Contagious - Why Things Catch On - Summary

You have a product or brand. Your marketing budget is non-existent. How can you get people talking about and sharing your brand with friends and colleagues?

Well, I've been reading the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger, and it outlines 6 factors that makes things go viral. My thought on each chapter is detailed in this series, but here is a very brief summary of the take-home messages.

  • People share things that makes them look good. It can be because the subject itself is cool, or the product is cutting-edge and not many people know about it, or it's exclusive so only people in an inner circle has access to it.
  • People also share things that are useful to others - tutorials, news articles, recipes etc.
  • Make sure your brand is public and observable, people cannot share things they cannot see or know about. Give out T-Shirts, mugs, pens, bags, stationery...anything, just get your brand noticed.
  • Make sure your product has both an initial excitement factor but also something more long-term and regular to continuously trigger a reminder in the audiences' minds. This can be a newsletter or run some regular competitions.
  • Play to the emotions of people, make them feel something because if they're aroused, they're more likely to share. Be it rage, bliss, awe, shock - anything. Provoke your audience.
  • After all this, wrap your message inside a nice story, give it a narrative to draw people in. Lower their guard so they tend to agree with you more. And just like the Trojan Horse, you can then hit them while they're not expecting it. Let your story be a vessel for your message.

Hope you enjoyed this series, and if you haven't read the other articles, I'd highly recommend you to.

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