Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School and author of the New York Times bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Over the weekend he wrote a piece for Techcrunch in which he described six principles driving what people talk about and share. these are based on his research.
Marketers can be quick to give things a model but I thought these principles (taken from the article) made sense and are worth thinking about when it comes to getting your ideas, your company or what you do more talked about.
1 Social currency
Just like the car we drive and the clothes we wear, the things we say affect how people see us. So the more something makes someone look good, the more likely they’ll be to pass it on.
If something is top-of-mind it will be tip-of-the-tongue. Just like peanut butter reminds us of jelly, the more we’re triggered to think about a product or idea, the more we’ll talk about it
When we care, we share. Whether positive (excitement or humor) or negative (anger or anxiety), high arousal emotions drive us to share.
People tend to imitate others. But as the phrase “monkey see, monkey do” attests, the easier it is to see what someone is doing, the easier it is to imitate. Public observability drives imitation (e.g. iPod’s white headphones).
5 Practical value
People don’t just want to look good, they also want to help others. So more useful equals more shared. Think articles about 10 ways to raise capital or five key negotiating tips.
No one wants to seem like a walking advertisement, but they will talk about something if it’s part of a broader narrative. So build a “Trojan horse” story, a message that carries your brand along for the ride.