In his book Contagious, Jonah Berger, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania, asks an intriguing question. Why do things catch on? It isn't marketing that sets ideas and items on fire in the marketplace. Instead, it's usually word of mouth.
I'm fascinated by social media and how we use it. Contagious covers everything from cooler conversations to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Marketing Departments have to work hard to catch the attention of a public over-saturated with information and commercials. They not only need to catch the attention of the consumer, they have to make their product so interesting that people want to pass on the information to others. That's where Berger's research and anecdotes come in. What will arouse the interest of people enough that they'll want to talk to others about it?
Since Berger used an entire book to discuss the principles of "The six STEPPS to crafting contagious content", I won't be able to adequately summarize them here. In the introduction, he lists "Products or ideas that contain Social Currency, and are Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable, and wrapped into Stories". The ideas make perfect sense when explained with anecdotes throughout the book.
I found Contagious to be fascinating. Anyone interested in marketing, or why we bend to peer pressure, might want to pick up Jonah Berger's book. The research and stories showing business successes and failures offers interesting ideas for marketing, and why we all fall for certain campaigns.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. Simon & Schuster. 2012. ISBN 9781451686579 (hardcover), 244p.
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