Recently I read this great book New York Times best-seller ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch on’ by Jonah Berger. As author says it’s not luck or chance why people talk and share things it’s actually science behind it. He presents six simple principals why some things gets viral and most importantly how to implement those rules for business. I will go trough all of them with examples how well know brands are taking action based on these principles.

1.Social Currency.

This term is commonly used among marketeers. The idea behind it is that people like to share things that makes them look good. In fact the reason why social networks became so popular is because we love to speak about ourselves and our personal experiences. When updating your profile on Facebook, you always think about how this information will make you look, and you keen to speak whenever something special happens to you.

For business: Think about how your product could help people look good and feel special and will make them want to tell everyone about it. LinkedIn could be a good example as some of their users received message saying that their profile was at the Top 1% of all profiles. And many people shared this message because it made them look good it just happened that LinkedIn was a part of this news.


The fact is that people constantly mentions brands in their conversations. Either you are speaking about a car you are thinking of buying or that you are going to Portugal for a vacation. This is called  the world-of-mouth and marketeers and constantly searching for ways to inject their messages to number of conversations.

For business: The goal is to relate your product to everyday life, like waking up, dressing, eating, driving, etc. Probably everyone knows song Friday by Rebeca Black. It went viral really fast, but the thing is the song itself is quite terrible but because everyone knows it whenever it’s Friday number of views on YouTube rises. So Friday is a trigger that reminds us about that song and we are reminded about it every week.


This is quite intuitive. People tend to share things that gives them strong emotions, makes us happy, confused, angry, excited and inspired. It is important to mention that people doesn’t like so share something that makes them feel sad. Somehow sadness is not a shareable emotion.

For business: If your content can cause some strong emotion to your customers, which are related to their believes or opinions, they will most likely share it. Dove is a really good example for that. They realized number of adds that actually look like social campaigns for woman to embrace their natural beauty. Those adds are highly shared and discussed not because everyone loves Dove products, but because of the good emotions that it brings.

4. Publicity.

As we know, people really tend to count on others opinion, especially when something is new, and requires a certain courage to go for it. Imagine you are exploring new city and decide to go for lunch. Intuitively you will look for a restaurant that is filled with people, because it signals that it should be good.

For business: You want to be publicly seen! If you are seen that means you are approved and worth talking about. It is as important as testimonials in websites, people sharing their experience and this way assuring it is a good product. Probably the best example could be Apple. Coffee shops are filled with people using MacBooks and glowing logo implies that if so many people want’s to be part of it it should be a good product.

5. Practical value.

 It’s simply why content that you provide is useful for the customer. And it’s not about the product itself, it’s about the extra value it can provide. It can be specific industry insights, knowledge or even humor and good emotions. People like to share content that could benefit others.

For business: Always try to find what’s in it more for the customer, why it is useful for him to know and pass to others, it is just the matter of creativity to create this extra practical value or just the ability to outline it.

6. Stories.

The idea behind this is that nobody likes to be marketed, or speak about raw details, but we love to tell stories. The reason why we like sharing stories because it makes us look good, so it is closely connected to social currency.

For business: Build a nice story around your content and make sure that it’s not possible to tell the story without mentioning your brand. For example, Blendtec is a company that sells blenders and managed to create a really great story around them.  They realized video series called “Will it blend?” and they blend anything they can find, from new iPhones to skeletons. Quite nice story to share, and you can’t do that without mentioning the blender!


Written by Akvile Zelnyte
Marketing miss at Followprice with a great passion for writing on a various topics starting e-commerce business to traveling and philosophy.