Jonah Berger: Social Influence and Word of Mouth

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How does anything become popular? And what are the influences that dictate our decisions — whether we’re conscious of it or not? Wharton School Professor Jonah Berger is a world-renowned expert on social influence, consumer behavior, and why things spread or go viral. He’s also written two bestselling books: Contagious: Why Things Catch On and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior. Berger joins the podcast to explain why, at its core, word of mouth marketing is about understanding your audience’s needs and motivations. While you “can’t cheat the system” with word of mouth, you can create it and get people sharing and talking about your stuff.

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • Why social currency makes people feel like insiders
  • The impact of word of mouth, and why it happens less online than you think
  • How triggers like “peanut butter and…” or the Snickers “Hangry” ad campaign can serve as reminders for brands and products
  • How emotions (both positive and negative) can motivate us to share, or hold us back from sharing
  • The brand strategy behind “same, but different” — or, why “optimal distinctiveness” has been so successful for companies like Apple, Chobani, and others
  • A preview of Berger’s next book about how to change anyone’s mind
  • Will the “royal” baby name Archie catch on, and how long until it falls out of fashion?

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