"Contagious" or psychology of word of mouth. Review of the book by Jon Berger. - Profit Hunter

Why do some products and ideas become popular, while others, as if in no way inferior to them, go into obscurity? Someone will say that the point is in advertising: whoever spent the most on promotion, he won. However, practice shows that this is often not the case.

Yona Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business, believes: the secret is what is called word of mouth in Russian. Because people have long perceive advertising as information noise. It is not enough to tell you how great the product is - you need to make sure that people themselves tell each other about it. After all, who would a person believe more: the advertising character or his friend?

Just about the complicated

"Contagious" tells exactly this: about the psychology of why people share each other another impressions. Combining research results with well-known and not-so-great examples, Berger lays out word of mouth marketing, describing six basic principles in an accessible form: social currency, triggers, emotions, society, practical value, and stories.

This, in fact, is the main problem of the book - it tries to embrace the immense and tell about it in such a way that everyone understands. Given its volume (about 200 pages), it does not fully succeed. Too many examples from different areas, too little immersion in each individual context, too little specifics. If you are new to marketing and want to understand the basics - this is the book for you. If you have been working seriously in the subject for a long time, then it may well be interesting, but do not expect revelations.

At the same time, "Catching" is by no means bad. Simply, it is more an easy reading than a serious and deep work on their topic. In this case, it should be noted that with a certain superficiality of some fragments, in others, Berger takes a truly scientific approach, combining examples from business practices with studies of human psychology and emotional reactions.

What do we have in the end?

A fascinating, interestingly written book, primarily aimed at beginners. The most interesting parts are those devoted to psychology, sociology, and human behavior — apparently, Berger understands them better than marketing itself. You should read “contagious” if you are interested in the topic, you are not very good at it and you plan to deepen your knowledge in the future.

Thanks to the publisher “Mann, Ivanov and Ferber” for the book provided.

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