Join Jonah Berger for an in-depth discussion in this video Making the private public, part of Jonah Berger on Viral Marketing.
As we talked about, getting things to catch on isn't just about getting more word of mouth. It's also about harnessing the power of social influence. And making it easier to imitate others, and see that other people like your products or ideas. So how can you do that? Well, one big way is to make the private public. Make it easier for people to see what other people are doing. A simple way to do that is logos. So if you think about the Polo logo, for example, used to be pretty small, now it's much larger. We actually went and measured.
It's 18 times larger than it used to be. Lacoste, the alligator, not to be outdone in the drive for logo supremacy is similarly large. It looks like its almost going to bite off the arm of anyone wearing a Lacoste polo. But many people don't like large logos. And as many women who wear red bottom shoes know, sometimes a large logo isn't something that people want to communicate about themselves. So how else can you make the private public? Well good news, there are lots of other ways. One great way is through using color. Think back to the portable CD player.
That thing you had carry around almost like a pizza, to make sure it didn't skip. You had to make that big decision, do I want to listen to music, or do I want to exercise? But I can't do both at once. It was a dark, dark time in the history of music. Then something new came out called the digital music player. And it seemed like it might be better, but it was around 300, 400 dollars, pretty expensive. You had to make a big choice. Doing one thing, it's okay, and there's this new thing that might be better, is it worth switching? I'm not really sure. And this is a traditional problem in any industry, with any product or idea.
People are doing something, and they're worried about taking the risk to switch to something else. How do they know if it's worth doing or not? The old thing is safe, why not just stick with what you know? Well how can you make it easier for people to make the switch? How can you make it easier for them to adopt, or try something new? Well, one way that Apple did it was very simple. At the time, everybody had black headphones. Whether you had a CD player, a digital music player, or heaven forbid, a tape deck, all the headphones were black. So no one knew what device you were using, or what brand you had on.
But then Apple did something really simple, they came out with white headphones. So now you're walking down the street, and you see a couple people with white headphones. And next week you're at the gym, and you see a few more. And suddenly you start to make the inference wow, lots of people are using this device, it must be pretty good. Making it easier for a switch from what they were doing previously, to check out this new thing. So again, when thinking about how to apply this idea of public, how can you make the private public? How can you make it easier for people to see how many others have bought your product, have used your service, or are part of your social movement? What can you do on your website, or other places to make that size, or that volume clear? For example, on content, if lots of people share your content, you want to post little widgets that show the number of people.
If lots of people are using your service, but other people might not know, well take something out of McDonalds' playbook. They used to on their signs, say things like one billion served. It might seem a little corny, but it lets people know how many people are using your product, or your idea. Because the easier it is for people to see how many other people are doing something, the more they'll use that signal of information, and the more likely they'll be to do it themselves.
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Harnessing the power of social media
- What makes content go viral
- Why people share some stories more than others
- Telling stories that carry your message