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

Does Word Of Mouth Come Natural?

Does Word Of Mouth Come Natural?

Word of mouth marketing

No. Never.

For some brands and businesses, word of mouth seems to come natural. I encourage you to think about it next time you hear someone talk bout a brand or business or when you yourself talk about one. (If needed, which I doubt it will be needed, ask why the person brought up the brand or business.)

Always (always!) the brand or business is talked about on purpose. They’ve made themselves remarkable enough to be talked about. They’ve done something different from their competitors so you can tell your friends about it. They’ve designed their site, their shipping method, their product or service in such a way that it’s easy to talk about on Twitter and share their reactions and reviews on Facebook or Amazon.

Word of mouth marketing may seem to simply come natural, that the brand or businesses never considered it to begin with. Some may have come by it accidentally, but as soon as they’ve noticed it, they’ve leveraged it. And why not? Word of mouth is the best marketing there is.

You are building your brand or business with it in mind, right?


Stay Positive & People Don’t Whisper To Each Other Anymore, They Shout

Photo credit

Well That’s Catchy


There are a few awesome McDonald’s ads around the Madison area.


“There’s a cold front ahead.” – advertising their iscream

“Diversify your thirstfolio.” – advertising the variety of beverages they offer


My significant other loves the advertising (and she’s not one to care much about ads of any kind, so it’s a big deal if McDonalds can stand out to someone who never pays attention to ads).

McDonalds advertising, I must admit, is extremely catchy and sharable, as in, easy to describe to someone who has never seen it before. “There’s a line of different drinks from McDonalds on the billboard and it says ‘Diversify your thirstfolio.'” Catchy because the billboard is placed right between two college campuses.

The problem is… neither of us have gone to McDonalds for iscream or beverages, and we won’t go either. It’s not our thing.

As a result, I have trouble admitting the advertising is catchy because neither my SO or I have been caught.

Some may believe any publicity is good publicity, but most publicity doesn’t lead to increase in sales, customer conversion or general business success.

It’s one thing to be catchy, it’s a whole other thing to not need to be.

In McDonald’s defense, perhaps they use the billboards to maintain their lighthearted, intelligent but goofy personality. I suppose only the McDonalds marketing team knows. But is that a good thing that we don’t?


Stay Positive & What Are Your Thoughts?

Rewarding Conversations

The rewarding conversations aren’t often found online.

The challenge of any storyteller is how to carry out the conversations offline.

Online interactions: voice, responsive, there

Offline conversations: (potentially) personal, meaningful, to the root

True, you need both, but I still see so many businesses and startups focusing solely on online interactions and failing when they give offline conversations a try. Google Hangouts, Skype calls, coffee dates — often times people measure what they got out of them rather than what the other person got out of them. That’s when offline conversations flop. Think of what’s in it for them. What do you have to offer? People will always listen to that… and share it.


Stay Positive & Word Of Mouth Starts With You

The First To Introduce

It feels good when someone tells a friend about a particular product or service and then notes that you were the first to introduce them to that product or service.

Businesses have a grand opportunity right now to leverage word-of-mouth marketing like this. Think of your business as the friend who was the first to introduce them and instead of to a product or service, to a definition, a way of doing something a certain way, a style.

Think what your customers Google and go to YouTube for, then create that content for them. YouTube is great for “How Tos,” but if they don’t need to leave your page to figure something out, you and them both win not only in that they stay on your page, but they will refer to you later.

Lands’ End does this by having a link to definitions of terms they use. Now when I’m out shopping with a friend and they touch a pair of pants saying “Wow, this fabric feels pretty high quality,” I can say, “Yea, those are chinos. It’s a twill fabric made 100 percent of cotton.”

“How do you know that?”

“I read it on Lands’ End’s website.”

This tactic is proficiently used by writers. Just about every writer’s website I’ve been to, no matter what they write on, they always have a blog post about “how to be a writer,” just in hopes to have some reader somewhere share a writing tip with someone else, referring to where they heard of the tip.

Of course, this isn’t exactly a tactic directly for making profits off your product or service, it’s more of a tactic for branding and getting your name out there. For some reason, though, there typically ends up being some type of correlation between your profit amount and the number of people who know about you.


Stay Positive & Do You Really Need Proof?

Repetition Repetition Repetition

Give them something to repeat to others.

That is what is being called forward with you and your work or art. Whether it’s a story about how you have gotten to where you are at or how your creation makes people feel, there has to be something that people can repeat to others.

After all, your rate of success is based on the number of times someone repeats something positive about you to another.


Stay Positive & Remember, No One Made It Big Without Being Talked About

Garth E. Beyer

Some Now. More Later.

People are talking now. Not so much about you, but to you. That you’re crazy, that you’re weird, that what you are doing isn’t going to work out. Some are even saying (for a fact, they are at least thinking) you will fail.

I am amazed at how many people have the guts to say things to our faces that they would normally have only said behind our backs. This leaves us – the dreamers, those with ambition, and those who try new things all the time – with a new challenge to face.

So for those that are being talked to (negatively) now. I have one piece of wisdom that will meet the challenge.

Just remember that people talk later more than they talk now. Will they say that you gave up? Or will they say how they used to know this crazy person that actually went off and made it as an artist, a fitness expert, a writer? Will they say how they got you mad and upset and question if you’re doing the right thing? Or will they say how despite all resistance, you carried on doing what you knew was right?

People talk. Some now. More Later.


Stay Positive & Keep Going

Garth E. Beyer