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Why Things Catch On

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


New York Times bestseller

What makes things popular?

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 19, 2012 – Faster-spreading than the flu are the ordinary conversations people have about products and ideas, according to this infectious treatise on viral marketing. Drawing on his own nifty research, Wharton marketing professor Berger investigates all manner of phenomena surging name brands, chic restaurants, YouTube hits, most e-mailed articles that catch on through word-of-mouth popularity. There are discernible dynamics behind the apparent chaos of trendiness, he argues: we naturally want to talk about things that seem fashionable, secretive, useful, or remarkable, that arouse our emotions, that come to mind frequently in mundane settings, and that wrap themselves in compelling stories. He applies these principles to illuminate a slew of marketing and PR conundrums, explaining why a Philadelphia restaurant prospered by charging $100 for a cheese steak, why Just Say No ads may make kids say yes, why people sometimes pay more to get a discount, and why that Budweiser commercial featuring dudes saying Wassup? was a stroke of genius. Berger writes in a sprightly, charming style that deftly delineates the intersection of cognitive psychology and social behavior with an eye toward helping businesspeople and others spread their messages. The result is a useful and entertaining primer that diagnoses countless baffling pop culture epidemics.

Customer Reviews

Book Review

I am a student of the University of Baltimore and I am writing a review for this book for an assignment. Over all this was a pretty good read for, a little slow at times and at times was hard for me to want to keep up with, but for the most part had very useful information, especially for this day in age when things go viral quickly. In this book Jonah Berger talks about why things catch on or go viral in a sense. Jonah Berger outlines STEPPS which is an acronym for the steps he believes are the reasons of why things catch on and companies can use these to market their company and be successful with creating a buzz about their company or product. The STEPPS include, Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value and Stories. Social Currency deals with how much people are talking about you and your brand. It is assumed that people should be talking about you, definitely in a good way to get the buzz going about you, your company or brand. Triggers are things that I someone hears them it makes them think of your company. For instance if someone says the word Apple, it is not only now associated with eating an apple, but apple the brand. The next is Emotions, what emotions does your company give off , what feelings do customers get when they hear or think of your brand ? Public means that no one is taking about you or your company if there is nothing out there for them to see. For instance a shirt that has the Apple logo will stand out and cause people to notice it. Practical Value deals with news you can use, basically how helpful is this to me ? How does this benefit me ? Stories deals with your product or idea having a story to it . People like to tell stories and if you have a good one it can benefit you in the long run.


Nipsey hussle brought me here good read

Thoughtful book on Marketing

I really appreciate all the insight and research that went into this book. It's a practical guide for people in marketing and PR. I will be using the STEPPS mentioned in this book as a guide from now on.

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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Marketing & Sales
  • Published: Mar 05, 2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings