We are currently living in the internet era. Words like views, likes, shares, viral, online, offline, etc. in relation to social media, are well known. It is the dream of an entrepreneur and a digital marketer, to have their brand, product, idea, ad, or any other creative, go viral and garner millions of views.
Jonah Berger, tells you the strategy or trick to achieving just that - how to virally spread your message, get people to talk about it and share it within their social circle – or in one word, how to make your brand Contagious.
An entrepreneur or marketing person always has this one thing that drives their every professional action – how to grab the attention of the consumer with regards to their product or service offering.
Big budgets are allocated and spent on marketing just to grab customer eyeballs. Sadly, most marketing campaigns falter and rarely manage to create the right kind of buzz around their products, services, causes and ideas.
They spend millions of dollars on hit or miss marketing, to attain this goal. Berger’s well researched book, Contagious, is a fantastic marketing book to this very purpose. It gives clarity on why some products, ideas, services, videos, songs, etc become a rage and a talking point while others fail to make even a minimum flutter.
Would you purchase a high-end product like a car, television or mobile, solely based on its pricing or advertising? Or are you more likely to make your purchase on the recommendation of a good friend who personally vouches for the quality of the product?
Exactly. We are all more likely to make the purchase based on the recommendation of our friend as we trust our friend more than a clever ad.
Berger explains why social influence and word of mouth is more effective, persuasive, targeted and likely to convert.
One of the pertinent things in the book is a statistical question - "What percentage of people or what percentage of word of mouth marketing happens online?"
This question is very relevant because of the widespread prevalence of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. People often share their thoughts, ideas and opinions with their friends and colleagues on social media. Most people answering this question guessed 50% or upwards.
Jonah goes on to explain how 50% is wrong. Surprisingly, only 7% is the number of people that actually end up communicating with word-of-mouth on social media.
The idea here is that people spend most of their time offline. They communicate with other people at work, with family, friends, etc. Those are the times when ideas get passed from one person to another.
This idea is so interesting because it is the opposite of what one would normally think or assume in these digital times and given the wide and global reach of social media.
The book goes on to talk about what makes something contagious. He gives some good examples about what it takes to get people to actually decide to share your product. This has a lot to do with not just the products itself and what they are, but mostly about how they are advertised.
It is interesting to think about the difference between something that you will easily share with your friends and something you will not share with your friends.
The psychology that goes behind something interesting enough to share is if it is going to make the sharer look good. He calls this Social Currency. Contagious talks about the fine distinction about being the life of the party without ruining the party.
It is just a different way to articulate what we bring to advertising ourselves, product, or service on a daily basis and try and learn to get better at. It is a way to put something in someone's brain that makes them think about your product in a specific light and talk to somebody else about the product. For more on this read either the book Competing Against Luck or the book Hey Whipple Squeeze This.
At 7 years old Jonah Berger’s IQ was genius level. He excelled at math and science. One summer vacation his grandmother introduced him to the book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. That was it!! Young Berger got hooked on social psychology, sociology, and marketing. He was fascinated by all aspects of human behavior and how decisions influence individual behavior. From thereon, began his brilliant journey.