Author Jonah Berger shares insights from his new book about how ideas and products become contagious.
Ten years ago, had you ever heard of the hand sanitizer Purell? It existed, but nobody really used it. Then one day, it was everywhere. Grocery stores placed dispensers at the door, nail salons gave it to clients, and people started carrying travel size bottles in their bags. With little advertising, how did Purell catch on?
Jonah Berger, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, has dedicated his career to answering that question. As he explains in his new book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, 2013), every viral product has six key features in common — features that can be replicated to make any product go viral.
“People often think that contagious products just get lucky,” Berger says. “But it’s not luck and it’s not random. It’s science.”
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