Diets, fashion trends, and managerial approaches are just some of the things that 'catch on.' These are instances of social epidemics, which occur when items, ideas, or habits spread rapidly among a society.
They begin with a small group of users and spread like a virus from person to person.
But what causes things to 'catch on'? Some people become famous simply because they are superior.
Another factor is the cost-effectiveness of the product. Advertising has a part as well.
However, while quality, pricing, and promotion contribute to the success of items and ideas, they don't tell the entire picture. Jonah Berger has researched why things catch on and has devised a clever framework for success.
For the next 10 minutes, join us as we describe how contagious your product can be.
Lesson1: Social Transmission
People like sharing news, stories, and information with their friends and family. We inform our pals about exciting vacation spots, discuss excellent deals with our neighbors, and gossip with coworkers at the water cooler.
We write movie reviews on the internet, spread gossip on Facebook, and tweet about new recipes.
The impact of social influence on the adoption of products, ideas, and behaviors is enormous. On Amazon.com, a five-star review sells about twenty more books than a one-star one. Traditional advertising is still successful, but word of mouth is at least 10 times more so.
First and foremost, it is more convincing. While advertisements will constantly claim that their product is the best, our buddies tell us the truth.
Second, word-of-mouth marketing is more targeted at a certain audience. We don't tell everyone we know about a news article or a recommendation. We choose those we believe will be most interested in that particular piece of information.
Understanding why people talk and why certain things get talked about and shared more than others is essential to harnessing the power of word of mouth.
It's a branch of social science that studies how information is passed from one person to another.
So, how do we create goods, ideas, and behaviors that will elicit discussion? Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories – or STEPPS – are Berger's six major steps.
Lesson 2: Social Currency
When was the last time you were told anything you shouldn't share with anybody else? So, what did you do after that? You probably went and told someone else if you're like most people.
What is the cause behind this? It's a form of social money. We share items that make us appear attractive to others.
People who are hooked to social media can't seem to stop sharing everything with everyone all of the time. People use social currency to impact their family, friends, and coworkers in the same way they use the money to acquire things or services.
Berger proposes three methods for establishing social currency.
Look for remarkability.
Remarkable things are uncommon, outstanding, and, most importantly, noteworthy.
Think about what makes something intriguing, startling, or new while looking for remarkability. One method is to deviate from a routine that people have grown accustomed to. Another way is to consider what distinguishes that item.
Make it a contest.
Why are we so obsessed with accumulating flight miles? It's a fun game, after all. Games encourage social comparison, which motivates us on a more interpersonal level. We are concerned not only with how we are doing but also with how we are performing compared to others.
Performance indicators are present in the top games for generating social currency. Badges, degrees of achievement, and grades are all things that may be earned.
Make it an exclusive thing.
Scarcity and exclusivity make items appear more desirable, which helps them gain traction.
We think that if something is difficult to get, it must be worthwhile. Scarcity and exclusivity encourage word-of-mouth because they make us feel like insiders. When we receive something that no one else has, we feel special and distinctive, and we will tell others about it.
Lesson 3: Triggers
We discuss products, brands, and organizations all the time, according to Berger.
Every day, the average American has around sixteen word-of-mouth interactions. They express their favorable or negative feelings about a business.
We need to communicate while we're in the company of people because we're social creatures. We need to find fascinating things to say to make ourselves appear good. So we discuss whatever is on our minds.
Sights, scents, and noises may all elicit similar thoughts and ideas, bringing them to the forefront of our minds. Word of mouth and contagiousness is built on triggers.
Take, for example, hot dogs. Is it possible to think of a hot dog without conjuring up images of barbecues and baseball games?
To make our products or services contagious, we must consider whether recognition will be prompted by the target audience's sensory stimulus or everyday surroundings.
Lesson 4: Emotion
When someone is impressed by tremendous knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might, they feel a sense of surprise and awe.
Awe is a complicated feeling that is often accompanied by a sense of wonder, unexpectedness, or mystery.
Susan Boyle's debut appearance on Britain's Got Talent remains one of the most popular YouTube videos of all time. The video received more than 100 million views in only nine days.
It's difficult not to be moved by her courage and compassion after seeing this video. It's not just emotional, but it's also breathtaking. And it was this passion that compelled people to share it.
Emotion sharing acts as a social glue, preserving and deepening bonds. Even if we aren't in the same area, the fact that we are connected is enough.
Positive or pleasant emotions are classified as such, whereas negative or unpleasant emotions are classified as such. According to Berger, psychologists have proposed that emotions have a second dimension: activation, or physiological arousal.
Arousal can also be triggered by positive feelings. Other emotions, on the other hand, have the opposite impact, suffocating activity. Anger and anxiety, like amazement, are high-arousal emotions that encourage others to communicate their feelings.
To be contagious, we must focus on sentiments. These underlying emotions inspire others to act rather than facts and characteristics.
Lesson 5: Public
"Which is more important?" says Berger.
Is it more important for the logo to appear right to consumers before they open their PowerBook or to look right to the rest of the world once the laptop is turned on? This connects to his fourth facet, which is public.
The next time you look at an Apple laptop, you'll see that the public has taken precedence over the individual. What is the cause behind this? Observability.
Apple understood that allowing others to see what their peers are doing (and the brand connected with it) increases the likelihood of doing it and using it themselves.
The public's perception of a product is an important influence in its adoption. It is built to grow if anything is built to display. People mimic because the decisions of others give information.
This concept is referred to as "social proof" by psychologists. Only when people can see what others are doing can they mimic.
The Movember Foundation, for example, thrived because it found out how to turn support for an abstract subject — men's health — into something tangible. People who don a mustache for November basically become walking, talking billboards for the cause.
Humans are animals that must be herded. To be infectious, our product or service must be visible to the target audience and in usage among the peer group our target customer belongs to.
Lesson 6: Practical Value
People enjoy sharing practical, valuable knowledge, according to Berger. News that others can benefit from. The practical value may not appear to be the most interesting or enticing notion.
Some would even describe it as self-evident or intuitive. That isn't to say that it isn't infectious.
We're constantly inundated with offers. No one would be friends with us if we shared every time the grocery shop knocked ten cents off a can of soup. To be shared, a bargain must cut through the noise.
When you put anything on sale, it appears to be a good offer. When a product is constantly on sale, though, customers begin to alter their expectations. Rather than using the entire "regular" price as a benchmark, they use the sale price.
A few aspects are worth mentioning while considering why certain material is shared more than others.
The first is how the data is presented. The greatest communications are short. Detail is less effective than getting to the point and passing on the practical value. As a result, Amazon recommendations that are brief have a greater impact.
The audience is the second important factor. While the widely relevant material may be shared more, content that is clearly relevant to a specific target may be more viral.
Our urge to spread useful information is so strong that even erroneous ideas may succeed.
Occasionally, the desire to help takes a detour. So the next time someone tells you about a miracle cure or warns you about the dangers of a certain diet or activity, double-check the information before passing it on. False information may spread at the same rate as true information.
Lesson 7: Stories
Last but not least, people do not think in terms of data. They consider things in terms of stories.
Facts are boring, and narratives are more interesting. They have a start, a middle, and an end. We'll remain until the end if we get sucked in early. When someone tells a wonderful narrative, we pay attention to every word.
People tell tales for the same reasons that they pass on information through word of mouth. Stories make it simple to discuss products and ideas. They create a psychological shield that allows us to discuss a product or concept without appearing to be promoting it.
When the brand or product advantage is central to the story, virality is most useful. We can't convey the story until it's connected to the narrative.
Berger proposes that if we want to create something contagious, we should strive to create a Social Currency–laden, Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable Trojan Horse that contains our message. Assuring that our required information is so deeply ingrained in the narrative that it is impossible to present the story without it.
So there you have it: a few easy STEPPS for developing and distributing infectious company ideas. Ahh-choooooo!