James E Blogwick

You know, stuff I find interesting

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Friday, December 16, 2005

Viral ideas

Working in advertising, I am very interested in how ideas spread. Why do some things catch on, while other great ideas flounder in obscurity? Seth Godin has some great insights on this. Viral videos, a hotmail tag on every email, flickr, etc. If I can get my customers to sell my product to their friends, it’s going to save me tremendous resources. Plus the message is believed and accepted much more readily.

But what about strangers, how can someone that I never meet sell me on an idea. The idea has to solve a problem that we share in common. Here is the case study that I found this week:

I went to the hospital. Everybody who goes in the building gets a sticker, that says where you are suppose to be going. You shouldn’t be wandering around the maternity wing when you are wearing an orange radiology sticker.
OK, makes sense. The problem: What do you do with the sticker when you leave the hospital? Nobody wants to walk around announcing “I’ve been hospitalized!” So when you leave the building, the first thing everybody does is remove the sticker. The hospital strategically places a trash can right outside of the elevator doors just for this purpose.

Unfortunately, their strategy is 20 paces too late. Now I am nearing my car. I don’t want the sticker in my car (a. It’s sticky, and b. “At least I was able to drive myself to my hospitalization”). I just left the hospital, I don’t want to go back to the trash can/elevators. But it’s a very clean garage, and mom didn’t raise me to be a litterbug.

If I could just find an obscure place to stick this thing...
It’s funny to me that hundreds of people choose the more difficult bending over and sticking in the ground, and nobody just slaps it on the wall. The group is giving permission and solving the problem that we share.


Blogger Nate said...

That's pretty interesting. Have you read Blink?

11:51 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I haven't, but I really liked The Tipping Point, and it's on my list.

12:00 PM  

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