Join Jonah Berger for an in-depth discussion in this video Showing your inner remarkability, part of Jonah Berger on Viral Marketing.
Another way to generate social currency is to highlight the inner remarkability. Now, what I mean by remarkability, and remarkability's a great word, because it means worthy of remark. Things that are remarkable might be surprising, novel, or interesting, worthy of, of discussion. We did an analysis, for example, of over 7,000 New York Times articles to understand what made the most emailed list. And not surprisingly we found that more surprising, more interesting articles, were more likely to be viral, more likely to be passed on. But some of you might think, well hold on. What do I do if my stuff isn't very exciting, isn't very surprising? Aren't certain things naturally more surprising, and others less so? So, for example, you know, a hot new car might be really exciting, or Apple's newest technology good might be really interesting.
But things like a dishwasher, or Tide detergent, or, you know, household appliances like a blender might seem less exciting, less remarkable. Well, let me tell you how a blender company got over 200 million views for a video. You might have seen a video from this company called Blendtec. But they're famous set of videos are call Will It Blend. And my favorite show is an iPhone. So imagine taking an iPhone, you might have one in your pocket right now, and dropping it in a blender and hitting the smoothie button. Now imagine what would happen, you think your iPhone is pretty tough, pretty indestructible.
It will go whir sort of slowly, it will take a second, slowly the phone will kick around in the casing, and eventually that blender will tear that iPhone to shreds. It will become a mix of glass particles and dust. When you open the top it'll be idust that will come out. Black nasty dust that you wouldn't want to inhale. It's pretty amazing to see. How is it possible that a blender could tear through an iPhone? Well, the story behind Will It Blend is, is pretty amazing as well. A few years ago a guy named George Wright was coming in to the office on one his first days of working at this company, Blendtec.
When he saw a big pile of sawdust on the floor. So he went to one of his colleagues, hey, what's going on with the sawdust, are we expanding the company? And his colleague says, no, the CEO is doing what he does everyday, try to break blenders. So CEO would take two by four pieces of wood Bic lighters, pens, golf balls, whatever he could get his hands on, chuck them in the blender and see if the blender was tough enough to cut them. Now George saw this, he said, wow, this is going to be a viral home run. So he took a $50 marketing budget, not $50 million, not $50,000, but 50 bucks, bought his CEO a white lab coat, that you see the guy wearing in most of the videos.
And filmed the CEO what he was doing already, trying to break blenders. The iPhone clip, for example, has over 10 million views, the set has over 200 million. Sales went up over 700%. Now anybody who gets a 700% sales increase would be pretty happy. You'd probably pat yourself on the back. But even better than that, is what they did here. Because they did it for one of the most boring products we could think about, blenders. And so the point is not that certain products are naturally remarkable, and others are doomed to fail. But that you can make any product remarkable, any idea more likely to be shared, if you find that inner remarkability.
What is that inner remarkability for your product, or your idea? Well, think about what makes it surprising? What makes it interesting? What's a fact or a detail that people might not know about the thing you're doing? If you're spending your time doing it, you probably think it's worth doing, but you need to figure out a way to show that to other people. Notice that Will It Blend didn't just tell people, hey we make really tough blenders, how many people would share that? Probably about zero, someone talking about how tough a blender is, that's not very exciting. But they showed people, rather than told people.
They provided a visual image to see how tough that blender is, and because of that people were more likely to pass it on. Volvo had a similarly great example. Who would talk about Volvo trucks? Volvo trucks are one of the most boring things ever, you probably don't even notice what type of trucks are driving by you on the road. But Volvo did a great job of harnessing and highlighting the inner remarkability with a video using Jean Claude Van Damme. They showed two Volvo trucks driving backwards with Jean Claude Van Damme doing a split between them.
Now not only is this amazing to see. Who would have thought Jean Claude Van Damme could do a split between two Volvo trucks driving backwards. But it shows the benefit that the trucks provide. They have a new system, a special driving system that allows it to be very easy, very precise in the steering. Pretty amazing, not something people would usually care about. But again, they figured out a way to show it, rather than tell it. And that's the key, how can you show people that inner remarkability behind your product, or your idea. How can you help highlight whatever is exciting, remarkable, or interesting about it in an amazing way to get people to pass it on.
- 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