- Why Monash University recommended us to read the book ‘The Tipping Point’?
- How does Coca Cola manage it’s marketing communication messages to go viral, at the same time, connect with the customers?
- Why did it become ‘COOL’ for teenagers to post their life stories on social media?
If you want to know secrets of viral marketing, The Tipping Point is a book to read! Viral marketing is the art of getting your brand message infected into the crowd, thereby generating traffic and buzz. Malcolm Gladwell explains the concept of social dynamics through one of the examples in his book, on ‘how one sick individual in a group can bring about a flu epidemic’. Gladwell illustrates numerous examples by using this metaphor, ‘social epidemic’ as a visualization of how ideas spread, thereby emphasizing the importance of how a small thing can make a big difference.
The best example to relate this concept, would be ‘The Ice Bucket Challenge’ which got viral all over the world. The video clearly shows how a message from Mark Zuckerberg reached Bill Gates and infected him to be a part of this ritualized social expression called social epidemic.
So the question arises, how does this kind of infection, this contagiousness work? How can you make a tipping point for your customers? The three laws stated below by Gladwell play a crucial role to design a tipping point for your business which help to increase your audience reach.
Rule 1: Law of the few
80% of your business is generated from the 20% of your current customers. With this 80/20 principle, Malcolm states that in order to gain momentum for your idea, you need to identity key people who can campaign your message, concept or product, before it can reach the boiling or tipping point. For example the 20% of the beer drinkers, drink 80% of the beer in the world.
Gladwell classifies three categories of people who can help your business reach a Tipping Point.
1. Connectors | Networkers
A classic example of this category can be Lady Gaga, the American singer, songwriter, and actress who has an appropriate social standing in the industry and a huge fan following. She is one of the celebrities, who have the highest number of followers on twitter. Tiffany & Co features Lady Gaga to be their Legendary Style ambassador. As a person, Lady Gaga is a true New Yorker and style icon who fiercely supports feminism and this aligns well with the tipping point message Tiffany & Co wishes to reach.
2. Mavens | The Influencers
These are people who believe in sharing valuable information with others and it is because of their this attitude, that their information is highly trusted and bookmarked by their followers. One such YouTube tech blogger is ‘DailyTekk’s YouTube Channel’ who shares his reviews and perception about the technology market with his visitors.
While we can define connectors as the social savvy people and mavens as the data storage and providers; salespeople are those categories of people who posses the power to convince people to act. Consider an example of Steve Jobs; his product presentations deliver a message across millions of people who believe in this dream and service offering. They believe in his innovation and technology which infects them to be a part of the social epidemic crowd.
Rule 2: The Stickiness Factor
This concept is defined as an art businesses use for packaging their communication message using emotional jargon or taglines which stick in the mind of their customers. For example, when I think of MacDonald the only think which comes to my mind is their logo and tagline, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’.
Stickiness factor is the power of the brand to build a sustainable impact on the audience which is irresistible. Businesses must wisely focus on choosing certain sticky factors while designing their communication strategy, which will increase the likelihood of their target audience remembering it for a longer period of time. Sesame Street, a children TV show is one example used by Gladwell, who use a combination of educational and entertainment component in their communication message.
Rule 3: The Power of Context
The Broken Window Theory is similar to the concept of the power of context. It emphasizes that science of disorder will lead to more disorder and people form judgement on the physical appearance of product or service. Imagine you drive through a suburb which has broken cars or windows, what thoughts would be going in your head? I should not stop here as this area looks a bit shady? Isn’t it! If your friend tells you next day that she is planning to buy a house in that suburb, what would be your reaction? Therefore the power of Word of mouth makes a big difference.
Gladwell states that in order to spread your idea, identify one crucial messenger who can help you to build and nurture strong communities and ingrain certain beliefs in them. United Airlines in 2008 failed to respond to the Canadian musician, Dave Carroll’s claim for his damaged guitar during the transit. When United Airlines decided not to respond to his complaint, he wrote a song called ‘United Breaks Guitars,’ which went viral on YouTube. NEGATIVE content is prone to virality! Look how one man like Dave Carroll could make a big difference for United Airlines.
To conclude, off course I have missed a lot of concepts from the book. But the aim was to set a ground, to make you read this book. Highly recommend this book to a person who is interested in building a strong social network for their business and who wants to know the secrets of viral marketing.
Gladwell, Malcolm. (1963). The tipping point : how little things can make a big difference. London Abacus; London : Abacus.