Isn’t it kind of crazy how super blurry and low quality videos go viral?
Or how two companies are making the exact same thing but one is CRUSHING it in sales whereas the other isn’t?

Have you ever thought about how likely you are to share something? And why? Or what ultimately lures you in when you make a purchase? There are factors at play that you might not notice that were all perfectly orchestrated to GET and KEEP your attention.

ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF IS SO FASCINATING TO ME. From a business perspective. And a consumer one.

I had just finished reading Content Machine (great read– ultimately a lot of things I already knew but still found value in it) when Radhika started talking about Audible all the time. Well really, she was talking about all these books she had read and I was like, “dang girl, you’re sure getting through a lot of books. I’m impressed.” And she said, “Well… I’ve been listening to them.”

So Honay. I have JOINED that Audible train. (And we even got a deal to work with them! I mean hello, Violet Fog does have a book club! Perfect fit.)

SO my first Audible listen? Contagious?by Jonah Berger.

I still love to read but listening to books is efficient as heck. I think for fiction, I’ll still prefer to read a solid. (But maybe not- maybe Audible will change my mind.) For more educational non-fiction books, I’m really enjoying listening. Sometimes when I read those kinds of books I do it in this monotone voice in my head so I start to gloss over certain pages. When it’s read to me by an audibly pleasing person- I’m more engaged in the content. Whatever works right? Do what works. Always.

So the book? CONTAGIOUS. It’s about why things become popular, go viral, or have huge success in business. Jonah Berger (author), calls his work “studying the science of social transmission.” He is a Harvard and Wharton Marketing Professor and has studied this field intensely for the last decade.

Berger maps out SIX steps to what he believes are the secret sauces to making a business popular. Six steps to getting people to TALK about your idea.

The six steps are:
Social Currency
Triggers (staying on the forefront of the mind)
Emotion (we share when we care)
Public (can others see you using the business or engaging in the desired social behavior?)
Practical Value (must be useful. Duh.)
Stories (what broader narratives can you wrap the idea in?)

Something to note: Not all steps are necessary but the more that are thoughtfully orchestrated, the higher the chance of word of mouth. <—- aka a powerful marketing tool for business.

I recommend reading this if you want to sharpen your consumer decision making skills and/or you’re involved with your own business (or will be in the near future) and want to increase your odds of being a marketing success.

Both are important stuff. (This book is a New York Times Best Seller by the way.)

I’ll let you in on the first step, just to give you a taste.

So Berger argues the importance of social currency. Which basically comes down to people sharing things that make them look good to others. Self-disclosing or personally sharing something you like or recommend feels good to do. People love sharing all the good ish about themselves. When we share, it actually activates the same brain circuits that pertain to the “rewarding” feeling that goes along with things like money and food. Yep, learned that in the book. 😉

Capitalizing on the mere act of people sharing with others is social currency baby. And it matters in the marketing world.

Think about it, how likely are you to share something that ultimately makes you look bad?

Berger notes three things to think about when opting for prime social currency. They are….

Brands/Businesses need to give people a way to look good and feel good. Like this is top quality y’all! And: this choice of mine is a great one! You definitely want to deliver on that.

Brands/Businesses can also capitalize on leveraging game mechanics. Examples of this are frequent flyer miles, fantasy football league, punch cards, etc.

Brands/Businesses should also create a way for people to feel like insiders. (Memberships, invite-only codes, pre-qualifications- are good examples.)

And that’s just a basics of step one! There is plenty fascinating information and calls to attention in this book that make it worth the read. Or listen.

Contagious book HERE.

Anyone else find social science and experiments super interesting too? Or am I the only nerdy one??