Contagious: Why Things Catch On - Jonah Berger

Contagious: Why Things Catch On - Jonah Berger

Understand step by step how to make your messages and products more contagious, and learn the necessary techniques to spread your ideas among people.

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If you want your product or service to be the most talked about topic in the city - or even the Internet - do not just rely on advertising. People rely more on the opinions of their friends and acquaintances than on paid promotions.

Your challenge is to get what you offer on the tip of people's tongue.

In the book "Contagious", marketing expert Jonah Berger explains why some subjects are scattered around the world while others are ignored.

The solutions he offers go beyond social networking, using Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as tools to make your product a subject that everyone wants to discuss.

Are you curious? Follow this article to understand the author's ideas!

About the book "Contagious"

"Contagious: Why Things Catch On" (2013) examines what makes a product, idea, or behavior likely viralized, be shared by many people.

The author Jonah Berger argues that the reason some products and ideas are very popular, is far from lucky. This comes from a combination of intelligent planning and competent execution.

About the author Jonah Berger

Jonah Berger is a PhD in marketing and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Being a specialist in social influence, marketing word of mouth and viral marketing, he has advised some of the largest companies in the world, such as Apple and Google.

To whom is this book indicated?

The content of the book "Contagious" is intended for anyone who wants to make their products or ideas contagious, and for anyone who wants to understand how certain topics become so popular and not others.

Main ideas of the book "Contagious"

  • To promote your product, service or idea, you must generate "social contagion" - voluntary conversations that spread an idea;
  • Every day people talk about products and brands, with 93% of these conversations being done in an offline context;
  • The six "contagion principles" that determine whether people will talk about your product.

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[Book Summary] Contagious - Jonah Berger

Overview: Preface - Hot or Not?

To begin with, the author Jonah Berger shows us the advantages of creating a contagious product or idea.

When a product, idea or subject becomes the new topic of discussion, it means it has gained "social contagion".

This condition is very positive and can happen spontaneously. For example, a newly built church can generate great interest within a community, just as a political figure can inspire people to get involved in their cause.

For an advertiser, however, making your product popular among people is a more arduous task.

Articles can become a trend if they outperform their competitors, if they are cheaper, or if their campaigns are smarter and more effective. But only those elements are not enough to explain why some items become contagious and others not so much.

Word of mouth means a wave of communication that happens when people talk to their acquaintances about a product or brand. It can promote better advertising than an extremely expensive campaign.

Social influence is more convincing than a paid statement, in addition to being more targeted.

Usually, someone who discovers and likes a new product tells someone about it, especially if they believe that this other person will also like the product.

This wave of communication has the advantages of being ubiquitous and cheap: you do not need a computer or Internet connection to participate. As 93% of these conversations happen offline, do not believe that social networking should be your only strategy.

Your goal is to develop "contagious content": viral ideas and issues that proliferate regardless of who distributes them. You need to understand the motives that drive people to talk about ideas, products, or causes, and how to bring that conversation to your product.

According to the book "Contagious", to achieve this, you must put six "contagion principles" into practice.

Overview: Principle 1 - "Social Currency"

The first principle explains the concept of social currency and how to use it to make your product reach remarkable.

The author Jonah Berger says that a certain product can become social currency from the moment it is shared by the users, so that other people can be interested in what they saw.

Therefore, the important thing is to make it meaningful so that everyone feels good while using their products and ideas and, with that, to return in the future.

Think of ways in which your product can acquire remarkableness. What aspect or characteristic makes it different from the competition? How can you differentiate yourself from the standard people expect?

The airline JetBlue, for example, offers its customers more room for individual legs, snacks and screens. These perks are not expected coming from an airline with the low cost policy.

These differentials are offered in an attempt to make people remember the company and go back to doing business in the future.

It is also important to engage your customers in loyalty programs, offering rewards to those who return.

This strategy is interesting because this award mechanics allows its consumers contains about it for their acquaintances, making them potential customers. In addition, it brings buyers to the brand because such programs make the person feel special.

It is worth mentioning that when customers report what happened to someone, the product is automatically promoted.

Overview: Principle 2 - Triggers

Probably you've heard about triggers, but mental triggers are meant to allow your brain to function better without overloading information.

They serve to link one thing to another, that is, when we talk about one thing, we automatically remember another, making that connection between them, and thereby increasing their persuasiveness in negotiating their sales.

People tend to talk more about things in their daily lives than sporadic events.

The author Jonah Berger clarifies in his book, "Contagious", that people talk about products, brands and organizations often - on average, 16 times a day. Given this behavior, why do some products end up being more discussed?

To find out, advertisers should conduct extensive research on what happens when a word of mouth begins. But do they happen only after a trigger is triggered or continue to occur in a lasting way?

Immediate word of mouth happens when you use a product or have an experience with it. The continuous word of mouth go for a long time.

A trigger can come up unexpectedly, occurring often in the environment that involves your product or idea.

As an example, sales of the Kit Kat chocolate rose a lot when an advertising campaign linked a bar of that chocolate with a cup of coffee.

To evaluate the effectiveness of a trigger, consider the following factors:

  • How often does the trigger occur?
  • How strong is the connection between the trigger and your product?
  • Is the trigger part of your product environment?
  • What is your geographical location?
  • What is the time of year?

Overview: Principle 3 - Emotion

As explained by the author Jonah Berger, people tend to talk about things that move their feelings. A subject becomes viralized when it affects a feeling. And that is the subject matter covered in this overview.

The range of emotions can affect people so that they promote a subject to a "viral status". While the admiration is a positive emotion, negative emotions (such as anger and anxiety) also motivate people to talk.

A subject of great excitement, such as fun, promotes the impetus in people to share that experience. Although the publicity tries not to evoke negative emotions, these emotions can be effective in some cases.

According to the book "Contagious", an example of this is campaigns that encourage people to stop smoking. Whatever sentiment you may evoke, emotions usually inspire actions. Therefore, it is important to master the art of storytelling.

Overview: Principle 4 - Public

This principle has to do with visibility. Let's explain how this influences the recognition of your brand.

People with the tendency to follow other people's recommendations do more so when such recommendations are more visible.

Steve Jobs made use of this theory. According to him, the logo on an Apple notebook should not be turned to the user, but to the people who are around it.

This visibility stimulated those around with the pretense of buying an Apple product upon seeing the logo. In Psychology, this phenomenon is called "social proof".

People generally receive a lot of information and tend to follow other people's choices when making their own choices.

In order for you to achieve greater visibility, you need to practice the following actions:

Make the public private

The author Jonah Berger states in his book, "Contagious", that you must turn your cause into an item or event that attracts public attention and inspires dialogue.

An example of such an application is the campaign by a prostate cancer foundation that asks men to let their mustaches grow in the month of November. This strategy increases attention and dialogue about the cause.

Employ "behavioral residue"

Choose a campaign or tactic that lasts for a long time. The Livestrong Foundation realized that wristbands would create a more lasting concern for cancer than a one-day bike ride involving Lance Armstrong.

Even with the negative publicity generated by the athlete 's doping did not drive the audience away from the foundation or the bracelets. The organization emphasized that the athlete's behavior did not affect his mission to fight cancer.

When you want to change negative behavior, you run certain risks when trying to turn the private into public.

The campaign anti-drug in the United States called "Just Say No" failed because it raised awareness of the younger people in relation to other young people who were using drugs.

This action resulted in peer pressure and, in addition, offered social proof of drug use altogether. To avoid such repercussions in a campaign against negative behavior, you must emphasize a positive substitute for that behavior.

Overview: Principle 5 - Practical Value

Principle 5 of the book "Contagious" talks about the price of products.

Information with practical applicability spreads quickly with word of mouth, as people like to help your acquaintances. Offer them a novelty that other people can also use.

Such practical information can be simple tips such as a cooking advice or a way to analyze if a certain product is at a good price.

At a time when individuals are judging a promotion, they need to rely on a mental point of reference. For example, older people remember when cinema ticket prices were lower and, therefore, less tolerant of paying higher prices than sold currently.

In low value products, the discounts presented in percentage appear to be more advantageous. On the other hand, the more expensive items, with discounts in gross amounts, draw more attention.

Overview: Principle 6 - Stories

To conclude the book "Contagious", Jonah Berger introduces us the importance of creating and telling a story about your product.

To get people to pay attention and talk about your product, it's important to put it inside a narrative. A story bin short arouses interest of the individual and has greater influence than an advertisement, be it simple or well reformulated.

In natural communication, people usually tell more stories than they share data. For example, if you found a promotion, you're probably going to tell your whole experience as a consumer by recommending that promotion to a friend, which is called storytelling.

This is because people think of narrative forms. People remember past stories and rarely tend to contradict them, as is often the case with commercials.

To be interesting, your stories should be fun and creative. Make sure your interlocutors understand it and can associate it with your brand.

What do other authors say about it?

Daniel H. Pink, author of the book "A Whole New Mind", says that product design and empathy go hand in hand. This is because the professional who thinks about product design must also think about who will consume the product.

"Dotcom Secrets" is a work that reveals the secrets of digital marketing. Russell Brunson shows the importance of creating an attractive character. This concept involves finding ways to share your story, making it engaging and getting people to follow you because they find a personal connection.

Finally, the work "The Digital Marketing Bible", by Cláudio Torres, illustrates the main concepts of the world of digital marketing and shows how to use the internet to leverage your business.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

According to the author Jonah Berger, you can put these six ideas into practice without much investment.

If your brand is able to make your customers feel important, it constantly appears in your media and allows your feelings to be reached, this will make it highly visible, useful and above all it will carry a good story.

With this, it becomes contagious among those interested!

Did you like this summary of the book "Contagious"?

We hope you enjoyed our summary and are able to make your messages and products more contagious by following the teachings of author Jonah Berger. Leave your opinion in the comments, your feedback is very important to us!

In addition, to learn more about the content, purchase the book by clicking on the image below:

Book “Contagious”