You Can Go Viral, Too: Exploring the Principle behind Jonah Berger’s Contagious Marketing

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly assume that their product doesn’t have what it takes to go viral just because it isn’t very exciting or intriguing, but in reality, any product—however inherently mundane it may in fact be—has feasible potential to go viral. As Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, said about creating virality, “Any product can be remarkable. Any product can be emotional.” If you make your product remarkable—truly remarkable—it always has a chance to go viral.

According to Berger, the key to making your product go viral is as follows: “think about what makes people feel emotion or what makes them think something is remarkable, and then build that into your product or idea.” In other words, your product may not be inherently remarkable—chances are, it isn’t—but you can always attach something that is remarkable to it, thus making it remarkable by association.

Not only does this remarkable-by-association approach make it possible for everyone to create viral content, it serves the dual purpose of making your content seem less like an advertisement and more like the type of authentic content best suited for virality. People don’t want to feel like they are sharing an advertisement, but they will share something that they care about or find genuinely intriguing—if a brand happens to be associated with it, so be it.

One of Berger’s examples of mundane-turned-remarkable comes from a blender company named Blendtec. A food blender is about as mundane as it comes with regard to products. Many people would’ve told them that there is no way to make food blenders go viral, but Blendtec did just that. People don’t care too much about blenders, but they do like seeing unique and “out-there” feats. Blendtec, recognizing this, attached remarkability to their blenders by creating a video series called “Will It Blend?” in which they put random objects, objects that don’t belong in a blender (like iPhones), into their blender to see what happens.
Millions of views and shares later, Blendtec did the impossible: they made a blender go viral.

If Blendtec was able to pull it off, so can you, regardless of your product’s (un)remarkability. The principle of contagious marketing challenges us to think bigger than we otherwise would. It reminds us that we have more potential than we think.


Contributed by Bryce Ward