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Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age [Kindle Edition]

Jonah Berger
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Why are some products and ideas talked about more than others? Why do some articles make the most emailed list? Why do some YouTube videos go viral? Word-of-mouth. Whether through face-to-face conversations, emails from friends, or online product reviews, the information and opinions we get from others have a strong impact on our own behaviour. Indeed, word-of-mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising and is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.It is between 8.5 and 30 times more effective than traditional media.But want to know the best thing about word-of-mouth? It's available to everyone.Whether you're a Fortune 500 company trying to increase sales, a corner restaurant trying to raise awareness, a non-profit trying to fight obesity, or a newbie politician running for city council, word-of-mouth can help you succeed. And you don't have to have millions of dollars to spend on an advertising budget. You just have to get people to talk.The challenge, though, is how to do that. This book will show you how.

Product Description


It is exciting and gratifying to know that each of us can spark an idea that catches fire and spreads, as Berger demonstrates in this book --Forbes magazine

Contagious does provide some interesting insights into factors that can help make an idea, a video, a commercial or a product become infectious --Michiko Kakutani, Scotsman 16/3

'The book is an easy, breezy read, peppered with absorbing examples...Berger is clearly following his own advice with plenty of Storytelling and Emotion to sell his message...Id there was a like button underneath it, you d probably find yourself clicking it --Maija Palmer, Financial Times 28/3

About the Author

Jonah Berger is the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies social influence and social epidemics, or how products, ideas, and behaviours catch on and become popular. This book is based on a popular, award-winning course Berger teaches at Wharton to undergraduates, MBAs and Executives. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals in psychology, economics, marketing and management, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Science, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Wired, Business Week, The Atlantic, and The Economist. His research has been featured in the New York Times Magazine's Year in Ideas. Berger has been recognized with a number of awards for both scholarship and teaching, including the Iron Professor Teaching Award and the MBA Curricular Innovation Award from the Wharton School and best paper honourable mention from the Journal of Consumer Research. The Marketing Science Institute named him one of the top young scholars in the field.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 433 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1471111695
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J3ZNLQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,326 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
According to Berger, "The first issue with all the hype around social media is that people tend to ignore the importance of offline word of mouth, even though offline discussions are more prevalent, and potentially even more impactful, than online ones." I agree while presuming to suggest that many (if not most) offline discussions occur because of an initial online connection. "The second issue is that Facebook and Twitter are technologies, not strategies." I agree. However, they are immensely important enablers. "Harnessing the power of word of mouth, online or offline, requires understanding why people talk and why some things get talked about and shared more than others. The psychology of sharing. The science of social transmission." Berger has much of substantial value to say about both. What cause certain products, ideas, and behaviors to be talked about more? "That's what this book is about."

I was (and remain) especially interested in Berger's discussion of what he characterizes as six "ingredients" or principles embraced by an acronym: STEPPS. They are Social Currency (enable people to discuss with others what is most important to them); Triggers (prompt or remind people to discuss what could be of benefit to you); Emotion (reveal how much you care but the feelings [begin italics] must [end italics] be genuine, sincere, and authentic); Public (offer what is self-sufficient in terms of its appeal); Practical Value (much of its appeal is determined by its usefulness); and Stories (anchor the message in human experience with which others can identify). Berger suggests that these six as STEPPS (pun intended) during the process of crafting contagious content. "These ingredients lead ideas to get talked about and succeed...
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Ben G.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the concept of creating content that is easy to talk about and Berger breaks it down into 6 factors that contribute to creating really sharable content. These ideas are really well explained and make intuitive sense, so after the intro I couldn't wait to get into the meat of what makes these points tick and how they can be used.

Berger is passionate about having testable scientific rigour to underlie his points. This was another great hook for me - things should be proven, repeatable and solid. Sadly this is where the book falls flat - because his examples are often naive or just poor science that fails to deliver on his premise.

For example, he mentions an experiment to support the idea that people like to talk about themselves (I think we can all agree that people love to talk without the need for an experiment to prove it, but hey ho). The unforgivable sin is that he chooses an experiment that doesn't show that. The test asks people to take a paid survey and at some point they are given a few minutes of boring downtime. They can choose to wait it out, or they can choose to take less money for the survey but be allowed to talk about themselves during that downtime instead. The paper's authors claim that because their participants will sacrifice money to talk, it means that we find talking about ourselves so beguiling that we'll give up money to do it. All it really proves is that people will pay to avoid boredom. To back that up, many free to play videogames base their entire income on forcing people to wait or pay money to skip the wait. People find that BOREDOM abhorrent enough that they will pay to avoid it - making the game company millions of dollars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and good straightforward ideas 27 Jan. 2014
By J Blake
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really like this book as it is easy to follow and has lots of good ideas and clear examples of how to apply them. Am using it for everything from my day job through to helping my partner promote his band.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 Mar. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very happy with the product and service I received.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review 26 Mar. 2013
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

It is only recently, with the rise of the internet, that the term `viral' has gone, well, viral. But the phenomenon of social pandemics--ideas, products and behaviors, that catch on and spread quickly and widely--has been around presumably as long as sociality itself. The phenomenon is interesting in its own right, for it says something meaningful about our psychology and how we interact. However, understanding how social pandemics work also holds great practical value, for when public service messages, charity campaigns or products and services go viral, the effect has a big impact on behavior and the bottom line.

On the mechanical side of things, understanding why something goes viral is straightforward enough: it must be something that has an impact, and that people are eager to talk about or imitate. But this just forces us to ask: what is it that makes something impactful, and ripe for sharing or imitating? We may think that our intuitions can carry us some way toward answering this. Nevertheless, getting something to go viral is certainly no easy task (as many a would-be influencer has come to find); and therefore, we may benefit from a more methodical, scientifically-minded attempt to understand the phenomenon. It is just such a project that Wharton marketing professor and writer Jonah Berger has been engaged in for much of his career, and in his new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Berger reports on his findings.

Berger's research has revealed that there are 6 main factors that help explain social pandemics. They are 1. Social Currency; 2. Triggers; 3. Emotion; 4. Public; 5. Practical Value; and 6.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for promotion tactics based on the appeal of emotion!
This book does a great job on the promotional tactics based on the appeal to emotion. It also illusrates the tactics about story-telling on social media to promote customer... Read more
Published 18 days ago by .
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very clear and sound framework for building a social media campaign.
Published 22 days ago by Chuck Cramer
1.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of useless examples
The typical business book rammed full of pages of examples used to fill out the content. The book contains a few interesting common sense points but they could be set out and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ernest Northern Ireland
5.0 out of 5 stars stop reading the reviews - just buy it
As headline. But the review needs a certain amount of words to be published as a review. Just buy it.
Published 1 month ago by AO
5.0 out of 5 stars Very easy to read with great examples that stick
Very easy to read with great examples that stick. Most things ring a bell and sound familiar, this book provides the analysis of why it makes so much sense and why those stories go... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christina
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for anyone engaged in digital marketing.
Extremely useful little book. I'm always looking for new thoughts on marketing - so many books of this kind are quite disappointing - but this was genuinely fascinating,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Catherine Czerkawska
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book on marketing concepts
Arrived on time as described. A good book on marketing concepts, viral nature of marketing campaigns that are successful and why they become successful.
Published 2 months ago by David Tickner
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Used as background reading in MBA course. It is well worth a read.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended For Bloggers & Content Marketers
This is a great book with some really interesting insights. If you are interested in behavioral psychology, you'll find some interesting tidbits in here. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Robshaw-Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars really useful readable help
Very useful insight into understanding what might make for contagious marketing. Do the techniques work entirely? I am not sure, but the evidence presented is good.
Published 4 months ago by Stuart
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