How to Make Your Product or Idea Trend

You probably want to know exactly how to get people to talk about your product or idea. You want to know just how your product/idea can grow and become popular. You want to take your business to the next level and get people to make your product/idea the topic of conversation.

These are all topics discussed in Jonah Berger’s Contagious, a book that has amazing value (no this is not a paid advertisement). Contagious just happened to be book no. 8 in my reading challenge, and in this book, Jonah Berger talks about how products, ideas, and behaviors become “catchy”.

Now let us move on… So what makes your product or idea trend?

According to Jonah Berger, you must follow these five steps or STEPPS:

Social currency

Social currency is something that makes you look interesting. How does your product/idea make you look interesting?

Take a look at the big neon rainbow bagel with birthday cake cream cheese above, and I bet it catches your attention. It is not your typical bagel with cream cheese. That’s the point. I bet I would sound a lot more interesting talking about my neon rainbow bagel with birthday cake cream cheese than I would be talking about my plain bagel with cream cheese. It sparks conversation.

For example, I post a picture of that bagel onto my Instagram page and tag the location of the bagel place. I assure you that such a delicious, and unique looking bagel will attract, at the least, one other person to go there and buy the same bagel with the same cream cheese and post it on their Instagram as well. That bagel gives me social currency.

Triggers

How does your product/idea, remind people to talk about it? If you do not have triggers, your product will not become popular. Simple.

An example used in the book Contagious is the song Friday by Rebecca Black (uh-oh). One of the most annoying, but catchiest songs ever to come out during this generation (I can hear it playing in my head right now). Just what do you think was the trigger for this song is? Friday! You guessed it! Every Friday the song had a spike in views, eventually leaving it over 100 million views. I hope by now people forgot about the song.

Emotion

Does your product/idea make people feel something emotionally? “When we care, we share”, says Jonah Berger. The key to creating an emotional product/idea is providing a high-arousal effect on the person whom it is presented to.

Let us take a look at what United Airlines has done recently. The video of the man being dragged off the plane created a social epidemic because it got people angry (an emotion with high-arousal). Not only did the video get people angry, but the people who previously had issues with United used this unfortunate event as a way to blast them. Emotion goes a long way.

Public

The “monkey see money do” principle. Is your product/idea seen by people?

My favorite example is one that Jonah Berger has used in Contagious. The Macbook. When it was first designed, the Macbook’s Apple logo was facing the user for convenience. Was the owner’s convenience more important than the publics’? No. Ken Segall, Steve Jobs’s right-hand man, worked with Jobs and together they came up with the idea that the logo should be flipped. They agreed on the idea of observability, the idea that seeing people do something will get them to do it themselves. When people saw the logo right-side up, it had more value. It became trendy.

Practical Value

Is your product/idea actually helpful? If so, consumers will want to share it. You want to make people’s lives better, simple.

Think about a business like Amazon. Amazon provides practical value because almost everything on Amazon is cheaper than if you were to buy it at your local store. I was recently in a store and a woman was trying to sell me, hard. She tried to show me the value in something that had no value to me. To quickly get to the point, the $90 “deal” she offered me, I found on Amazon for $37. That’s practical value.

Stories

Does your product tell a story, or is part of a story that is catchy? Products/ideas that tell stories are usually ones that trend and are remembered.

Let us take a look at Blendtec. Blendtec is a blender company. Cool? Not really. But, what actually makes Blendtec cool is that its blenders have a story to them. The “Will it Blend?” story. Tom Dickson, the creator of the famous Blendtec, threw marbles into a blender and uploaded the video to the internet. The response was amazing, and from there he started to blend Wii controllers, glow sticks, and much more. This is the story behind the boring ol’ blender.

That is the way to make your product/idea trend. The way to make it Contagious, as explained brilliantly by Jonah Berger.

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Adnan Muminovic (writer of this story)

Thank you for reading! If you found this story even the slightest bit of interesting, or informative please give it a recommendation. The more recommendations, the more people can read this. I thank you, and wish you all the best on your successes! :)