Contagious Why Things Catch On

Contagious Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

With the study of contagiousness, we can explore why certain things become popular. In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger focuses on discussing six principles of contagiousness to explain why things become popular and how to optimize their likelihood of spreading. According to his research, the six principles of contagiousness are social currency, triggers, emotion, story, public and practical value. Social currency is about the extent to which something makes us look good when we share it.

It examines the idea of what makes something go viral and what principles people can use to make things more contagious. It is a great read for anyone interested in exploring the science and psychology behind why certain products, stories, and ideas become so popular and spread quickly. Berger applies a six-step process that explains the components essential for making something contagious. This process includes social currency, triggers, emotions, the public, stories, and practical value.

It is an interesting read on the science of why some things become popular and why other things don’t. Written by a marketing professor, the book explores both the science and the strategies behind why certain ideas, products, and behaviors become contagious. It is filled with research findings and practical steps to help individuals and organizations increase the chances of getting their messages heard and shared. his work is both informative and inspiring, giving readers tangible advice that can be implemented to make ideas or products more contagious.

It is a detailed exploration of the psychology of consumer behavior. Berger lays out a framework of six principles – social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories – that help explain why some products, ideas, and behaviors become popular while others do not. He identifies core factors that contribute to contagiousness, such as social influence, the use of emotion to make a product attractive, and the power of stories to make a product or idea more memorable. Ultimately, Berger’s book provides an invaluable toolkit for understanding why some things ‘go viral’ and how to make the most out of new products or ideas.

It  On examines the science of word of mouth and why certain products, ideas, and messages become popular. Berger explains that to become contagious, a product must be practical, unexpected, memorable, and fulfill an emotional need. He also highlights six key principles for creating contagious content: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories. By understanding the reasons why things “go viral”, businesses can better utilize these principles to market their products.

To make a product truly contagious, he emphasizes that the product must solve a problem or fulfill an emotional need. He states that people are more likely to talk about an experience if it is meaningful to them and they have something to gain from sharing it. Additionally, people are more likely to share information if it is unique, novel, and can help them stand out or appear more knowledgeable. Moreover, he identifies stories as one of the most important factors in creating contagious content.

The author also applies principles of behavioral economics to his theory of contagiousness. He notes that, in general, people are risk-averse, meaning that they are more likely to stick to the status quo rather than take a chance at something new. To motivate people to try something new or share something on social media, the product has to have an element of surprise. It also needs to be socially relevant and useful to the consumer.

To understand how to create content that will catch on, he proposes the STEPPS model. STEPPS stands for Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories. Social Currency refers to providing something that people can discuss and share. Triggers are things that remind people of a product or message.

While these six principles are foundational to making things contagious, he also emphasizes the need for experimentation in the marketing process. He encourages marketers to be proactive in trying out new ideas and testing their effectiveness. He also notes that, unless marketers are willing to take risks, they can’t create contagious products and experiences. Berger thus encourages marketers to understand the science behind certain phenomena and also to experiment with creative ideas to make their products ‘go viral’.

The book explains that a product or idea must have practical value to be contagious and make people want to talk about it. This practical value can be seen in products such as the Apple Watch, which has become popular due to its practical use in tracking fitness and health information. Additionally, unexpected products or ideas can also become contagious. Examples include the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Tide Pod Challenge, which were both unexpected campaigns that quickly went viral.

The author also explains that, for something to be contagious, it must be simple and easy to understand. This can be seen in the success of apps like TikTok, which are based on simple formulas that anyone can understand. Additionally, he states that something must have emotional resonance to be contagious. Ideas or products that evoke emotion in the audience have a greater chance of going viral because people are more likely to share an idea if they are emotionally invested in it.

He argues that the most successful products and ideas are those that create an emotional connection with people. He states that when products or ideas can evoke an emotional response from people, it creates a powerful connection between them and the product or idea. Examples include the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised awareness for a cause, and the Tide Pod Challenge, which tapped into the trend of young people daring each other to do ridiculous things. By creating an emotional connection, marketers can create contagious products and experiences.

In addition to practical value, he also identifies the role of emotional value in making things contagious. He emphasizes the idea that people are more likely to share something if it evokes an emotional response in them, such as joy or surprise. This emotional value can be seen in the success of the popular iPhone game app, “Flappy Bird”. The game was highly addictive and successful due to its simple but challenging gameplay, which created a sense of satisfaction and joy in players.

It is clear that to create contagious products and experiences, marketers must take risks. Without experimentation and risk-taking, it is difficult to create something that will make people talk. Moreover, products must also have practical value to make them desirable and generate interest. Lastly, even unexpected products or ideas can become contagious and go viral if they can capture people’s attention.

For an idea or product to become contagious, he states that there must be the right mix of emotions and practicality. For example, the 2017 Super Bowl commercial for Budweiser, which featured a story of immigration, tapped into both emotions and practicality by presenting a narrative that had relevance to current events. Additionally, the commercial featured familiar faces, such as Helen Mirren, which further increased its emotional appeal. Thus, by understanding and utilizing both emotion and practicality, marketers can create contagious products and experiences.