Why Things Catch On
If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?
Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.
Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.
Viral’s Secret Formula: Why Things Catch On
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Walt Disney World. Say those words to children under the age of eight and just wait for their excited screams. More than 18 million people from all over the world visit the Orlando, Florida, theme park annually. Older kids love the frightening plummet down Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror. Younger ones savor the magic of Cinderella’s castle and the thrill of exploring the rivers of Africa in the Jungle Cruise. Even adults beam joyously when shaking hands with beloved Disney characters like... see more
Hear an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
What makes products and ideas catch on and become popular? Why do some stories get shared more than others? Why are some rumors infectious? What makes things “go viral”? In Contagious, Jonah Berger shares the secret science behind social transmission. Why we talk about and share some things rather than others. Why we pass things on. Filled with engaging stories and comprehensive research Contagious is an essential tool for anyone that wants to make their product or idea spread.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1)Consider and discuss the most recent email forward you received. It might have been a news article, video, or story. What aspects of the STEPPS framework did it adhere to? Do the same analysis for the last viral video you watched, hot restaurant you tried, hit movie you saw, etc. Which concepts in the framework apply?
2)Which examples that Berger mentioned (e.g., Blendtec, Dove’s Evolution, white iPhone earbuds) had you been aware of before the see more