Dr. book Contagious. Berger is a Marketing

Dr. Berger is the author of the book Contagious. Berger is a Marketing professor at the Wharton School
at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Berger also wrote the book, “Invisible
Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior” which was released last year
in 2016. Dr. Berger has helped all
sorts of companies and organizations get their stuff to catch on. From Fortune
500 companies to small start-ups, and multinationals to non-profits, Berger has
helped drive new product adoption, sharpen effective messaging, and develop
marketing strategy.


is a in depth elaboration as to why products, behaviors and trends catch on. Throughout
the book, Berger describes six principles towards consumer behavior and
marketing strategies in which he calls STEPPS. The first principle is called
Social currency. Berger describes this as people going to other people telling
secrets because they want to share things that make them want to look good to
others. Berger goes on to suggest three ways of creating social currency. The
first is find remarkability. This is where you find remarkable things which is
things that are unusual and extraordinary. The key to find something
extraordinary is to analyze what makes it interesting or surprising to someone
else. The second way that Berger suggests is make it a game. To explain this
suggestion, we always care about how we are doing compared to others, so games
motivate us in an intrapersonal level by encouraging social comparisons. This has
led to trophies and achievements in games, so they have metrics. The third and
final suggestion that Berger made was make it exclusive. Berger explains that exclusivity
helps consumers feel good because they are obtaining something that not
everyone has which makes them feel good. Exclusivity also makes the consumer
feel special and unique once they tell the others about what they have obtained
that’s exclusive. To continue with the principles that Dr. Berger described,
the second principle is triggers. Berger points out that we engage and talk
about products, brands or a company every day whether it is positive or negative.
Triggers are the origination of the word from mouth and contagiousness. An
example that I can give is that if someone talks about hamburgers to you, you
get the sense and thought of a barbeque or even a fast food burger. It leads to
perception also. In order to make products and services contagious, we need to
consider whether they are triggered by everyday environment or stimulation of
the target consumer. The next principle is emotion. To describe this principle,
Berger says that we are lured in by emotion, especially on the internet. If we
see something that is awe sense and makes us feel good and amazing, we will share
it because we are inspired. This results in positive reactions creating arousals
in people. However, other emotions can take place such as anxiety and anger
which will also result in people sharing that video or article. He goes on to say
that in order to be contagious, we must focus on our feelings rather than
talking facts and statements because emotions motivate people to do actions.
The next principle is public. The way Berger described this to me sounded like
it had similarities to brand awareness. Berger says that companies use brands
that catch the consumers eye through observability. If one see’s someone using
something, they are going to want to do the same or have the same product. The
same can go for health awareness. If you see someone helping a cause, you are
going to want to help to because of your visual perception. In a way, humans are
like herding animals which could be good or bad. In order to be contagious, our
products or service needs to be seen to the target audience and intended public
to start that brand awareness/trend. The second to final principle is practical
value. Practical value is what we see the value of a product. If we see an item
that is on sale that is never usually on sale, we run to go get it because it
is a good deal and it is in value to our eyes since the price is always higher.
Same goes vise versa, if we see an item that is always on sale, we are going to
expect that sale price to be the regular price thus changing our perception
value of that item and what it’s worth price wise. Berger also goes on to
explain that short succinct messages that get to the point when advertising, is
the best way to get a consumer’s attention. He explains this is the best way
because as a marketer, you are getting to the point and passing on the practical
value which is more effective than detail. The final principle that Dr. Berger
explained in Contagious is stories. Berger elaborates on this idea by stating
that when advertising a product, we tell stories, but people don’t think in
terms of information, they think in terms if narration. Consumers stick around
when they hear a good story, so they stick around to hear the rest of it. Same
goes for virality. When advertising, consumers can see the story just through visualization
thus influencing their behavior and perception on the product. Visual stories
like a billboard work just as much as verbal stories like a commercial. Berger
suggests that if we would like to come up with contagious content, we must come
up with a message that consists of social currency, emotion, and incognito imbedded
code in our message, that it is hiding inside the message itself. This is so
that people can’t tell the story without all of this information.

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Contagious is
filled with many insights and certainly gives the reader much to think
about but is not without problems: it tries to do too much, brings up
examples from vastly different contexts without honoring the complexities of
those contexts. Any reader looking for specific ways of how to
write more sharable articles or books, for example, might be disappointed
in my opinion but there is no technical discussion of the specifics here in any
area of potential application, But context does matter. Writing remarkable
or useful content, for example, requires that the writer have a deep
understanding of his audience, something that is not trivial to accomplish
because interest is relative, but Berger never discusses this or any other
complication, which can create a false impression about the ease with which
these principles can be applied in the real-world contexts. Indeed, because
interest is relative, the principle of remarkability really isn’t much of a
guide. Missing a deeper engagement with context, the book can’t help the reader
develop a more nuanced appreciation of the mechanics of these ideas in real
life operation. In short, you walk away from the book wanting more


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