Contagious: book says social influence plays a key role

Why do products, ideas, and behaviors catch on? A book I read recently has some fascinating explanations. Over the next few posts, I’ll tell you some of what I found out.

There are the obvious reasons, says Jonah Berger in Contagious: Why things catch on. For example, it may be better or cheaper, or it may have better advertising. But that only explains part of it.

Social transmission is really important, according to Berger. Word of mouth is the primary factor in 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.

Think about it: I bet you’re more likely to believe a recommendation or opinion from a friend, neighbor or co-worker than an advertisement or website. A friend who says a certain restaurant is good, or a medical treatment is effective, will have more influence on me than an article or ad I read online.

Berger says that social influence is more effective than advertising because: [Read more…]