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Why you must read Contagious.

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of marketing, staying ahead of the curve is not just a choice; it’s a necessity. One such invaluable resource that every marketer should have in their arsenal is “Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age” by Jonah Berger. This book, backed by extensive research and real-world examples, provides profound insights into the science behind why things catch on. In this article, we’ll explore why marketers need to ready “Contagious” to unleash the power of word-of-mouth marketing and create campaigns that resonate with audiences in the digital age.


Berger’s “Contagious” delves into the psychology of why certain ideas, products, or messages become contagious while others fade into obscurity. The book outlines six key principles that drive contagiousness: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories (STEPPS). By mastering these principles, marketers can create content that is not only memorable but also inherently shareable.

  1. Social Currency: Making Your Brand Shareworthy

In the interconnected world of social media, where every like and share contributes to a brand’s online presence, understanding social currency is crucial. “Contagious” explores how to make your brand or product an essential part of the social conversation. By making consumers feel like insiders, marketers can create a sense of exclusivity that drives sharing and engagement.

  1. Triggers: Linking Your Brand to Everyday Cues

Triggers are the everyday cues that prompt people to think about and share your product or message. “Contagious” teaches marketers how to strategically align their brand with these triggers, ensuring that it remains top-of-mind for consumers. This principle is particularly effective in creating long-term brand awareness and fostering habitual consumer behavior.

  1. Emotion: Evoking Shareable Feelings

Emotional content resonates with people, and “Contagious” emphasizes the importance of creating an emotional connection with your audience. Whether it’s joy, surprise, anger, or awe, tapping into emotions enhances the likelihood of content being shared. The book provides insights into crafting emotionally compelling narratives that leave a lasting impression on consumers.

  1. Public: Leveraging Public Visibility

Humans are social beings, and the desire to conform to what others are doing is deeply ingrained. “Contagious” explores how making products or behaviors more observable can significantly impact their adoption. By harnessing the power of public visibility, marketers can amplify the reach of their campaigns and encourage social proof.

  1. Practical Value: Providing Utility

People love to share practical and useful information. “Contagious” explains how providing practical value can make your brand indispensable. By creating content that helps solve problems or improves lives, marketers can position their products as essential and increase the likelihood of consumers sharing that valuable information with their networks.

  1. Stories: Crafting Compelling Narratives

“Contagious” emphasizes the role of storytelling in making ideas shareable. Human brains are wired to remember and share stories, and marketers who can master the art of storytelling can create narratives that resonate with their audience. The book provides actionable insights into crafting compelling stories that capture attention and fuel word-of-mouth marketing.

The Digital Age and the Role of Contagious Marketing

In the era of information overload, capturing and retaining consumer attention is a significant challenge for marketers. “Contagious” addresses this challenge by offering a framework that is tailored to the dynamics of the digital age. The principles outlined in the book provide a roadmap for creating content that not only stands out in the crowded online space but also compels users to share it with their networks.

  1. Social Media Amplification

Social media platforms are the epicenter of digital word-of-mouth. Marketers need to understand the principles of social currency, triggers, and emotion to craft content that thrives on these platforms. “Contagious” equips marketers with the tools to create shareable content that aligns with the psychology of social media users, ensuring that their brand gains traction in the digital landscape.

  1. Virality and Shareability

In the digital age, virality is the holy grail of marketing success. “Contagious” sheds light on the factors that contribute to content going viral, emphasizing the importance of creating content that people naturally want to share. By mastering the STEPPS framework, marketers can increase the shareability of their campaigns, leading to organic reach and heightened brand visibility.

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making

“Contagious” is not just a collection of theoretical concepts; it is backed by extensive research and case studies. In the data-driven landscape of digital marketing, the book provides marketers with evidence-based insights that guide decision-making. By understanding the science behind contagious ideas, marketers can make informed choices about their strategies, campaigns, and content creation.

Real-World Applications and Success Stories

One of the strengths of “Contagious” is its reliance on real-world examples and case studies. The book illustrates how the principles it outlines have been successfully applied in various industries, ranging from consumer goods to technology. Marketers can draw inspiration from these success stories and adapt the principles to suit their specific goals and target audiences.

  1. Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” Campaign

The book discusses Blendtec’s viral “Will It Blend?” campaign, where the company blended unexpected items like iPhones and golf balls to showcase the power of its blenders. By leveraging the principles of practical value, emotion, and public visibility, Blendtec created a series of videos that not only went viral but also boosted sales significantly.

  1. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

“Contagious” explores the remarkable success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a campaign that raised awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The campaign harnessed the power of social currency, emotion, and public visibility, encouraging participants to share their experiences and nominations on social media. The challenge became a global phenomenon, demonstrating the potential of contagious marketing for social causes.

  1. Dollar Shave Club’s Disruptive Marketing

The book delves into Dollar Shave Club’s disruptive marketing strategy, emphasizing the use of humor and relatability to connect with its audience. By employing social currency and storytelling, Dollar Shave Club disrupted the traditional razor market and rapidly gained a large customer base. The success of the campaign highlights the impact of contagious ideas on challenging industry norms.

The Longevity of Contagious Marketing

“Contagious” doesn’t just offer a short-term strategy for marketing success; it provides a framework for creating enduring, contagious ideas. By understanding the psychological principles that drive sharing and adoption, marketers can build campaigns that withstand the test of time. The book’s insights are not tied to specific trends but rather rooted in the fundamental aspects of human behavior.

  1. Adapting to Changing Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior is constantly evolving, influenced by technological advancements, cultural shifts, and global events. “Contagious” equips marketers with a flexible framework that can be adapted to changing consumer preferences. Whether it’s a shift in social media platforms, communication channels, or content formats, the principles outlined in the book provide a timeless guide for creating contagious ideas.

  1. Building Brand Advocacy

Contagious marketing goes beyond creating viral campaigns; it fosters brand advocacy. By consistently applying the principles of “Contagious,” marketers can cultivate a community of brand advocates who actively promote and share their products. This not only amplifies the reach of marketing efforts but also establishes a loyal customer base that contributes to long-term brand success.

  1. Navigating the Noise of the Digital Era

In the digital age, consumers are bombarded with information from various sources. “Contagious” provides marketers with a strategic approach to cut through the noise and capture the attention of their target audience. By creating content that aligns with the STEPPS framework, marketers can differentiate their brand in a saturated market and stand out amidst the digital clutter.


In the fast-paced world of marketing, staying relevant and impactful is a perpetual challenge. “Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age” by Jonah Berger serves as a beacon for marketers navigating the complexities of the digital landscape. By offering a comprehensive framework rooted in psychology and real-world examples, the book provides actionable insights that can elevate marketing strategies to new heights.

Marketers who embrace the principles of social currency, triggers, emotion, public visibility, practical value, and storytelling will find themselves better equipped to create contagious ideas that resonate with audiences. As the digital age continues to evolve, the enduring principles outlined in “Contagious” position it as an indispensable resource for marketers striving not only to keep up with trends but to set the trends that define the future of marketing success.