I once handed out marketing materials as part of a guerilla marketing campaign. I quickly realized that if one person took something from my hand, others would follow suit.
It’s kind of like that expression, “Monkey see, monkey do.”
And it’s true. Scientists and sociologists call this monkey behavior “social proof.”
Social proof is what happens when people are unsure of how to act. People tend to look to others as a way of making decisions when limited information is available.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On, explores this idea, among others, in an attempt to understand what makes ideas and products catch on.
It’s quite similar to Made To Stick. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the author of Contagious, Jonah Berger, was mentored by Made To Stick author Chip Heath.
The first thing you notice about the book–as is the case with Made To Stick– is that the cover of the book stands out (it’s bright!). And that’s a big part of the message: Be remarkable, stand out.
Behavioral Economics And The S.T.E.P.P.S. Framework
A lot of the content of this book reminded me of Seth Godin’s work. The chapters about remarkability and social currency echo Godin’s Unleashing The Idea Virus.
What makes Contagious a bit more interesting than other books on the topic, however, is that it really focuses in on behavioral economics. I first learned about behavioral economics in the book Nudge.
In one chapter of Contagious, the author describes how researchers were able to influence healthier eating choices by including health messages on school lunch trays.
Another chapter talks about how to make the price of something more attractive to buyers using the “rule of 100.”
The author encapsulates these principles in the S.T.E.P.P.S. framework.
Like Made To Stick, Contagious also includes stories.
Stories seem to be naturally “contagious” when done well.
Made To Stick 2.0
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t as amazing as Made To Stick, but, that’s probably because I read Made To Stick first.
Along with the ideas of Godin, Contagious also reminded me of Cialdini’s classic book, Influence.
I’m tempted to call this book Made To Stick 2.0. But, in fairness to the author, he does make an effort to differentiate himself from it early on by saying that this is more of a “how-to guide.” And in some regards he’s right.
Contagious strengthens the narrative of what we already know: Don’t market to people, market with them.
You may also like