Summary of Contagious

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If you want your product, service or cause to become the talk of the town – or the talk of the Internet – don’t rely on advertising. People trust their friends’ and acquaintances’ opinions far more than paid promotions. The challenge is getting your offering on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Marketer Jonah Berger explains why some topics blaze their way around the world while others are ignored. His solutions go beyond social media; as he says, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook are mere tools. If you can forgive him for inventing unnecessary extra jargon (like “inner remarkability”), Berger will show you how to turn your product or cause into a topic of public conversation, a subject that everyone wants to discuss. getAbstract thinks this entertaining take on fueling the buzz will intrigue marketers, advertisers and sociologists alike.

About the Author

Jonah Berger, a business writer, teaches marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.



Hot or Not?

When a product, idea or topic becomes the newest hot talking point, it has gained “social contagion”; this is a good thing, and it can happen spontaneously. For example, a new house of worship can naturally experience a boom of interest within a community, or a pressing political cause can inspire people to get involved. But if you’re a marketer seeking ways to make your product, service or idea catch on, that fire can be much harder to ignite. Products can become trendy if they are superior to their competitors, if they cost less, or if their ads are more clever and effective. But those elements alone can’t explain why some ideas and items become contagious and others don’t.

Word of mouth – that magic surge of communication and buzz that happens when people talk with their friends, family and associates about products or brands – provides much more effective promotion than even the best or most expensive advertisement. Social influence is more convincing than a paid testimonial and it benefits from being more targeted. Usually, folks who discover a product and like it will tell other people who they think will appreciate it.

Word of mouth is ubiquitous...

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