Jonah Berger On The Science Behind Why Things Go Viral

Before you spend too much time thinking about how to make your next marketing initiative go viral, Jonah Berger says it’s critical to look past all the potential hype and think about long-term business benefits.

Last year, the associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania wrote the book Contagious outlining six principles behind why things spread.

During our web cam conversation, Berger uses Geico’s Hump Day Camel commercial as an example of a successful campaign that leverages a day-related trigger. Each time Wednesday rolled around during the first few weeks of the video launching online, there was a massive increase in sharing (and, in turn, searches for insurance information).

As for what triggered Berger’s interest in this topic, he says he was always curious about how social influence works and why things become popular. He started applying these tools to the social sciences.

Today, the New York Times bestselling author is juggling a busy schedule speaking, consulting, and researching, working to help businesses figure out how to create contagious products and ideas.AM