For those of you that don't already know, I studied Psychology at University. Understanding human behaviour is something that I love to read about, especially when it involves aspects of marketing. The book Contagious by Jonah Berger, really tickled that psychology loving person inside of me, his book talks all about the reasoning behind brands becoming viral and creating sharable content. Within this book there were three stand out points that I found super interesting and wanted to share with you. I feel these also can easily be applied to your creative business.
One of the most interesting pieces of information I took away from this book was thinking about what emotion your brand and content creates and how this will effect it being shared with others.
Berger developed an arousal table (showed below) which highlighted, through his research, that people are more likely to share content that's high in arousal. High arousal can be caused by both positive emotions (awe / excitement) and negative emotions (anger / anxiety).
Let's look at an example where this concept could be used. You're a seamstress who has been working late to create a new dress for yourself to wear to a friend's wedding. You've just accidentally sewed the top you're wearing to the dress you're sewing. You decide to do an Instagram story to explain what you've just done and ask if you're the only one who ever does this when working late. You could also share an image on your Instagram feed with a witty caption of "when you know it's time for bed...".
Your followers, especially those who have had this happen to them, might find this funny and share it with family members saying "remember when I did this" or "I'm not the only one". You've then been able to turn something that could have been a rather negative thing into a humorous, high arousal and shareable piece of content.
2. Triggers and Habits
Another interesting topic from the book talks about triggers. Triggers are something that connects thoughts and ideas together. One example used in the book was where Kit Kat increased their sales through the use of habit. They decided to form their marketing around the idea of 'have a break, have a Kit Kat'. This would start to reinforce people, when they take a break, to think about having a Kit Kat. Results showed that through their marketing campaigns pairing Kit Kats with 'having a break', sales increased by 8%!
Where in your business could you pair your product or service to a customer's trigger or habit? For example you're an enamel pin maker and you create a marketing campaign that encourages potential customers every time they get a new reusable canvas bag, they should treat themselves to a new 'planet lover' pin. "New reusable bag, new planet lover pin".
3. Making private, public + Monkey See, Monkey Do
The book used Movember as one of their examples in contagiousness. Movember is a charity who raises awareness and money for testicular cancer by encouraging people to grow a moustache over November and get sponsored to do so.
They explained that by making a private act (donating money to a charity) now public (growing a rather large moustache) it allowed their brand to become more sharable and talked about. This in turn links in with the "monkey see, monkey do" concept. If people start noticing other people doing things, using things, purchasing things, they are more than likely to do it themselves.
Is there anything in your business that you can do to help make a private purchase of your product / service more public to allow this "monkey see, monkey do" effect to take place?
I hope you found these pointers usful when thinking about creating a shareable brand and contagious content.