Contagious, by Jonah Berger

Contagious, by Jonah Berger

Last week I received an advance copy of Contagious, by Jonah Berger.

Berger's book outlines how and why ideas catch on.

Berger, of whom I was unaware until receiving this book, is a marketing professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past decade or so, Berger has been studying why ideas catch on.

Now, this is different from studying how ideas spread, or how tipping points are reached.

I've only made it part way through the first (there are 6) principle, which is Social Currency.

Berger argues that social currency is one of the principles in getting ideas to catch on.

Social currency is how people leverage news and bits of knowledge to appear cool and smart.

Some things have social currency: purchasing the latest iPhone and talking it up to your friends, recommending the hippest restaurant in town to your peers, or Tweeting live from a conference

And some things do not have a lot of social currency, like running errands, purchasing mundane household products with little differentiation, or walking the dog.

Stories and brands that learn to leverage social currency are ahead of the game when it comes to creating spreadable ideas.