Unleashing The IdeaVirus: Why should we care?


The world has changed over the last 20 or 30 thirty years. 20 or 30 years ago if a chicken caught a cold, sneezed and died in a remote village in east Asia, it would have been a tragedy for the chicken and its closest relatives. I don’t think there was a possibility of us fearing a global pandemic and the deaths of millions.

20 or 30 years ago if a bank in North America lent too much money to some people who couldn’t afford to pay it back and the bank went bust, it was bad for the lender and borrower. We didn’t imagine it would bring the global economy system to its knees for nearly a decade.

This is globalisation, this is the connection economy. This is the miracle that has enabled us to transship our bodies and our minds, our words, our pictures, our idea, our teachings and learning around the planet ever faster and ever cheaper.

Why should we care? Why does it matter that ideas can instantly cross international boundaries, change discussions about politics, crime and justice or even get us to buy something?

Because the currency of our future is ideas, and the ideavirus mechanism is the way those ideas propagate.

And the science and art of creating ideaviruses and using them for profit is new and powerful. You don’t have to wait for an ideavirus to happen organically or accidentally. You can plan for it and optimise for it and make it happen.

Sure, some ideaviruses are organic. They happen and spread through no overt action or intent on the part of the person who creates them. Others, though, are the intentional acts of smart entrepreneurs and politicians who know that launching and nurturing an ideavirus can help them accomplish their goals.

Globalisation has made it easier for people to connect. The internet makes it easier for people to instantly know what is happening in their parts of the world. It is the connection economy and in this economy it is far easier to spread your idea without much effort. The Gum gum style song and dance spread almost freely all over the world without much marketing.

In the old days, the way we sold a product was through interruption marketing. We would run adverts, interrupt people with unanticipated, impersonal, irrelevant adverts and hope that they would buy something. And sometimes, it worked.

Traditional Interruption Marketing

Traditional Marketing

In traditional interruption marketing, the marketer talks directly to as many consumers as possible, with no intermediary other than the media company.

The goal of the consumer is to avoid hearing from the advertiser. The goal of the marketer is to spend money buying adverts that interrupt people who don’t want to be talked to.

People ignore adverts, they set their emails to detect and archive spam email immediately before they can see it. In the connection economy, this model of marketing is not as effective.

Unleashing The IdeaVirus Graph

Idea Virus Marketing

In creating an ideavirus, the advertiser creates an environment in which the idea can replicate and spread. It’s the virus that does the work, not the marketer.

Building a brand through unleashing the idea virus in the connection economy is not when you tell your customers what is brand is about, but when your customers tell each other what your brand is about.


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