6 Lessons From Contagious (Why Things Catch On)

1) The moment you start paying people to share or putting a monetary value to them, then they’ll never do it for free again. Many managers rely on monetary incentives or prizes for good work ethic and behavior. Not only is it costly, but as soon as you do it, people won’t continue the behavior for anything less. Instead, focus on social currency. That’s why promotions and cool new titles work better than a pay raise in terms of employee satisfaction.

2) Social currency can be accomplished in three ways. First, sharing something amazing. Snapple facts are remarkable, as in, worth remarking to others about. Second, turn it into a game. Metrics that show people where they are in comparison to others (think Insurance provider rates and frequent flier miles) gives them status, which they’re happy to talk about. Third, make people feel like insiders by giving them something that’s scarce like Cadbury is or exclusive like a speakeasy.

3) Accessible thoughts lead to action. Music you play in a bar can sway people to order more French wine (if French music is playing) or German wine (if German music is playing). Essentially, we have to leverage triggers, but I’ve noticed when we’re so focused on making something out of this world, we forget about making it also top of mind.

4) For as much as I bash the lizard brain and encourage you to ignore the little voice inside your head saying you’re not good enough, any marketer can use the lizard brain to their advantage in a good way. Quite plainly, people share articles, stories, products that get the lizard brain going (excitement, amusement, anger, anxiety, etc,.). The sad insurance Superbowl ads didn’t get shared as much because sadness doesn’t spark the lizard brain.

5) Interesting, surprising and novel doesn’t lead to more buzz than average, uninteresting, and “meh” products because the latter is often ongoing and the former is more immediate.

6)If promoted, telling others helps us celebrate. If fired, telling others helps us vent. Sharing emotions helps us connect.

Book by Jonah Berger. Worth the read.


Stay Positive & Marketing Is About Spreading Love