I just finished a book title “Contagious.” It was written by Jonah Berger and it is all about the power of word of mouth. Oftentimes word of mouth is more powerful than visual advertising. Here are some things that really stood out to me from the book.
One example Berger used to illustrate the power of word of mouth is a hot dog diner in New York. This looks like a regular diner. In the back corner there is an old-fashioned telephone booth. If you go in this booth and dial a 2 on the rotary dial phone, the back panel opens and you enter into the “Please Don’t Tell” bar. This bar has no visual advertising. You might think that they have no business, but no. They are reservation only. They open over the phone at 3:00pm for reservations, first come first served, and they are booked for the evening by 3:30pm. That’s pretty powerful word of mouth. How effective are our churches at using word of mouth? Do we focus on visual advertising too much?
Another important thing to remember: “When we care, we share.” If you want your thought or product to be contageous, it must be emtional. It must make people care. In a study that Berger did he found that “awe-inspiring article are 30% more likely to make the Most-Emailed list.” What is more awe-inspiring than the Gospel? When marketing messages, we should focus on feeling, not information. It’s like the 180 Second of Vision blog post I reblogged the other day. Instead of just standing up on Sunday mornings and giving all the information of the announcements, we should tell people why the announcement matters, make them care about it. Berger goes on to say that “activating emotion is the key to transmission.” Think of how many more visitors or people you will have attending different events if you make them care about it. Then they will be more eager to share it and bring more people.
These are just a couple of things that I drew from the book. It really was a great book to draw practical examples from of how powerful word of mouth can be.