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Make Your Marketing Message Contagious


Make Your Marketing Message Contagious

Jonah Berger first caught my attention in this Fast Company article (“Fifty Percent of ‘The Tipping Point’ is Wrong”). The article positions him as the new Malcolm Gladwell and challenges some accepted theory of The Tipping Point.

Berger is a Marketing Professor at the Wharton School of Business. At Stanford, he was a student of Chip Heath, author of the marketing classic Made to Stick. Made to Stick describes why messages stick with audiences. Berger has taken this concept a step further in his bestselling book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Berger examines why certain products get more word-of-mouth marketing and why some online content goes viral.

In the Fast Company article, Berger says marketers have been obsessed with the wrong part of the viral equation. “By focusing so much on the messenger, we’ve neglected a much more obvious driver of sharing: the message,” he writes. The Tipping Point’s notion that social epidemics are driven “by the efforts of a handful of exceptional people, is just plain wrong.”

Instead, Berger has identified six reasons why certain products have great worth-of-mouth marketing and why content goes viral (acronym STEPPS):

  • Social Currency. We share things that make us look good. For example, if we are able to inform other people about a trendy new smartphone app that we discovered, it makes us look good…and, increases usage of the app.
  • Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Ideas become top of mind when they are activated by triggers which make people easily think of the product. Cheerios gets more word-of-mouth than Disney because it is so strongly associated with breakfast.
  • Emotion. When we care, we share. The author even cited tests where people who learned something during physical activity were more likely to pass along the concept.
  • Public. People tend to follow others, but only when they can see what those others are doing. Steve Jobs designed the Apple logo on the Mac so other people could see it when someone else is using a Mac. Ideas need to be public to be copied.
  • Practical. Humans crave the opportunity to give advice and offer tips…especially if they offer practical value. Berger has identified this ‘paying it forward’ to help others. No one will share a product or idea that does not have practical value to others.
  • Stories – People do not just share information, they tell stories. And stories are like Trojan horses that carry ideas and brands. To benefit the brand, stories must be interesting and relate to a sponsoring company’s products.

A fascinating book, it has a lot of great advice for marketers and product positioning. Berger explains that you can pick and choose which of the six viral reasons to use in your messaging. He said you can use one or select a couple to apply. This is, from our experience, could be misleading.

It is possible that certain packaging will work better than others; or that packaging too many will confuse your audience. Which of these techniques have you applied to your marketing efforts? Did they work? Have you tried to package multiple techniques? We love to hear your comments.

If you think that you need insightful advice to take your international marketing to the next level, then contact us and we’d love to chat more.



What is the question?

There is only one questions you need to ask in marketing... what is it? Well, it's simple and it drives your sales success... find out more here...



Why PR needs to drive credibility for a brand to be successful...

Today’s brands face an apparent choice between two evils: continue betting on their increasingly ineffective advertising or put blind faith in the supposedly mystical power of social media, where “Likes” stand in for transactions, and a mass audience is maddeningly elusive. There has to be a better way... In fact there is... it is trust and for an organization to have it they need strong media relations...



Going International

When we start working with new clients that have a desire to be in multiple countries, we’re pretty much always asked, what the differences are in the different countries... this article gives the answer in more ways than one...



Need Sales - Get PR

Over the past couple of months I have spoken to over 100 small and medium sized business owners, and have asked them the same question: What is the one thing that would improve your company? 99% of the time the answer is something along the lines of, “we’d like more sales”. In this blog you'll find out how to do that on minimal budgets.



Learning PR the Justin Bieber way

Justin Bieber wants you to know he's not the next Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears or Corey Feldman. Even though these celebs probably achieved less than Justin and probably get far more publicity.

The 19-year-old pop star has been making headlines with erratic behavior that includes showing up late to concerts, passing out backstage, threatening paparazzi, wearing gas masks, going shirtless in freezing temperatures and allegedly spitting on a neighbor during an argument.

Bieber hasn't taken the negative press sitting down, and has fought back via Twitter and Instagram rants about fake stories and "countless lies." Now, after being accused of battery, the pop star is striking back again, telling Us Weekly that he's not on the verge of a breakdown, as reports suggest.

Crisis 101 in today’s social media world – the right place to fight negative press is in the same place/medium that it appeared. It’s the simple things that are easily forgotten.  Each newspaper, blog author, social media platform, etc have a following.  If I hear something bad in the LA Times, then I’m an LA Times reader. If I hear it on Twitter, then I clearly use Twitter to get my news.  Justin, mate, only fight negative press where you see it (despite your youth and obvious social media prowess), don’t take the fight to the social media airwaves if it’s not there already.

"The biggest misconception about me is that I'm a bad person," Bieber told US Weekly. Well, no one was saying that (actually), and do you know any bad people that admit to being bad people?  This seems to be one of the worst quotes I have heard in a long time.

It's clear that Bieber (or his team) has grown very uncomfortable with the amount of negative attention that he's been receiving lately, and though he's on the defensive he does admit that he's far from perfect. "I'm young and I make mistakes. That's part of growing up," he told Us Weekly. "I mess up sometimes. It's part of growing up."

I love this!  I think I will use it in my next press interview. 

Yes Mr Business Editor, I know my company did wrong, but you know what, we’re a young company and we messed up – that’s part of our company growing up.

Perhaps the bigger PR question should be – can Justin continue to get quality media coverage without causing problems?  It’s clearly difficult to continue to attract positive media coverage. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears et al know the problem and went the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ route… even if it includes unflatering pictures, drunk driving and theft.  What will Justin do and how will that effect his still intact ‘good boy’ image.

p.s. If anyone has any tickets for Justin’s upcoming tour my 5-year-old daughter wants to know!



The Science of Persuasion in Public Relations

If you’re in the business of public relations, then you’re in the business of persuading people.As it turns out, there is quite a considerable amount of scientific research that can make us more effective as persuading others. It is scientifically validated and often doesn’t cost us any money to implement. Want to know what the 6 main drivers to increased persuasiveness are?



The number one thing to learn before a press interview!

We see a lot of interviews, as consumers of the media, by working in the industry and because we represent companies - speaking for them, or supporting, them. An interview is one of the most powerful PR tools available to us. But for it to be the most successful an interviewer needs to master the art of bridging.



Goodbye 2012 and helloooo 2013!

Goodbye 2012 and helloooo 2013. What’s been going on and what can we expect to see over the next 12 months? NettResults takes a look back of 2012 in the world of media and what we can expect in 2013.



The 2013 Calendar - where to hang your PR campaign hat

The illustration for the 2013 Calendar is by Kevin ("KAL") Kallaugher, The Economist's editorial cartoonistAll good public relations strategies look at the timing of campaigns. Just think about the planning needed by your local fine-dinning restaurant and jewelry store to prepare for valentines, or the toy manufacturer to plan for the holiday period.

And, it has been known, for brands without too much real news, to latch hold of an event on a calendar and milk it for all it is worth. 

So what can we look forward to in 2013? Well, with a little help from our calendar, and a recent article in the Economist, we present you options for the upcoming year:


  • Ireland takes over the presidency of the European Union. Sláinte.
  • Britain takes over the presidency of the G8 club of industrial powers. Cheers.
  • London marks the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground passenger railway, running through King’s Cross. Mind the gap.
  • In Washington, DC, the US president is inaugurated, beginning his four-year term.


  • South Africa hosts football’s 29th African Cup of Nations. ag man.
  • New Orleans stages the 47th Super Bowl. Touchdown.
  • Hollywood lays out the red carpet for the 85th Academy Awards.
  • Chinese around the world welcome the Year of the Snake, associated with grace, intelligence and material gain. Say 'red envelope'.
  • It’s carnival season, from Rio de Janeiro to Trinidad and Tobago. Woo Hooo!


  • Smile, please, on March 20th for the inaugural UN-sponsored International Happiness Day; and from March 27th at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
  • China’s parliament holds its annual session, and formally appoints the country’s new president and prime minister.
  • Kenya is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections.
  • Marbles-enthusiasts flock to the Greyhound pub in Tinsley Green, Sussex, for the 79th World Marbles Championships. Reall... marbles?
  • Boston hosts the 44th World Irish Dancing Championships. It's actually a Feis.


  • Download “Happy Birthday to You”: Apple’s iTunes Store is ten years old.
  • Ecuadoreans vote in the presidential run-off.
  • The First Tech Challenge world championships take place in St Louis, featuring lots of robots.


  • Finland and Sweden host the 77th World Ice Hockey Championships. Dive!
  • America’s grandest horse race, the Kentucky Derby, takes place in Louisville; Europe’s biggest football game, the UEFA Champions League final, kicks off in London.
  • The Indian film industry marks its centenary: the first full-length Indian feature film, “Raja Harishchandra”, was released in 1913.
  • The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge begins. First organized in 1907, this is the fourth time the race for vintage and classic cars has been run.


  • Iran holds a presidential election.
  • Cyclists begin three weeks of agony as the 100th Tour de France starts for the first time in Corsica.


  • Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union; Lithuania takes over the EU’s presidency.
  • Watch out for flying saucers on World UFO day; and for raging animals during the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Which is more strange?


  • Fans of the King head to Memphis for Elvis Week. "Thank you, thank you very much".
  • Arts-lovers, meanwhile, go to Edinburgh for its annual festival. Slàinte mhath.


  • Germans, Austrians and Norwegians vote.
  • Artists and athletes from 86 (more or less) French-speaking countries gather in Nice for the Francophone games; the International Olympic Committee meets in Buenos Aires to announce the host of the 2020 summer games. Parlez-vous Français?
  • Yachtsmen (and billionaires) compete in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.
  • The annual Mask Dance Festival is held in Andong, South Korea.
  • Russia’s Vladimir Putin welcomes world leaders to St Petersburg for the G20 summit. Budem zdorovy.


  • Leaders from Spain, Portugal and Latin America meet in Panama for their annual summit, the Cumbre Iberoamericana.
  • Azerbaijan holds a presidential election.
  • British aristocrats take to the countryside for the start of the pheasant-shooting season.


  • Mystery and conspiracy theories linger on as America marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy; Americans also mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
  • NASA hopes to launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (Maven) spacecraft on its year-long journey to the red planet.
  • More than 50 countries compete in the World Cheerleading Championships in Thailand. Book early for this one!
  • Commonwealth heads of government gather in Sri Lanka for their biennial summit.


  • The latest deadline arrives for a high-speed rail link between France and Spain; construction of a much-delayed high-speed rail system in California is due to have started.
  • The crossword puzzle is 100 years old.

If the list above doesn't work for your PR planning needs, then at the very least it should act as a pretty good vacation planning sheet to ensure you're in the right place at the right time. Enjoy!



International Expansion in 2013: which country & how?

The Economist came out with an interesting article this past week that looks at which countries it is easy to set up a business. 

Since 2003 the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank have been tracking the business-friendliness of government rules around the world. Things are looking up. Nearly all regions are catching up with the best practices seen in the richest countries.

This matters for many reasons. One is that onerous rules breed corruption. For as many countries as it can, the IFC plots its own measures of the regulatory burden against perceived levels of corruption, as ranked by Transparency International, a pressure group. As the chart shows, the more rules impede business, the more incentive businessfolk have to bribe them away. Lighter rules mean less baksheesh. They also mean a larger formal economy and a wider tax base.

In “Doing Business 2013”, published this week, the countries that score well are not those with no regulation at all—Somalia is a fearsome place to do business—but places where rules are simple and designed to make markets work better. The top 20 list includes the usual suspects: Singapore, Hong Kong, the Nordic countries, America. But less obvious entrants are there, too: Georgia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The most dramatic progress has come in making it simpler to jump through the regulatory hoops necessary to start a business. Since 2005 the average time it takes has fallen from 50 days to 30. Among the worst performers (the bottom quartile, which are mostly poor countries) the improvement has been slightly greater: from 112 days to 63. But they still have far to go: in New Zealand the process takes only one day.

In 2005 only a third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa were reforming; now over two-thirds are. Poland, Ukraine and Uzbekistan have made big gains. Even the sick men of Europe—Greece and Italy—are showing signs of progress. Unlike bail-outs, cutting rules comes cheap.

What does this mean in the world of PR? Well, it is now clearly easier to set up an international operation (and not just helicopter in, do some work, and fly out again). With that comes brand reputation management and promotional requirements. With that also comes a need to understand and act congurent with the local country.  And guess what, that means a need for international public relations.

As a new country is exanded too, it's obvious that a dedicated PR team is not going to be amoung the top hires. Typically there is a need for sales (which are the first hires), followed by operational folkes to keep the sales going. 

A new county expansion may not be in the core competencies of the existing public relations team (be that in-house or agency). Just reaching out to a local agency without knowledge and experience may not result in the best ROI. Paramount is finding a solution that is trustworthy, can manage your account from your home country, understands the local strategy and can implement that with a local team.



How to produce killer PR messaging that works

Lets face it – we’ve been drawing up the same messaging in Public Relations since before newspapers existed. Now it’s time for a revolution. See how turning messaging on it's head can revolutionize the success of your public relations.



The Three Little Pigs & UK Media

At NettResults we look at news from an international perspective. Campaigns need to be localized depending upon the target market and we have teams around the world to do exactly that, and then implement the camapign.

In the UK the media is very integrated with social media - which is what this great video from The Guardian shows.

Three Little Pigs - The Guardian on Vimeo.



Strategy, Tactics, Execution, Reputation, Persistence, Desire and Fear

Thanks to Seth Godin who summed it up so nicely today for us.

We can outline a strategy for you, but if you don't have the tactics in place or you're not skilled enough to execute, it won't matter if the strategy is a good one.

Your project's success is going to be influenced in large measure by the reputation of the people who join in and the organization that brings it forward. That's nothing you can completely change in a day, but it's something that will change (like it or not) every day.

None of this matters if you and your team don't persist, and your persistence will largely be driven by the desire you have to succeed, which of course is relentlessly undermined by the fear we all wrestle with every day.

Bottom line - you need to find an international PR partner that is strategic in outlook, knows how to build taactics in different countries, has a team that is persistent and will be relentless in gaining results for you.

NettResults is all about implementing the best international PR campaigns, so this is central to what we think, do and how we act.



Useful and believable promises

Seth Godin blogged something interesting yesterday.

Useful and believable promises is another way to think about marketing.

We only sign up/pay attention to/pay for offers from marketers when:

  • What's promised is something we think is worth more than it costs


  • We believe you're the best person to keep that promise.

This applies to resumes, meetings and even the kid raking your lawn.

If your marketing isn't working, it's either because your promises aren't useful (and big) enough or we don't believe you're the one to keep them.

Then we come to public relations, which is widely thought to be the go-to marketing promotion to build credibility. 

Bottom line, if you need your organization, company, brand or service to be believable, then you need to build credibility... so you need a strong public relations strategy in place.