Idea viruses: from trading down to trading up.

Setting up a page on social media is an concept that is shared by both large and medium/small enterprises; owning a website is important, but having a personal mirror on social media networks is not to be underestimated; both for the minimised costs and for the speed with which a company can create its virtual space, but, most of all, because these are channels that are tendentially predisposed to a greater and more direct interaction with consumers and potential buyers.

The conversation between companies and consumers is thriving as they communicate with the aim of finding a profitable market understanding; contents are conveyed swiftly and in an up-to-date fashion, while the many followers became devotees of a brand, and virtually follow its development thanks to the agile and transparent access to information.

The need to attract followers meets the requirement of holding influential popularity within a complex competitive market.

In this regard, the US writer and entrepreneur Seth Godin, in his book The Purple Cow, identifies an obvious symmetry in the comparison between the added value brought to companies by their followers and those who are known as sneezers:

 […] The main propagators of idea viruses are those who sneeze and, in doing so, spread the contagion.

 To be a winner, an idea needs to be sneezed: to Godin, looking at an idea as if it was a contagious virus is the key to its propagation.

To infect means to stimulate the interest of others towards a product or brand and to encourage the birth of a thought contaminated by advertisement and word of mouth.

The consequences…

Gaining followers on Instagram or Facebook takes on a high market value for companies: the viral transmission of an idea generates advertising osmosis, by which new customers will become loyal to the brand. This conscious thrust towards new markets will alter purchasing trends, encouraging the trading up phenomenon: those who are hooked on low cost products and services (trading down) may start to value the quality of their purchases by giving in to market strategies by which high price/high quality goods will be preferred.


Myriam Caccavelli