Sticky and Contagious

Sticky & Contagious




The secret sauce of Customer Experience is to make it
sticky (memorable) and contagious (share-worthy).






A customer experience is inherently a personal and individual psychological process. While it’s valuable to provide a meaningful and pleasurable experience to individual customers, it is even more valuable if strong, positive Word Of Mouth comes out of it. The way this WOM happens, is a chain of people remembering and sharing the experience they had.

I want to argue that just as we can design and create a context for a positive experience we can design and create a context for remembering and sharing. Like many other behaviors, the social and environmental influences are very strong in determining if those behaviors occur.


Here are 5 tactics to apply:

  1. Get noticed; without attention, nothing will happen. Therefore you have to let your experience stand out and do something different than everybody else, put your own signature on it.
  2. Use social rewards and the dynamics of social proof. We all want to look good (smart, cool, …) socially and look to others to decide what is the right thing to do. Help your customers in these processes.
  3. Use high arousal emotions to create an impact. ‘Awe’ is the ultimate high arousal emotion, it touches us and elevates us, raises activation level and prepares us for action.
  4. Use triggers, create relations with things people do already and existing concepts. You may want to look for a behavior residue, a physical trace of the experience after it has finished.
  5. Use stories as a container for the message. Stories are the original form of inspiration, learning and entertainment. It helps to get an idea across from you to your customer and from your customer to another (new) customer.



This blog is based on 2 books: the Heath Brother’ ‘Made to stick’ and Jonas Berger’s ‘Contagious’. The authors use an acronym transfer their message: SteppsSucces










These factors have significant overlaps and are based on the similar underlying psychological dynamics. As you can conclude from reading the above, they are very suited to be applied in combinations.




By Jürgen Tanghe