Viral marketing - week 3

Viral marketing - week 3

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Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

University of Pennsylvania

Jonah Berger

Lecture 14 - Word of Mouth

3 - 1

- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Word of Mouth - WOMM 

Let's play a quick game for a moment. You've never played this game before, but
you'll get the hang of it really quickly. It's called, which is tastier. I'm gonna put up two things on the screen, and I'm gonna ask you which
of those things is tastier. And I want you to be honest. Not which of the two you think is tastier,
not which of the two you wish is tastier, but which of the two is actually tastier. Okay? Our first contestant is a wonderful,
delicious head of broccoli. Now, you probably know that broccoli
has lots of vitamins and nutrients. It has lots of fiber, and in fact
it actually has a lot of vitamin C. So our first contestant, again,
is wonderful, delicious broccoli. And our second contestant is,
well, a cheeseburger. Now, this example of a cheeseburger
isn't my version of a cheeseburger. If I was gonna eat a cheeseburger,
it would have bacon on top. It would probably have grilled onions. It would have bleu cheese. Feel free to put whatever toppings
you want on the cheeseburger. And to keep things even, feel free to put whatever toppings
you like on the broccoli as well. Now I ask you again. Which is tastier? Be honest. Cheeseburger? Or the broccoli? Now, I've played this game
with thousands of people, and the answer most people
give is always the same. Most people say the cheeseburger. 95% of people say the cheeseburger. When I look at the other 5%,
most of them are either vegetarians, or maybe they're liars. One or the other. And I'll let you guess based
on how well you know them. The point here is really simple. We all know that we
should eat more broccoli. We all know that broccoli is better for
us, and the government has spent millions of dollars and decades trying to convince
people to eat more fruits and vegetables. And yet, when it's late at night,
when we're on the road, when we're tired, the cheeseburger beckons. Pizza beckons. Fast food in general beckons. And it's not random or
luck how that works. Right? The cheeseburger just fits better
with the way we are designed. McDonald's, for example, has spent
millions of dollars engineering french fries so they have the right amount
of crisp, and salt, and sugar. So when you bite into them,
your tongue lights up. Certain food is just tastier than others. Now, I would love to spend the next bit
we have together talking about food. I love eating food, but
I am not really an expert on it. But I would like to use that idea
of certain things being tastier and port them to a slightly different domain. What makes certain messages or ideas more tasty than others? Why do some get spread,
get shared, while others don't? And so, in this next section,
we'll answer three key questions. First, how we can make
our messages tastier. Second, how we can craft contagious
content or build word-of-mouth and buzz. And third, how we can use
word-of-mouth to get our own products, ideas and services to catch on. But one more question
from me before we start. Here are three products, or brands,
that you're probably quite familiar with. First, we have Walt Disney World, the self-described place
where dreams come true. Wonderful place to take the kids. Second is Honey Nut Cheerios. In case you're not familiar with it, it's
a breakfast cereal in the United States. Quite popular breakfast cereal. And third is Scrubbing Bubbles. Scrubbing Bubbles is basically a bathroom
cleaner that you might spray on the walls while you clean the shower or
something along those lines. If you had to guess, which of these three products do you
think gets the most word-of-mouth? Is it Disney, is it Cheerios,
or is it Scrubbing Bubbles? Now, if you're like most people, this
was probably a little bit more difficult than the cheeseburger and the broccoli. That one you had an answer right away. Of course the cheeseburger. But here you're probably
a little bit more uncertain. I don't know which of these
three gets more word-of-mouth. And indeed, you might say this answer
doesn't have a lot to do with me. Because unless you work for Disney World,
or you work for Cheerios, or you work for Scrubbing Bubbles, you don't really care
which one really gets more word-of-mouth. But the why is really important. Because if we don't understand why
one of these gets more word-of-mouth, it's gonna be really hard to get people
to talk about and share our ideas. To get our products to catch on, whether
externally, outside an organization, or internally, within an organization. And that brings me to my second point. So if you had to guess,
which of the three do you think it is? Well, most people when I ask this
question would say Disney World. Which is about 85% of
people guess Disney World. And it's a great guess, but
unfortunately, it's wrong. Usually, another set of people,
maybe about 10, 12, maybe even 15% guess Scrubbing Bubbles. That also makes a lot of sense. And unfortunately, that's also wrong. The answer is Cheerios. The one that almost nobody guesses. And the point here is really simple. We might all think we
understand word-of-mouth. We see viral content on the web and
we assume, I get it. I know what makes things viral. But if we don't understand the science
behind social transmission, we're not gonna be able to
get messages to catch on.
We have to understand how to craft contagious content.

Lecture 15 - Why Word of Mouth Matters

3 - 2
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Why Word of Mouth Matters

One important question you might
ask yourself is, why word of mouth? Why do we care about word of mouth? Why does word of mouth matter? Well think for a moment about
the last product you bought. The last movie you watched,
the last book you bought, or maybe the last restaurant you tried. How you found a babysitter for your kids, how you picked a dog
food to give your dog. In most cases word of mouth
drove our decision making. Think about a friend or a colleague
who told us about a restaurant and we tried it and
in fact data shows that word of mouth generates more than twice the sales
of traditional advertising. More than twice the sales of a television
ad, a radio spot, or even a print ad. Any company-generated communication. Word-of-mouth generates more than twice
the sales of any company-generated communication. And in fact, research shows that
a dollar spent on word-of-mouth goes ten times as far as a dollar
spent on traditional advertising. And you might wonder why. Well, there are two key reasons. One you probably guessed already. And that very simply is trust. We see an ad on TV, we don't trust it. We don't believe what they're telling
us because we're not necessarily sure that they're honest. There was a great ad on
television a few years ago, with the famous football
quarterback named Joe Montana. Famous US football quarterback, in
the hall of fame, big famous sports star, and he was in this ad for
these Sketcher shoes called Shape Ups. These are these shoes that you wear that
theoretically at least are suppose to tone your rear-end. You walk around in these shoes,
you get a firm rear-end. Okay, now imagine you saw this ad,
famous sports figure, Joe Montana saying he loves these shoes. What would you think? And I remember thinking, wow. He must owe somebody a lot of money,
right? There's no way he actually
uses these shoes. And that's the thing we think
every time we see an ad. We know someones trying to convince us,
trying to change our mind so we push back,
we react against the message. We turn off the TV,
we flip to something else, we don't listen to what they're saying. Ads always say we have the best service,
we have the best products. You've never seen an ad say you know,
what we have the 17th best service. In fact, here are our 16 competitors
who have better service. Check them out first, and
if they're busy come work with us. But because of that we don't know
whether they're telling the truth. But we can trust our friends and
colleagues, cuz our friends and colleagues will tell it to us straight. They'll say, hey I worked with this
distributor and they were fantastic, or hey I worked with these guys and
they weren't so good. So the first benefit of word
of mouth is we can trust it, we can believe what they have to say. And no wonder then the referred customers,
people that come in from existing business have about a 20% higher
customer lifetime value. They're better customers because someone
went through their social network to find the person that would be most
interested in what you have to offer. And that brings me to the second benefit
of word of mouth, which is targeting. Often it's hard to know who might be most
interested in what you're selling or what you're offering. How do we find the right customer base? How do we find folks that might be
interested in what we have to offer but haven't purchased from us already. And often that's very difficult. It's hard to know when we use a particular
outlet, whether they bought our products or not, or
whether they're working with a competitor. But word of mouth does that
targeting much more effectively. It takes someone else who knows
people much better than we do and gets them to figure out who might
like our products or service. A great example of this happened
to me a couple of years ago. A company sent me a book in the mail for
free. I was quite surprised. And this often happens with professors
though, we got books in the mail. Companies think if they
send us their books, we'll assign them to our students and
they'll sell more copies in the process. But this time I didn't just get one book,
I got two books in the mail for free. The exact same book. And I sat there looking at the books
going, well, why the same book? Why two copies of the exact same book,
and then I flipped to one of them and there was a note inside that said hey,
Professor Berger, we think you'll like this book, but we think you'll also know
someone else who will like this book. Pass the second copy on to them. And that's the first simple hack
I'm gonna share in this session. How by turning customers into advocates (recommend)
can we get them to do the work for us.
How can we get them to
do the targeting for us? How can we take all of the people
that like us already and get them to share our message and use them
as a communication channel for our ideas? Now at this point,
you might say okay, great. Word of mouth is effective. How do we get it? Usually when we think about getting
word of mouth, we think online. We think about Facebook, we think about
LinkedIn, we think about Twitter. But if you actually look at the data, if
you had to guess, what percent of all word of mouth would you guess is online, on
blogs and online reviews and social media. Pick a number between a hundred
all the way down to zero. What number would you guess? I've played this game a couple times and
most people say around 50%. Some say 60, some say 40,
some say 20, some say 80, but on average people say around 50%. And that's a great guess. But unfortunately it's no where
close to the real answer. The actual answer is 7%,
only 7% of word of mouth is online. And lots of companies I work with
are surprised by that number. They say, well hold on. Why are we investing so much money in social media if only
7% of word of mouth is online? I would say that's a good question. It's not that digital and
social aren't useful channels, but they're not the only way that people
talk about and share information. We spend most of our day talking
face to face with others. By some estimates we spend six to
even seven hours a day talking to others face to face. Much more time than we spend online. And more importantly, by focusing so much on the technology, we forgot
about something much more important. The psychology. Why do people talk and
share in the first place? What makes them share one
message rather than another? And if you used to look up this
question online, if you typed in well, what makes something viral,
you used to get back one simple answer. And that word was cats. People said well there's
lots of cat content. People make cat videos that go viral,
there are LOL cats. It must be cats that make
online content viral. That's a great theory, except that
it's completely and utterly wrong. It doesn't tell us anything why some
cat videos do better than others, or about all the things that get shared
that have nothing to do with cats. So unfortunately,
it's more science there than cats. I'm gonna share the science
behind why people talk and share. We've done lots of research in this space
and we found that there's six key factors, or steps, that drive people to talk about
and share all sorts of information. And I put these in a framework called,
in fact, STEPPS. And STEPPS actually has two Ps and
it stands for Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion,
Public, Practical Value, and Stories. Each of these dimensions is
a psychological driver of what people talk and share, and it helps explain why all
sorts of products and ideas catch on. Helps us explain why things go viral but
also how one person talks to just one other person and
that leads products and ideas to catch on.

Lecture 16 - Social Currency

3 - 3
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Social Currency

>> I want you to imagine for
a moment that you're in New York City. If you don't live there, imagine you're walking around one
weekend doing all the touristy stuff. Visiting Time Square,
checking out the Empires State Building, walking around the city. It starts to get late in the day,
it's late on a Saturday and your stomach starts rumbling. It's time to get a bite to eat and you're walking down the street on
the lower east side when you notice a big hotdog shaped sign with the words
eat me written in front. Looks almost like mustard and say, I haven't had a hotdog in a while
might as well check this place out. So you walk down a flight of stairs
into a restaurant called Crif Dogs. Now if you like hotdogs,
you'll be in heaven. Crif Dogs  map has every
hotdog you can imagine. Over I think 20 to 30 hotdogs on the menu. They have a good morning hotdog
with bacon, eggs and cheese. I don't know who would wanna eat
a hotdog like that for breakfast, but interesting nonetheless. A hotdog with green onion and
pineapple and a traditional New York style water dog. So you're sitting there, you're finishing
your hotdog when you notice something unusual in the corner of the room. Looks almost like a phone booth, like one of those things that Clark Kent
might jump into to change into Superman. So you have a couple minutes,
wipe the corners of your mouth, get the ketchup off. You say, I'll check this phone booth out,
so you walk inside. It's pretty cramped in there,
it's a phone booth after all. But on the wall, you'll see something
you probably haven't seen in 20, maybe even 25 years. Remember, rotary dial phones? Remember, those phones you had
to stick your finger in to and spin around in a circle? Well, there's one on the wall right there. Just for fun,
stick your finger to number three, go around in a circle and
hold that receiver up to your ear. Well, the phone will actually ring. It'll go ring, ring and then someone
will puck up the other line and they'll ask you whether
you have a reservation. Now I remember the first time I heard
this story, I said, a reservation? I'm in a phone booth inside
of a hotdog restaurant. What could I possibly
have a reservation for? But if you're lucky and they have space or
a friend of yours happened to make a reservation,
the back of that phone booth will open and you'll be let into a secret
bar called Please Don't Tell. Now Please Don't Tell has violated
a number of traditional laws of marketing. There's no sign on the street,
no sign inside the restaurant. In fact, they've done everything they can
to make themselves difficult to find. Yet they've never advertised,
and every day they are full. 3 PM, the phone lines open up. By 3:30, all the seats are gone. People frantically hit redial on their
phones again and again and again on their phones, trying to get through and
it's not for lack of competition. There's dozens of bars within a couple
block radius that serve a similar product. So why were they so
successful when many other bars fail? In fact, most bars and restaurants fail. So what did they do to
make themselves a hit? Well, if you think about it,
they made themselves a secret. Let me tell you a little
secret about secrets. Think about the last time that
someone told you something and they told you not to tell anybody else. What's the first thing that
you did with that information? If you are like most people,
you probably told someone. Because having access to something that
not everyone else has makes you feel smart, it makes you feel in the know. It gives you what I'll
call social currency. Just like the car we drive and
the clothes we wear, the things we say and the things we share affect
how other people see us. So one thing that drives people to pass
things on is that it makes them look good. The better something makes us look,
the more likely we are to share it. To help explain this concept,
I wanna introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Carla and
she drives a minivan and I wanna see how much you can guess about her
based solely on the car that she drives. So if you had to guess, for example,
how old would you guess my friend is? Well, you might say 35, maybe 45. Does she have kids? Probably. Do they play sports? Probably. What sport do they play? Well, you might say soccer. How did I know that you would
guess all those things? Do I know that you know Carla? No, because choices communicate
information, the car we drive and also the clothes we wear. I thought a lot about what to wear for
this video. I knew that you'd be looking at me and
making inference about me based on how I'm dressed and I know that I have
a little bit of a young face. So I wore a jacket to seem professional
and encourage you to think that I'm 24 at least rather than 18 and have my own
money and can buy my own clothes. Because if I was talking to you
wearing a t-shirt as I'd probably much prefer to be doing,
you probably wouldn't take me seriously. What we're wearing, our clothes are a signal of who
we are just like what we drive. Well, it's the same thing with
what we talk about and share. Do you ever look online and notice that people share all sorts
of positive things on social media? Look at me on vacation. Look at me I got a promotion. Look at me my child did well on school. Why do people less likely
to share negative things? Why does nobody share look at me, I'm in front of my computer
doing Excel spreadsheets? They share things that make them
look good rather than not good. They share things that make
them look smart, special and in the know rather than not so smart or
not so special or not so in the know. What we share is a signal of who we are. Some people love talking about sports,
it's a signal of their identity. Some people are foodies,
love talking about the newest restaurants. People that are into technology or
business, talk about those areas to
signal things to others. And so if we wanted to get
people to talk about us, one key thing we need to do
is find that social currency.
How can we make customers, our clients or the people we wanna talk
about us feel like insiders?
Feel smart, special and in-the know like their not like everybody else? Please don't tell did a great job of that,
a hidden bar. It makes you feel special and
know that you are different from others. Coca Cola put people's
names on the bottles, you can see pictures of different
names when you walk in to the store. You see your name on a bottle,
you're much more likely to pick it up, because it makes you feel
different from others.
That's one way to get social currency, but there's a few more and another fun one is to find the inner remarkability and I
think this one is particularly important. Remarkability means worthy of remark,
something that's surprising, novel or interesting. And you might say, well, certain
things are naturally remarkable and others are doomed to fail. Think about a product or service you think would be difficult
to get people to talk about. You might say, toilet paper or socks,
accounting, maybe dishwashers or blenders. Nobody would talk about blenders. Let me show you a fun example how
a company got over 200 million view for videos about blenders.

Will it blend? That is the question. [MUSIC] I love my new iPhone. It does everything, but will it blend? That was the question, let's find out. I think I'm gonna push
the smoothie button. [NOISE] ISmoke. Don't breathe this. [MUSIC] Now you fans on YouTube have
asked me to blend an iPhone. So I did it, but I have another. [MUSIC] Think I'm gonna put this on eBay.

Now, that's pretty remarkable. This video has over ten million views. They do them for lots of different
the set has over 200 million. Blender sales go up over 700%
when these videos come out and anyone would be happy with
a 700% sales increase. That's certainly remarkable. They did this for a $50 marketing budget. That's even more remarkable, but that's not the most remarkable
thing to me about this video. The most remarkable thing about this
video to me is that they did this for one of the least exciting products ever,
a blender. Most of us don't even have any idea
what type of blender you might have in your home. Yet, this company got millions of people
to talk about and share blenders.
Because they found that
inner remarkability. It's not that certain products are born
remarkable and others are doomed to fail. Any product can be remarkable. If you find that inner remarkability.
If you show people again rather than tell them. Don't just tell them we make
a really powerful blender.
How can you show them how powerful that blender is? Please Don't Tell didn't just get up and
say, hey, look at our blender, it works great. They made a piece of content, a story that
carried that message along for the ride. And by finding that inner remarkability,
they got to people to talk and share.

Lecture 17 - Triggers

3 - 4
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Triggers

I want you to spend a couple
minutes listening to this song.
Now you're probably wondering why
I made you listen to that song. If you're like many people,
you didn't like that song very much. In fact, 75% of the thumbs on You Tube for
that song are thumbs down. Most people dislike that song. In fact, some people have said
it's the worst song ever. Yet, it's one of the most popular pieces
of content in the past few years. Over 300 million people have shared
that content and so one question is why? If most people hate it,
why was it so successful? Rebecca Black, the person who made that
song was a 16 year old girl at the time. Her parents paid $2,000 to ARK Music
Factory to come up with a hit for her. They came up with some overproduced number
about those big teenage dilemmas like waking up in the morning, going to school, figuring out whether to sit in the front
seat or the back seat of a friends car. She put it out there and it's been hugely
successful, so one question is why? Again if so many people hate it,
why did so many people share it. Why did it catch on. Well if you look at the data,
you'll notice an interesting pattern. There's a spike in shares and then it
goes down, and then another spike and then it goes down, and
then another spike and then it goes down. If you look closer though
those spikes aren't random. They're actually seven days apart. If you'll look even closer you'll
notice that they're every Friday, the same name as your back a black song. That song is equally bad
every day of the week. Depending on your preferences it's
bad on Monday, it's bad on Tuesday, it's bad on Wednesday, but Friday rolls
around and it provides a ready reminder, what psychologist would call a trigger,
to make people think about it, and talk about it, and share it. Because if something's top-of-mind it's
gonna be more likely to be tip-of-tongue. When we think about marketing we often
think about do people like a product and we think the more people like it,
the more likely they will be to buy it. But it's not just whether we
like something that we buy, it's whether we're thinking about it or
not. There's a restaurant in your city that
I'm sure you've been meaning to go to. You like the food. You've been there once. You've been meaning to go back. But if you never think about it right
when you're going out to dinner, you're never going to end up going there. If you're not triggered to think about it,
you're not going to take action. Some scientists did a great study in
the grocery store a few years ago. Some days they played French
music over the PA system and other days they played German music. What did they find? Well, they found on days
they played French music, sales of French wine went up. On days they played German music,
sales of German wine and beer went up.
Well, it wasn't that the music changed what wine people liked,
it just reminded them to purchase it. Hear French wine over the PA it
reminds you oh, I like French things. Maybe I should go check out
the French wine in the aisle. It triggered you to think about something,
and so encouraged you to take action. Here's a little bit more data. This is word of mouth about
Cheerios by time of day. What do you notice when
you look at this picture? Well you notice that most people talk
about Cheerios in the morning, and this is not rocket science. People talk about a product when
they've just used that product. You just ate a breakfast cereal,
you're more likely to talk about it. Just walked out of a movie,
you're more likely to talk about it. You just finished reading a book, well, you're more likely to
share it with others. It's top of mind,
it's more likely to be tip of tongue. But here's what's interesting, people don't continue to talk about
Cheerios the rest of the day, because other things become top of mind,
and that brand no longer is. And so outside of when people use
a product or service, if you want to get people talking about your stuff, how can
you trigger them in other ways beyond use? Well good news,
there are some other triggers as well. If I said peanut butter and for example,
blank, what work might come to mind? You might say jelly. Or if I said rum and
you might think of Coke. If I said gin and
you might think of tonic. Notice that peanut butter is almost
like a little advertisement for jelly. It's almost like jelly should pay
peanut butter like a kickback or referral fee every time
peanut butter's around. Cuz if peanut butter's around, jelly
doesn't have to remind you it exists. Peanut butter does all the work for jelly. All right, that's why companies
like Michelob, the American beer company Michelob, have the slogan,
weekends are made for Michelob. They wanted people to think about
the beer when the weekends rolled around. Corona, large brand,
has done the same thing with the beach. I challenge you to go on a beach
vacation and never think about Corona. It's pretty much impossible. You're lying there on the sand,
you got your swimsuit on, you're reading your book, you get thirsty. What comes to mind? Well Corona, and
what does it always have in it, a lime. How does that work? Is that random or luck? No, there's a science there, right. The beach is Corona's trigger,
the beach is Corona's peanut butter. So when you're thinking about
applying these ideas think about what's your peanut butter. What's the thing in the environment
that's gonna remind people of you even when you're not around. If you want your boss to
think about your ideas or you want your company's
product to catch on. How you can you make your consumers
triggered near the point of action. A famous example of this in
the US was around Kit Kat, large candy company created
a Kit Kat bar it's called. People liked it but
they weren't buying it. Sales were down by about 30%. So they came out with a simple slogan,
Kit Kat and Coffee, a break's best friend. Having a coffee break, have a Kit Kat. Thinking about coffee,
think about Kit Kat. Coffee and Kit Kat, Kit Kat and
coffee, best friends forever. Think about it, right? Why link yourself to coffee? Well, it's a beverage
people drink frequently. Every time people pick up a coffee, and lots of people do many times a day,
they'd be more likely to think of Kit Kat. And sales went through the roof after this
because people liked Kit Kat already but they weren't purchasing it. That slogan weekends are made for Michelob was originally
holidays are made for Michelob. But they moved it to the weekend
because the weekend was more frequent. So as you think about what trigger or
peanut butter to link yourself to, pick something that happens
frequently in environment. Think about who you wanna think about you,
or your idea, or your product. When you want them to think about you or
your idea. What is in the environment
around that time, and how you can link yourself to that trigger. More triggered, more top of mind,
more tip of tongue.

Practice Quiz 3

Lecture 18 - Emotion

3 - 5
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Emotion

We've talked about social currency,
we've talked about triggers, and to continue talking through the steps,
next we're gonna talk about emotion. And to do that, I wanna tell
you a story of dog named Ruby. I'm an avid cyclist, not a motorcyclist, but a bicyclist, and I love going on long
rides in the suburbs of Philadelphia. One winter, a couple years ago, I was
riding my bike through a big park north of the city when I noticed a really cute dog
running in circles around the parking lot. Now I'm a dog lover. I didn't have a dog at the time,
but dogs always make me happy.
So I looked at the dog
sort of wistfully and then I noticed that there were
no cars in the parking lot. So I got sort of worried. Someone's lost their dog. Oh no.
So I put the brakes on my bike and I walked over. I had my cell phone on me and I said,
well I'll call the number on the dog's collar and someone will come and
pick up the dog. When I walked over to the dog,
the dog was super happy as dogs often are. Jumping up, putting her paws on my leg,
panting really happily, it was a really nice, happy, cute dog. But then I noticed that it
didn't have a collar on. That was my second piece of concern. And then I noticed, looking closer,
that it had sores all over it's body, and it's ribs were sucked in. Someone had basically left this dog in
this dog in the park to fend for itself. Now at the time, I love dogs,
but I couldn't have one. My apartment building didn't allow it. I called up my local animal shelter and I said hey guys, I've got this dog
can you come find it a good home? They said oh sure, we can come pick up the
dog but we're pretty full at the moment, we might have to kill the dog. I said hold on, I'm not gonna let you
pick up this dog so you can kill it. So with the help of a friend,
we tried to nurse the dog back to health. We snuck it in the apartment building, we gave it its shots, we gave it
a lot of flea and tick medicine, gave it about five or six baths until
it smelled a little bit better. We had to find somebody to adopt the dog,
so I sent an email out to all my friends titled very simply,
in the subject line, free dog. It's got its shots. It's at my house. It's ready to go. Now good news. Somebody came and picked up that dog. But it wasn't someone I emailed. And it wasn't someone they
forwarded the message to. It was another degree of separation. That message was so powerful that someone
shared it to someone else, who shared it to someone else and eventually somebody
picked up Ruby and gave her a good home. Why did so many people share that message? And would they have been as
likely to share that message for example if it was a similar one
advertising something different? Hey friends and family, free couch. It's at my house, it's got it's shots
it's ready to go come pick it up. As you can think you'd probably be very
willing to share the dog message but probably not so much the couch message. And the reason is emotion. When we care, the more we care,
the more likely we are to share. So here I want to show you a great
example of a company getting people emotional about something that is
difficult to get emotional about. You might think, well,
certain things are naturally emotional.
Of course dogs are easy to get people to care about. But what if I'm trying to get people
to care about something that is not so emotional to begin with. So here's a great example about how Google
got people to care about online search.
>> Hello, bonjour. [MUSIC] [SOUND] >> [FOREIGN] [MUSIC] [LAUGH] Now that's quite
a powerful message. And if you think about it, at it's core, it's about something we don't care
a lot about or think a lot about. Online Search. Google is coming out with a new
version of their search technology, and they were trying to think about
how to get people more engaged.
They were thinking about
doing a search a day, or doing different sorts of how to videos. But they ended up trying emotion for
one of the first times ever,
and it was so successful to them that they've done it to this day. This piece of content I showed you
has over 10 million views, and subsequent efforts
by the company have been even more successful. And the point is that people can't
help but follow the story and get emotionally involved. Google got them to care about online
and because of that they shared. Now, one question this brings up though is
that are all emotions driving people to share, or might certain emotions
be more effective than others?
When we tend to think about emotions we tend to divide them into two types. Positive emotions and negative emotions. And you might say,
as we've talked about already, people be happy to share positive
emotions but avoid sharing negative ones.
You get promoted at the office. Something good happens. You get really excited. You'll tell others. You get, something bad. You get fired. Your kid doesn't do well in school. You're less likely to tell others. But, in fact, there's some examples
of people sharing negative emotions. There's a great website called Dell Hell, where people go to share their negative
experiences with Dell Computer. They're not happy. They're angry. They're pissed off, yet people can't
help but share those experiences. So are all emotions equally
likely to be shared, or are some emotions shared more than others? Well to find out we did a big
analysis of online content.
We looked at six months of newspaper articles from one of the most popular newspapers in the world,
the New York Times.
And we measured different characteristics of content to see whether all emotions increase sharing. We found that sure, emotion in general
tends to increase sharing and sure, positive emotion tends to increase
sharing more than negative emotion.
Articles that made people feel good tended to be shared more than articles that made people feel bad.
But it was actually more complicated than that.
We looked at certain types of emotions. Emotions like sadness, anger, and anxiety. All those emotions are negative. Feeling sad doesn't feel good, and feeling
anger and anxiety also feels pretty bad. But we found something interesting. While sadness decreased people's liking
of sharing the articles, the more sad a piece of content made people,
the less likely they were to share it.
Anger and anxiety actually made people more likely to share and the reason very simply is arousal,
or activation. Anger and anxiety actually increase
sharing and one question is, why?
Why did some negative emotions increase sharing, while other negative
emotions decrease sharing? Well importantly emotions differ
on one other dimension beyond just whether they are positive,
or negative.
Usually we think about positive emotions like excitement, humor, inspiration, surprise or contentment and negative emotions things like anger,
anxiety or sadness. But there's another dimension on which
emotions differ as well, how activating or arousing physiologically
arousing they are. Some emotions like anger and anxiety are activating while other
emotions like sadness are deactivating. Think for example what you do when you're
angry or anxious, you're fired up, you're pissed off. You want to do something. You want to throw something. You want to yell at somebody. You want to take an action. When we're sad we sort of want to
curl up in a ball and do nothing. We want to watch our favorite movie, or
be with family and friends, we want to eat a comfort food, and sure enough that
activation causes people to share as well.
All high arousal or activating
emotions encourage people to share, while low arousal or
deactivating emotions discourage sharing. So what does that mean? How can we apply that finding? Well, first, it's not enough
just to make people feel good. Too often, companies say, well as long as
people are on the right side of positive, they like us more than they dislike us,
then we're doing okay.
But too many companies make their
customers feel content not activated, not excited, not surprised, not inspired. Content's not gonna make us want to share. You walk out of an exercise class, you walk out of going along a long run or
going to the gym, you feel good, you feel positive but
you don't want to do very much. You're content but you're not activated. How can we excite our customers? How can we surprise and
delight them and drive them to action? And on the negative side, sure,
negative emotions tend not to be good. But certain negative emotions
are more powerful than others.
When people feel angry or anxious, they're more likely to share than when they feel sad. And I think this is quite
important cuz it helps us explain a lot of the things we see in the world.
We see lots of funny videos on YouTube and you might say okay people share funny things.
We see lots of angry political rants and we might say well people share things when they're angry.
You might think those two
things are very different but they're actually very similar. Whether we're laughing,
whether something is funny, or whether we're angry in both cases we're
fired up and we're more likely to share.
And second it's not enough just to make content that has functional information in it. We have to find that emotional core
as we talked about earlier and think about using those high arousal
emotions to get people to share. Lots of emotions will stick but only certain emotions will get
people to spread your message. And using those spreadable contagious
emotions will get them to pass on your ideas.

Lecture 19 - Public

3 - 6
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Public

The next key factor in
the steps framework is public. To help us think about public, I want
you to think about an old Apple laptop. Apple always wants their
products to be easy to use. I remember the first time I opened
up the box of an iPhone and there was no real instruction
booklet that was easy to see. They want their products to be so
simple and intuitive that people
can get them right away. Their laptop was the same way. When you open up a laptop, you need to
figure out which side is the right side to open so
they use their logo like a north star. Set the laptop down on the table, the Apple logo is facing you,
it's ready to open and ready to go. But at a marketing meeting
a little over a decade ago, they realized there was a small
problem with that idea. If the logo faces the user when the laptop
is closed, when the laptop is open, it's upside down for everybody else. Now that's not a big problem for the user. The user knows what laptop they bought,
but if the logo's upside down for everybody else it makes it harder for
others to see what laptop the user bought. The user might not care, right? They know what laptop they have. They spent thousands of dollars and
weeks of their time buying it. But other people care a lot because
people tend to imitate others. As we talked about, monkey see, monkey do. But if people can't see what others
are doing, they can't imitate it. And so Apple actually went ahead and
flipped the logo, make it upside down for the user, but right side up for
everybody else, to make it easier to
Because if something is built to show,it's built to grow. The easier it is to see,
easier it is to imitate. And we talked about these ideas a little
bit before when we talked about the science of conformity. Something called social proof, and the idea very simply is
when people don't know what to do they look to others to help them figure it out as we talked about earlier, right?
When your in a foreign city and
your trying out what restaurant to go to. You look for one that's full because
you assume it's pretty good. We look to others for information
about what we should do ourselves. But importantly if we can't see what
others are doing, we can't imitate it. If we walk by that restaurant and
that front window is not made of glass, there is a brick wall with a door and
we can't see inside.
We are not going to know how popular it is and we are going to be unlikely to go there. Same thing if you ever watch the dynamics
of a standing ovation at a sports match, the opera, or the theatre. Everybody stands up and applauds. But if you notice if someone
in the front row stands up and applauds, everyone else will stand up. But if someone in the back
row stands up and applauds, not everyone else will stand up. Why is that? Do people not like
the people in the back row?
No, they like them just fine, they just can't see them. They're not gonna crane their necks
to look all the way around to figure out who's in the back. The easier something is to see,
the easier it is to imitate.
And so in thinking about how to apply that idea, we need to make private
things more public.
Make the unobservable things more observable. Too often what we do is not easy for
others to see. For example, you can see what
shirt someone's wearing and decide that's a nice shirt. I might like to buy something similar. But it's harder to see their socks,
so you're less likely to imitate it. You're more likely to imitate someone
else if they bought a new car, but less likely to imitate toothpaste, cuz you
can't see what toothpaste they've bought.
And so
if we wanna get our ideas to catch on, we need to make the unobservable
more observable. For one of my favorite examples of this, I want you to think back
to the portable CD player. Remember when you used to have to run
around like you were carrying a pizza so it didn't skip? You had to make that big choice,
do I wanna exercise, or do I want to listen to music,
but you couldn't do both at once. It was a dark dark time
in the history of music. Then they came out with something new, something better called
the digital music player.
Remember the first time when
you saw a digital music player? It seemed great. The functions were fantastic. Much better than a portable CD player. It was only one problem. It was really expensive.
So everyone was sitting there going,
well, I don't like having to run like i'm carrying a pizza but I don't want to
put down $400 to buy this new device. I'm sort of caught in the crosshairs. I don't know which to do. I'm sort of balanced one way or
balanced the other. At the time, no one could tell
what device someone was using. Everybody had black headphones. Whether you had a portable CD player or
a tape deck or an MP3 player, no one knew what you had.
And then Apple did
something really simple. They came out with white headphones for
their iPod.
Now the first time you see someone
with white headphones you go. That's neat. I've never seen that before. And the second time you go, interesting. The third time you go,
a lot of people seem to using this device. And that tipped the scales
to help people realize. Well, if lots of others are doing it. Again, I should be more likely to do it. Easier to see, easier to imitate. And we can think about the same
thing with many other brands. McDonald's, for example, use to tout how may billions
they've served on their signs.
Again, make it easier to see how many people like the brand. And making it easier for other to imitate.

Lecture 20 - Practical Value

3 - 7
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Practical Value

To talk about the next concept, I want to introduce you to
a friend of mine named Ken Craig. Now, Ken Craig has made a viral video. It's got over 10 million views, and
that by itself is not very surprising. But what's more surprising is
that Ken is 86 years old, and that viral video is about one of
the least exciting things ever, corn. Now, who would share a video about corn? Why did over ten million people
share a piece of content about corn? Well, if you've ever eaten corn,
you know that there are two key problems. First, it gets stuck in your teeth. I can't solve that problem. But second,
once you take off the husk, there's those annoying little things called silks that run down the side.
We can never seem to get them all off.
Well, Ken has a simple trick for getting rid of those silks. You take an ear of corn. You pop it in the microwave for
four minutes. Take it out. Cut off the bottom quarter inch. Hold the husk. Out drops the ear, clean ears every time. Not the most exciting piece of content,
not the most emotional in the world, but pure, useful information. And that brings us to the second
P which is practical value. People don't just share things
that make them look good, they share things that help others and
make others better off.
When we look at your inbox for example, you'll see lots of things that people will
share with you that are often useful. Black Friday Deals,
top 10 Superfoods you should be eating, things like more almonds or more salmon. Or even articles about the six
things you can do to be happy or the seven questions you should
never ask in an interview.
In all these cases, people are sharing this information
because they wanna help others out. They wanna pass along useful
information to make others better off. We used to help our neighbors by
doing things like barn building. Our neighbors would come by and help us, and a couple years later when they needed
a new barn, we'd come by and help them. But today, we're more separate from
our neighbors than ever before. We don't interact as often face-to-face. Too often, we're looking at our phones. Or on digital rather than really
interacting with those around us. And so, sharing content is a way to deepen
connections between people we don't see as often. We may not see our friends face-to-face,
but by sharing things with them, we can deepen the social bond. One way that companies
take advantage of this, is something called content marketing. Rather than talking about themselves, they share useful content to their list
that people want to share with others. Vanguard for example, the financial service firm, creates
a series of emails called MoneyWhys. Every month they send along useful
tips for how to manage your money, child's education fund, or
other things you need to know about. How to plan for retirement. How to do better on your taxes. Not all those things are things that
Vanguard helps with directly, but people share the information
just because it's useful.
3M does most of their business B to B, but they've created a great newsroom
where they create articles and content about the power and
the motivating impact of science. The articles aren't about 3M per se, but they're about what science does for
the world. People share them because
they're inspired, and a long the way 3M gets to come along for
the ride.
One important thing to think about though, is how can we get people to
share our useful content? There's so much useful stuff out there. Why do we share some useful
things rather than others, and there's ways to frame content
to make it seem more useful. Let me give you a brief example. Imagine you're a retailer, and
you're selling a product that's $20.
And you want to discount it to motivate
people to action, so you say, well, I'll make that product five dollars off. What would five dollars off
be in percentage terms? Well, you can do the quick math,
it'd be 25% off. Economically, are those the same? Certainly. Five dollars off, is the same as 25% off. In both cases,
people pay $15 for the product. And yeah,
the retailer will lose $5 along the way. But are they the same to the end consumer? Are they both equally motivating
to get people to take action? Not quite. People are much more likely to take that
deal, and be motivated to talk about it, if it's 25% off rather than $5. Economically the same, but how they're framed, the numbers
are framed, influences their impact. Well are percentages always better, or are
there some cases where numbers are better? Take for
example a product that's $2,000 off.
You could imagine it being $500 off, or again, 25% off.
In that case, $500 off is more motivating. And it's something I call the rule of 100. It's not just what that number is,
it's how large or small that number seems
based on the context. 25% seems larger than five dollars. For numbers larger than 100, percentages
often seem larger than the number itself, and so they're motivating to
take people to take action.
But for numbers over 100, like $2,000, most off there the numbers off will
be greater than the percentage off. And so the absolute number off will
be more motivating to people and more likely to drive people to action. Numbers aren't just numbers,
useful information isn't just useful. 
How we frame that information, how we make it seem even more useful, will drive people to take action.

Lecture 21 - Stories

3 - 8
- The Power of Word of Mouth
- Promoting Positive Buzz in Marketing and Advertising
- Stories

To finish up the steps,
I want to talk about stories. And, we've talked about
stories a little bit already, when we get messages to stick. But, I want to talk about
a particular type of story here.
So imagine you're at a party, and someone you don't know, walks up to you and says something along
the lines of the following.
Did you know that the sandwich chain,
Subway, has five subs, under 5 grams of fat? What would you do if someone
walked up to you in a party and said did you know that a sandwich chain
has five subs under five grams of fat? You'd probably say wow,
that's really interesting I guess.
Hang on here just for a minute, I gotta go get my drink.
And then that person will never see you again because no one wants to be friends with someone that sounds like
a walking advertisement. If someone just goes around reiterating
product information we don't really want to talk to them.
But people are happy to share stories. People love to share the Jared story. Jared was a guy who lost over 180
pounds by eating Subway sandwiches. He was in college. He was way over weight. His roommate at the time said Jared
you have to do something about it or you're going to have
health problems later on. He picked his courses based on which ones
had big seats rather than which ones were useful for his education.
So he went on a Subway diet. He decided I gotta do something. So, he started eating Subway for
lunch and dinner every day. For six months on end. Six inch for lunch, foot long for dinner. Veggie sub, tuna sub, Cold Cut Trio. Eventually he lost all this
weight by eating fast food. Now, fast food diet is pretty remarkable. Someone could lose all that weight
by eating what we think about as not as healthy food this is amazing story. He went from a huge pant size something
like a 45, or maybe even a 50, to something much slimmer
more around a 32, or a 33. So, people share this story,
they love to engage with it, but notice it's not just an interesting story. Notice what comes along for
the ride as port of this story.
What did you learn from that story? You learned that Subway has lots
of subs that they're healthy and that you can eat there for month's on end. In fact all that information I
shared earlier that Subway has five sub's under five grams of fat is
actually hidden inside that story.
Because it's not just a story it's
a vessel or a carrier of information. It's what I'll call a Trojan Horse Story. We've all heard the story
of the Trojan Horse.
The Greeks versus the Trojans,
no one can win the battle so they build a big wooden horse and
they hide their men inside. Then the Trojans dragged that horse
into the city, the men climb out and they win the war.
Good stories are like that, they're vessels or carriers of information. Sure there is an engaging outside but there's a kernel in
the middle that comes along. Whether it's a brand,
whether it's an attribute, or a moral, it's part of the story. You can't forget it while
you're listening to that story.
Remember for example, will it blend? That example I showed you
where they blended an iPhone. Well if you had to fill in the blank
they make a very blank blender.
How would you feel on the blank? You'd probably say powerful, or really strong which is exactly
the attribute they want you to remember.
They didn't just build a story. They built a story that carried
their message along for the ride. If you have kids and you want your kids
not to lie, you might say, well don't lie.
And they'll probably cheerfully go back to whatever they were doing before, forgetting a day or two later. But if you tell your kids the story of the
boy who cried wolf, they'll stay tuned to the end of the story, cuz they wanna
learn what happened to the boy.
And along the way they'll learn that lying is a bad idea. Let me give you one more example of
this idea of Trojan Horse stories. It's my favorite and
it's called Panda Cheese.
Now, it's not cheese made from panda milk, that would be amazingly remarkable. I'm not even sure it's possible and
even if it was, you'd have to probably wear a lot of padding and
run very quickly to milk a panda. It's an Egyptian company, they're
brand is Panda and that's their name. And they make cheese. And I want you to watch
a couple of their ads. >> [FOREIGN] [MUSIC] [SOUND] [MUSIC] >> [FOREIGN] >> [FOREIGN] >> [FOREIGN] [MUSIC] [NOISE]
>> And just to wrap up, we've been talking about the six key
steps to boosting word of mouth. It's not random luck or chance,
there's a science behind why people share. We talked about social currency, how
to make people feel smart, special, and in the know. The more special we feel,
the more something makes us look good, the more likely we are to pass it on. It explains why our friends always
post positive things on Facebook, and how we can use that to get
our messages to travel.
We talked about triggers. Top of mind, tip of tongue. We don't just talk about
interesting things, we talk about what we're thinking about. Why we talk so much about the weather or
what we're doing this weekend? It's top of mind, we're more likely to think about it,
more likely to talk about it.
Find that peanut butter. Get people to share it by linking your
idea to something in the environment. Emotion, when we care, we share. Public, easier to see, easier to imitate.
Practical value. Useful information. And finally, stories. When people put their kids to bed at
night, nobody tells bedtime facts. They tell bedtime stories.
Stories are the currency of the conversation.
They're the way we communicate.
But certain stories can be more effective than others. I hope you enjoyed Panda Cheese. I hope you found it really funny but I share it with you not
just because it's funny. I shared it with you because I challenge
you to tell someone else about that story and not mention a particular word and
that word is Panda.
They didn't just do something funny. They built a Trojan Horse that
carries their message for the ride. Good stories carry ideas along with it. If you want to get your idea to travel,
think about how you can build a story that carries it as part and
parcel of the message.
Apply these steps and you can get any product, any idea, and any service to catch on.



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