The Art of Marketing: Building Buzz for Your Business

Jonah Berger | BCBusiness
Jonah Berger was one of the speakers at Tuesday’s The Art of Marketing conference.

Marketing guru Jonah Berger shares his six tips on how to get people talking about your business

“Virality isn’t luck, magic, or random. There’s a science behind why people talk and share,” said marketing professor Jonah Berger during his speaker session at The Art of Marketing conference Tuesday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

In front of a rapt audience, Berger shared his six key drivers that shape how people talk about brands.

A professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Contagious, a New York Times bestseller, Berger professes to know a thing or two about how to build buzz around a business, tying marketing and social media savvy to a heavy dependence on data.

Here were his six tips:

Make Your Customers Look Good

“People talk about things that make them look good, sharp and in-the-know,” he said. Focus on the aspect of your product that is most remarkable. If that fails, invent one: Berger points to Blendtec, a blender manufacturer that saw its sales jump 700 per cent after filming its CEO blending an iPhone and then posting the video online.

Use Triggers

Our immediate environment often triggers us to behave in certain ways. Berger believes that a product or service is often associated with something else. He suggests you find the proverbial peanut butter to your jelly. Tie a product to an ingrained behaviour, like eating breakfast or driving home from work, and it’s guaranteed to linger longer in a person’s mind.

Appeal to Emotions

Content that touches us emotionally gets us talking. And we don’t necessarily need to feel good about it to share it; negative emotions, like anger, can drive people to action and don’t necessarily inhibit the contagiousness of your product or idea.

Bank On Social Proof

Human beings are social creatures: we tend to be influenced by the behaviour of others. If you’re trying to build a customer base for you business, it helps if other people can see your clientele use your products or service in public.

Share Practical Value

People share valuable information to help others. A useful tip for a friend or a piece of advice is a way to strengthen social bonds. Information should be presented in a short, simple and straightforward way.

Tell A Story

“Stories are the currency of conversation, and marketers are pretty bad at telling them,” said Berger. People don’t just share information, they tell stories. Berger, in Contagious, likens stories to like Trojan horses; they’re vessels that carry ideas, brands and information. But to benefit the brand, stories also need to relate to a company’s brand or product.