Don’t Pull The Trigger On Your Word Of Mouth

What Makes Things Go Viral: Triggers

Following on from our blog on social currency last week, we’re looking at the second category of why Jonah Berger believes certain content goes viral.

Triggers are another way to increase your reach and word of mouth about your brand.

Triggers is the second chapter in his book ‘Contagious‘.


Word of Mouth

There are two types of word of mouth: immediate and ongoing.

They’re fairly self-explanatory and they’re both important.

Triggers are essential if you are to grow your word-of-mouth.


Make Certain Thoughts Top Of Mind

As a brand you want to be regularly in your target audience’s thoughts.

Ideally you want them to think about you or your products a lot. You want to be top of mind.

“Top of mind means tip of tongue.”

If something is ‘top of mind’ i.e. you’re thinking about it frequently, you’re more likely to take action that involves that something.

By using sights, smells and sounds that trigger recognition of this something, brands can keep themselves top of your mind. And they can trigger more action from you.


Effective Triggers

There are certain ways you can make the most out of using triggers.

Three of the most effective ways include:

  • Frequency
  • Originality
  • Environment


Frequency of Triggers

How often will your stimuli occur?

The more often your triggers happen, the more word-of-mouth you’ll get.

Kit Kat is a useful example here.

After the brand’s catchy ‘Have a break’ tune they went through a slight lull in sales. And they needed something to pick things up.

They’d already introduced the notion of eating a Kit Kat when you’re having a break so their marketing team changed it up and decided to try and pair the notion of eating a Kit Kat bar with drinking a coffee.

They released a plethora of adverts that featured someone drinking/making a coffee and eating a Kit Kat at the same time. This led to a massive increase in sales and the brand grew exponentially as a result.

Why do you think it worked?

Coffee is drank multiple times a day, all year round. And having a Kit Kat at the same time as you drink a coffee makes sense – it’s not exactly far-fetched.

When people went to make a brew, the coffee triggered thoughts of Kit Kats and suddenly the brand became top of mind. And this led to action. A tasty action.


Your Link’s Originality

Is your stimulus an original link or is it already related to other things?

If your stimulus is unique to you and your brand it’ll work much better than if the stimulus brings about thoughts of other things too.

The less competition you have, the more effective it’ll be.

Be different from your competitors.



Triggers are more effective if they occur where the desired action should, or is taking place.

It can have a huge impact on some important situations. Voting for example.

Polling stations normally include schools, churches, office blocks etc. Public spaces.

When a study conducted into whether the environment affected voting preference, they stumbled upon something unexpected.

The research found that the number of votes in favour of increasing school funding initiatives was noticeably higher from people whose assigned polling station was a school. The environment surrounding the voters was deemed to have had an effect on what they chose.

Triggers matter and they work if used correctly.


Triggers can have a huge impact on how word about your business spreads.

Get it right and you may be talked about far and wide.

To learn more about triggers, send us a message on Facebook.

If you’d like more information about our marketing and web services, please fill out a contact form below.

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