Martin (Marty) Smith
March 3, 2014
Red Bull Stratos Curatti

Contagious Book by Jonah Berger on Curatti

Why Contagious?

You could read Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On as an update to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, but I wouldn’t (lol).  Berger’s assertion that Gladwell is mostly wrong seems moot.

The Tipping Point is philosophy. Berger’s book is ditch digging psychology based on his research. Internet marketing has traveled some distance since Tipping Point’s publication in 2000 so an update was due.

This Curatti Editors of Chaos post focuses on Berger’s 3 Ways To “Mint Social Currency”:

  • Find or Create Inner Remarkability.
  • Leverage Game Mechanics.
  • Make People Feel Like Insiders.

Inner Remarkability

Red Bull creates “inner remarkability” marketing. Berger discusses creation of “Trojan Horses” or cool memes that carry brand messaging along like the warriors inside the statue. Red Bull’s Marketing team are Trojan Horse masters.

Red Bullers jump from spacecraft, skate on ice roads and redefine “extreme”. Think how perfect such extreme sports are for Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” positioning. “Wings” don’t get bigger than Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump:

Perhaps even smarter than creating “inner remarkability” over and over is become the repository for OPIR or Other People’s Inner Remarkability. We are learning important lessons. Lessons about the power of THEIR content on OUR websites. Want to see that lesson?

Visit Red Bull’s remarkable website.

In some “adventure sports” Red Bull brands contributors with great visuals and storytelling. When Red Bull brands an endurance racer they CREATE “inner remarkability”. I’m sure Red Bull would say they are “reporting”. Ryan Sandes did go for an endurance record, but when Red Bull tells Ryan’s story they create one more “trigger” in Red Bull’s extreme branding universe.

“Inner remarkability” exists and your Internet marketing job is find, report, create it or, like Red Bull, do all three.

Game Mechanics

Internet marketing feels like a game with smartphones as our game consoles. The “gamification” of everything speeds up. Berger explains why, despite Gartner’s famous “80% of gamification will fail” announcement, game mechanics mint social currency.

Gartner’s claim is right, wrong and moot:

  • Right because 80% of most Internet marketing fails. Gartner’s study discovered the Pareto Distribution any Internet marketer learns – 20% of anything controls 80% of the value (money, clicks, traffic). 80% of all Internet marketing fails.
  • Wrong because game mechanics in online marketing creates important tools to mint social currency. Without “game play” such as awards, badges, criteria and leaderboards its hard for visitors to know what to do. Game play provides mission, feedback and loyalty.
  • Moot because many who embed game mechanics in their Internet marketing and online communities will win and pave roads for laggards.

I like’s MyCommunity “leaderboard” (example below). MyCommunity creates an engaged “horse race”.’s leaderboard doesn’t show Robin Good’s daily metrics to me. Robin is one of the top content curator on and I’m more in the middle of the pack: Leader Board on Curatti

Since Robin’s daily views make me cry and wonder how he does it MyCommunity leaderboard only shows curators immediately below and above. Where once the leaderboard created a disincentive (when I saw Robin at the top) now MyCommunity shares engagement and crates motivation.

When views are down MyCommunity is what I check. I check to see if my content is lagging or curated content on the web is slow in general. MyCommunity helps compare performance to others while establishing standards for play. Comparison and standards form the essence of any game.

Gamification should be in your Internet marketing plans. I wrote Gamificaiton: Winning Hearts, Minds and Loyalty Online white paper while I was Marketing Director at Atlantic BT and it may be a helpful place to start to gamify.

Curatti Insiders graphic

Feel Like Insiders

What is the purpose of Studio 54’s velvet rope? Why did Ru La La take merchandise from one website and blow it up on an “invitation only” site? How did Bernie Madoff make millions without investing in anything OTHER than “perceived exclusivity”?

We want to be insiders and we live in an “insiders” time. Everything is searchable. Every movie includes “Behind the Scenes” b-roll sharing  “inside baseball” stories about making the film.

Sometimes the best way to find customers is put a “velvet rope” in front and deny entry. If what is behind your barrier makes those lucky few who gain entry share the experience you win. The best marketing is  aspirational. Fat people want to be skinny. Single people want to be married. Poor people want to be rich. “Skinny” “married” and “rich” become aspirations marketers from Weight Watchers, eHarmony and E. F. Hutton want to serve.

Studio 54’s creators understood. Using the “rope of exclusivity” would help create magical experiences they needed. Good news about “insider marketing” is once people work so hard to be included they are likely to find magic whether real magic is present or not.

If you want to “mint” social currency find or create inner remarkability, motivate with game mechanics and create “perceived exclusivity” by using “invitation only” or “velvet rope” barriers.

Jonah Berger’s Contagious Website (note if you watch the video TURN DOWN the sound first).

Red Bull Stratos images and video are (c) Red Bull.

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Passionate cancer survivor, Internet marketer and former Director of Ecommerce who believes in Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Glad to be an "Editor of Chaos".

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