Why some ideas, behaviors or products start epidemics while others don’t?

How do they curb a rampant epidemic, or start a positive campaign that spreads like wildfire?

This is what Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian journalist, author, and public figure, talks about specifically in his famous book, “The Tipping Point.”

He sheds light on the 3 rules of epidemics that can help you create your own tipping point.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in to find out what these 3 rules of epidemic really are.

The 3 Rules of Epidemics

These 3 rules of epidemics play a significant role in determining whether something tips and spreads like wildfire.

So, whether you are an educator, marketer, social worker, an entrepreneur or someone looking to make an impact, these 3 rules will help you understand how far your campaign succeeds.

1) Law of the Few

It has always been like this, but particularly in this digital era, a tiny percentage of people, such as connectors, mavens, and salesmen, are responsible for building huge momentum because of their influence. Such a group of people single-handedly creates many trends around us today.

For those who don’t know:

Maven: is an expert who has extensive knowledge and understanding of his subject and is always willing to pass on to his followers.

Connector: is someone who knows almost everyone and connects people across different industries and communities.

Salesman: Such a person is charismatic and has the ability to influence others’ buying decisions with effective communication skills.

2) The Stickiness Factor

Were you or your children ever hooked on Sesame Street or Blue’s Clues?

Do you know why? Because the messages envisioned in these shows are sticky – they grab your attention right away and you just can get them out of your head.

Similarly, you can add stickiness to your message by including interesting stories, audience participation, and repetition.

Always remember that success often hinges on small details rather than major changes.

Therefore, ask yourself, is your message has the power to influence? If no, then find the right stickiness factor for your audience.

3) The Power of Context

To explain this rule in a simple manner, let’s use “Broken Window Theory” as an example.

According to the theory, broken windows in a neighborhood lead to higher violent crime rates. But based on the Power of Context, the crime rate can be reduced by fixing the windows rather than arresting people for crime.

Just like this, you can always shape people’s behavior by changing the context and managing their social group.

That’s it.

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