Two takeaways from Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On, as embodied by the following excerpts…
1. Six STEPPS to virality:
Some combination of these ingredients is found in all viral content. Although something doesn’t need all six components to go viral, the more the better…
i. Social currency:
“We share things that make us look good.”
People talk about things that make them seem smart & cool.
“Top of mind, tip of tongue.”
What’s on the top of our mind is what we talk about. They key to keeping your product in people’s subconscious is either relating to something frequent or familiar — like traditional ad impressions, catchy jingles, or associating it with something popular/everpresent.
For example, the “Kit Kat & coffee” advertising campaign paired the candy bar with something people consume daily, and Budweiser’s “Wassup” commercials took ownership of a popular greeting.
“When we care, we share.”
Evoking a visceral reaction like excitement, anger, or awe moves people to share, especially when it deepens the bond a sender has with the recipient.
“Built to show, built to grow; monkey see, monkey do.”
People often imitate others, but you can’t imitate what you can’t observe. Making behavior public advertises social proof, enabling social influence.
For example, The Movember Movement and Lance Armstrong’s Nike Livestrong yellow bracelets.
v. Practical value:
“News you can use.”
People share useful things that help others, whether advice, saving time, money, or health.
“Build a Trojan Horse.”
Narratives travel under the guise of idle chatter, which memorable anecdotes people are more likely to share than lists, features, or facts.
For example, Subway’s Jared.
In addition, here’s an interesting stat about word-of-mouth sharing…
“Only 7% of word-of-mouth sharing happens online… people spend 8x more time offline.”
A more thorough review of the book can be found here.