February 2, 2019

All six factors are rarely present at once, but we often see some combination of Social Currency, high-arousal Emotion, and Practical Value in things that go viral online.

Stories—narratives are like Trojan horses, carrying information and ideas along for the ride.

Practical Value—news you can use. People share helpful, informative things (e.g., discounts and health tips) to make others better off.

Emotion—when we care, we share. The more something evokes high arousal emotions, the more likely people are to pass it on.

Triggers—top of mind, means tip of tongue. Why do we talk so much about the weather or where we’re going for lunch? People talk about what they’re thinking about, even if it’s not the most interesting.

Social Currency is the idea that just like the car we drive and the clothes we wear, what we share is a signal of who we are. So, the better something makes someone look, the more likely they are to share it.

There are six key factors that drive people to share. In [my book] ‘Contagious,’ I organized them into a framework called STEPPS that stands for Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.

February 2, 2019
Penn Today

Emotion—when we care, we share. The more something evokes high arousal emotions, the more likely people are to pass it on.

Reputation risk: noxious media amplifies stakeholder disappointment and anger.

Reputations are valuable strategic intangible assets. Threats to these assets⏤ enterprise reputation risks, often mislabeled “brand risks” ⏤ need to be managed, and management needs to be overseen through reputation risk governance lest reputational damage or reputational harm result in long-tailed go-forward losses in economic value and/or political power. Because these intangible risks arise from the interplay of stakeholder expectation, experiences, and media amplification, parametric insurances for intangible asset risks, for reputational value, for reputational harm, and for reputation assurance help mitigate risk by telling a simple, convincing and completely credible story of quality reputation governance to stakeholders. This story telling effect is the expressive power of insurance complementing insurance’s better known instrumental power of indemnification.

Risk management, risk financing in insurance captives, and risk transfer through reputation insurances comprise the constituent elements of a comprehensive solution. What’s your strategy?