Reality Check Coverage: Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger Discusses the Psychology Behind ‘Word-of-Mouth’ Marketing and How to Make it ‘Contagious’

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – “Find your people and turn them into your advocates.” This is how Wharton Business School Marketing Professor and best-selling author Jonah Berger opened his presentation on Wednesday morning. Only 7% of all word-of-mouth is done online. Social media is not enough. You need to tap into your greatest resource, your members, and make them your brand advocates.

Wharton Business School Marketing Professor and best-selling author Jonah Berger reveals the psychology behind “contagious” and “viral” content.

Psychology is more important than technology, according to Berger. Credit unions suffer from the “curse of knowledge”; we communicate about our offerings in terms that only we understand. We communicate with others as if they know as much about our offerings as we do.

To overcome this, you need to create social currency, said Berger. Find your advocates and give them information and anecdotes that make them feel like they are in-the-know, like they are insiders. When someone feels that way, they are more likely to share that word-of-mouth. 

We must get our message out to consumers as often as possible and when it matters most. Top-of-mind means tip-of-the-tongue, said Berger. The way we often forget our reusable bags when grocery shopping until we're checking out and it's too late, consumers aren't thinking about your credit union until they've already signed up at a bank.

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