Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

  • Simon Schuster

The New York Times bestseller that explains why certain products and ideas become popular. “Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information ‘go viral’ than anyone in the world” (Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness).

What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rum

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  1. Jim Williams, Influitive
    152 of 162 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fascinating read for marketers trying to unlock the secrets to viral success, March 12, 2013
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    Jonah Berger’s Contagious is a fascinating read. Not only is the book packed with entertaining examples of viral campaigns, but each is backed with painstaking analysis into the science of social transmission. What you end up with is a veritable blueprint for creating ideas, campaigns and messages that spread like wildfire.
    There are six essential factors that contribute to contagious ideas, shows Jonah, and a quick look at some of the most successful viral campaigns reveals each of them at work:

    Social currency. We share things that make us look good or help us compare favorably to others. Exclusive restaurants utilize social currency all the time to create demand.

    Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Like parasites, viral ideas attach themselves to top of mind stories, occurrences or environments. For example, Mars bar sales spiked when in 1997 when NASA’s Pathfinder mission explored the red planet.

    Emotion. When we care, we share. Jonah analyzed over six months of data from the New York Times most emailed list to discover that certain high arousal emotions can dramatically increase our need to share ideas – like the outrage triggered by Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” video.

    Public. People tend to follow others, but only when they can see what those others are doing. There is a reason why baristas put money in their own tip jar at the beginning of a shift. Ideas need to be public to be copied.

    Practical. Humans crave the opportunity to give advice and offer tips (one reason why advocate marketing works – your best customers love to help out), but especially if they offer practical value. It’s why we `pay it forward’ and help others. Sharing is caring.

    Stories – People do not just share information, they tell stories. And stories are like Trojan horses, vessels that carry ideas, brands, and information. To benefit the brand, stories must not only be shared but also relate to a sponsoring company’s products. Thus the epic failure of viral sensations like Evian’s roller baby video (50M views) that did little to stem Evian’s 25% drop in sales.

    There is so much this book offers marketers, making it required reading that follows in the footsteps of Malcolm Gladwell and the Heath brothers. It also perfectly demonstrates why advocate marketing is such a powerful idea for modern marketers. Viral campaigns eschew overt marketing messages by cleverly tapping into consumer wants, desires and emotional needs. Similarly, advocate marketing helps marketers reach audiences through a more effective and trusted means than direct messaging. We share our experiences because that act enhances our personal and professional reputation and makes us feel good. When marketers tap into these very human needs, they can reach a much broader audience with a more genuine message than any advertisement can provide.

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  2. 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Do you ever wonder why some advertisements are so annoying and corny, October 16, 2016
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    This review is from: Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Paperback)
    Do you ever wonder why some advertisements are so annoying and corny? Many of us imagine that ad writers lack our higher level of taste. How is it that some important news stories are ignored, while a video of a grandmother dancing drunk on the table gets millions of views? In his award-winning, New York Times best seller Contagious Why Things Catch On, author Jonah Berger gives countless real-life examples of the mysterious methods employed to capture the logic defying attention of the masses. The chapter on social currency describes how you can yoke your product to your customers desire to improve their image making word-of-mouth, and web, your best form of marketing. Next he explains how subconscious triggers lead to surprising results. One example is the horrible book review that leads to thousands more copies sold. Directly manipulating the emotions is another strategy. What sells more, happy emotions or sad? The answer is according to Contagious is both, as long as it is emotional arousal, anxiety, anger, or bright joy. The chapter on the public is all about how to make people show your logo everywhere. Good old-fashioned practical value is also described as we love to share those genuine life hacks with our friends and family. If we believe we can help others save time or money, we will spread the word. Finally we learn the power of narrative. If we can tie a product or service to a good story, then we ride the waves of idle chatter. The author peppers his lessons with juicy examples that are surprising and interesting. Overall the book will change the way you see viral marketing and communication in our modern age and is genuinely fun to read.
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