essence of your statement. 

What is the one line you want people to remember? You only get one.


The RIBS test is a simple sense check for any important message or positioning. Use it as a guide, and craft simple, relevant statements that cut through and create momentum.

A revised version of this mental model is available at Strategy Umwelt.