In today’s marketing landscape, the barrier to entry for creating and publishing new content is at an all-time low.
That means social networks and other distribution channels are flooded with content – and so naturally, as a way of filtering and screening our feeds, we gravitate to the content that everyone else is sharing.
These widely-shared articles, infographics, and videos tend to pique our curiosity, or they hit us with powerful “a-ha” moments. After all, these things are going viral for a reason.
Making Things Go Viral
Whether you are a marketer or an occasional writer, it’s worth knowing how this coveted viral effect comes about.
Today’s infographic comes from Outgrow, and it covers two psychological theories on what leads to viral content, why we share certain things, and some examples of winning viral campaigns that took advantage of triggering these emotions.
People share individual pieces of content for all types of reasons, but there are some commonalities.
According to psychological theory, content that feels novel or that fills information gaps may trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Further, content that touches the right emotions (excitement, surprise, nostalgia, etc.) can also latch onto a viral effect.
Virality and The Brain
What role does psychology play in making things go viral?
Here are two well-documented psychological effects that trigger the reward pathways in the brain.
1. Novelty Seeking
Your mind is tired of seeing the same old ideas over and over again. That’s why things that are new or unusual will catch your eye – and this includes the content on your favorite website or social feed.
In fact, the brain is hardwired to search for novelty in this way. Seeing something new can motivate us to explore our environment for rewards, and with social media that reward is just a click away.
2. Information Gap Theory
Humans are obsessed with information and have an unquenchable interest in the world around them. That’s why, when your Facebook feed provides a chance to temporarily satisfy your curiosity with just one click, you can’t help but succumb.
Scientists haven’t figured out exactly how curiosity works yet, but what we do know so far is that it’s an itch that humans feel they must continually satisfy. More specifically, according to George Loewenstein’s information gap theory, we often act to fill a gap between what we know, and what we want to know.
Sharing is Caring
But even if something catches our attention, it still needs to spread far and wide to have a viral impact. That’s why the reasons we share content are important, and why posts typically hit on certain emotions to achieve virality.
People share content to:
- Connect with someone over a shared interest
- Promote a product they believe is useful to others
- Be involved in a current trend or event
- Be the first to tell a friend about a trend or event
- Share something about themselves
- Socialize with friends offline
- Promote a good cause
- Demonstrate their own knowledge or ability
- Start an online conversation
- Boost their reputation among friends
Lastly, specific positive emotions lead people to sharing content, including those of amusement, affection, surprise, happiness, and excitement. On the flipside, nostalgia and disgust are two other psychological responses that trigger sharing as well.
Ranked: The 10 Organizations With the Best (and Worst) Reputations
According to a representational poll of 18,228 Americans, these are the organizations considered to have the best and worst reputations.
There is no shortcut to gaining a bulletproof reputation.
To get there, businesses not only need to think long term, but they also need to do what is considered “right” in every possible situation.
Aspiring companies must be truly customer-centric, going above and beyond in how they treat their customers. They also require a cohesive vision that helps create a loyal and fervent fanbase that will go to bat for them anytime it’s needed.
The Best and Worst Reputations in America
Today’s infographic from TitleMax highlights the 10 organizations that have the best reputations in the country, followed by 10 that fall on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.
In total, the visualization shows five years of data, so you can see how the rankings have changed over this stretch of time.
As you can see, the reputations of organizations are very much in flux.
In fact, you can even see the impact of recent news cycles on the rankings for 2019.
For example, Patagonia shot up the rankings to become the #3 most respected company after donating its entire $10 million tax cut to environmental groups, while the U.S. government and Facebook both make an appearance on the worst list, thanks to recent negative media coverage.
The Best Reputations Over Five Years
If you haven’t heard of Wegmans Food Market, you might want to stop by a location the next time you’re in the Northeast.
With 99 stores and about $9 billion in revenue per year, this family-run supermarket chain believes that in order to be a great place to shop, it must also be a great place to work. This mantra must be effective, since Wegmans consistently ranks as having one of the best reputations in the entire country.
Also ranking high on the list is Amazon, which was founded as an “obsessively” customer-oriented company. The online retailer has taken the #1 spot in the rankings in three of the last five years, despite a generally negative sentiment hanging over tech giants in recent months.
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
— Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
The Worst Reputations Over Five Years
As Warren Buffett quipped, a reputation can be built over decades, but it can also be lost in just five minutes.
Various companies that have experienced recent scandals make the list here (i.e., Facebook, Volkswagen, Equifax). It’s also interesting to see that years after each scandal, rankings seem to normalize as the media and public get preoccupied with newer events.
The ranking is based on a survey by Harris Poll, in which the 100 Most Visible Companies in the country are scored and ranked using a proprietary “Reputation Quotient”. For the 2019 edition, the poll had 18,228 respondents from a nationally representative sample.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Technology brands account for 20 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019, combining for a whopping 43% of total brand value.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.
Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.
On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.
Cream of the Crop
Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.
Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:
|Rank||Brand||Brand Value ($B)||1-Yr Value Change||Industry|
It should be noted that the list is ordered by brand value, a measure that tries to calculate each brand’s ultimate contribution in financial terms to the parent company. You can see that full methodology here.
Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that brands with only a token representation in the United States have been excluded from the rankings. This means companies like Alibaba or Vodafone are not represented in this particular visualization.
Tech Rules Again in 2019
For another straight year, technology dominates the list of the 100 most valuable brands in 2019 – this time, with six of the top seven entries.
Most of these brands saw double-digit growth in value from the previous year, including Apple (12%), Google (27%), Amazon (37%), Microsoft (20%), and Samsung (11%). The one notable exception here is Facebook, which experienced a 6% drop in value attributed to various struggles around the company’s reputation.
Here’s a look at how industries break down more generally on the list:
|Industry||# of Brands||Brand Value ($B)|
As you can see, technology brands make up 20% of the list in terms of the number of entries – and a whopping 43% of the list’s cumulative valuation.
In total, technologies brands combined for $957.6 billion in value. Even when including Facebook’s recent drop, this is an impressive 9.7% increase on last year’s numbers.
Will the double-digit increases for the world’s largest tech giants continue into 2020, or are brands such as Amazon and Google going to start seeing the same type of pushback that Facebook has grappled with among consumers and regulators?
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