I’ve been on a number of plane trips this semester – which means I’ve been doing a lot of reading. One of the latest books I’ve read for nuggets was Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Wharton University Marketing Professor Jonah Berger. This book is a must read as it fits within the worldview of two of my top ten must read books: Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick. Interestingly, Professor Berger studied with Chip Heath while at Stanford. Here’s a short written review and here’s a Ted Talk like video – both by the author.
The book is organized around six axioms that help make things go viral: social currency (making people feel that they are cool insiders); triggers (everyday reminders of an item or idea); emotional resonance (making people want to share the experience with friends); observability (that is, a highly visible item advertises itself); usefulness (people like to share practical or helpful information); and storytelling (embedding a product or an idea in a narrative enhances its power).
There are plenty of interesting exemplars in the book that use one or more of the six axioms described above including one about mustaches and cancer awareness and another about making people feel like insiders. Of course, my favorite section of the book was the back-end on storytelling – I can never get enough storytelling nuggets.
Something to check out today…
Associate Professor of Marketing
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University