Contagious by Jonah Berger

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Key Takeaways

  1. There are six principles of contagion, known collectively as the STEPPS model:
    1. Social Currency – We share things that make us look good. It emphasizes finding the “inner remarkability” in something, which in turn makes people feel like insiders and encourages them to share it with others
    2. Triggers – Top of mind is tip of tongue. Triggers are about keeping the product or idea at the top of people’s minds. A trigger is effective when it’s a part of the everyday conversation, which then reminds people of the product or idea. For example, Rebecca Black’s notoriously bad song “Friday” became viral at least partially because there was a natural trigger every Friday to play the song. TikTok started with a 7pm trigger with American Idol
    3. Emotion – When we care, we share. People are more likely to share something if it evokes strong emotions. Whether it’s humor, awe, or even anger, the stronger the emotional response, the more likely it is to be shared.
    4. Public – If it’s built to show, it’s built to grow. This principle is about making the product or idea visible. The more public something is, the more likely people are to imitate it. Seeing others use a product or engage in a behavior encourages others to follow suit
    5. Practical Value – News you can use. Ideas or products that are useful are more likely to be shared. People like to help others and sharing practical, valuable information is a way to do that
    6. Story – Information travels under the guise of idle chatter. Narratives and stories are powerful ways to communicate ideas. If people can share a product or an idea through a compelling story, it’s more likely to spread because the story adds depth and interest. To be valuable, virality has to be tied to your product in some form. The BlendTec story is perfect because you can’t talk about the ‘will it blend’ campaign without mentioning the blender.

What I got out of it

  1. Marketing is a key part of having a successful product or service. Berger breaks down why some products are more successful than others in a way that makes it applicable and repeatable.