Contagious – Why things catch on by Jonah Berger

This is a quick read (200 pages) about what makes some marketing campaigns spread and others stagnate.  Berger teaches by sharing examples, which is my favorite way to learn.  He breaks it down into six chapters:

Social Currency – We share things that make us look good.

Triggers – Tying a campaign to something common will help trigger action from your target audience.  For instance, tying a campaign to a morning cup of coffee will trigger that a memory of that campaign every morning (at least for those who drink coffee.)

Emotion – Certain emotions push us to share a campaign.  We like to share things that are entertaining or useful and things that add a sense of awe; and we share things that make us anxious or angry – these are all high arousal emotions.  We tend not to share things that make us content or sad – these are low arousal emotions.

Public – We are all influenced by other people, and campaigns that use that to their advantage are more likely to spread.  Berger talks about Movember spreading the word about men’s health.

Practical Value – Similar to social currency, we want to share things that are helpful to other people.

Stories – We all love stories, so messages wrapped inside a story are more likely to spread.  But the stories must have a strong tie to the message, or people will remember the story and forget the message.

Next up: The Small Big – Small changes that spark big influence by Martin, Goldstein and Cialdini