The Walker Sands Book Club: Catching Great Ideas with Contagious

This winter, Walker Sands revived its (semi?) annual book club, with Jonah Berger’s Contagious. The book proved an apt choice; Contagious focuses on a phenomenon near and dear to the hearts of PR pros, namely, why certain ideas catch our collective interest and go viral, while others fade to the background.

In other words, when we say something “goes viral,” what do we really mean? And what can we do to give the ideas and messages we most believe in a nudge in the right direction?

Berger outlines clear qualities that many of these contagious ideas share. We definitely recommend you read the book rather than our spark notes, but for a quick summary, these principles are:

Social Currency – we share things that reflect well on us

Triggers – we share what’s top of mind

Emotion – we share when we feel strongly about a topic

Public – we share what’s noticeable around us

Practical Value – we share things we find useful

Stories – we share information packed in narratives

As we discussed the anecdotes and concepts within this framework with our colleagues, we realized these forces are at work constantly in the work we do across teams and roles to get our clients noticed. The book club created an opportunity not only to get some fun reading done, but to brainstorm and swap insight with new people… and of course, share our favorite cat videos.

Got suggestions for what you think we should read next? Leave a comment below and tune in for our next book club recap.

PROI Exchange Recap

By: Tyler Balkin and Theresa Ianni

This year, Walker Sands participated in an exchange program through our network of independent PR firms, PROI. Our copywriter, Emily Johnson, took a trip to visit Jackson Spalding in Atlanta. While it was tough to leave Georgia’s warm weather behind, she made it back to share some insights and key takeaways with our team.


Before diving into the details of her agency experience, Emily explained why she chose Jackson Spalding among other agencies. The agency’s fun corporate culture and strong content development program made them stand out.


The Sony Hacks Raises Journalism Ethics Issues

The events surrounding the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment have unfolded like a soap opera. It started with glowing red skeletons appearing on Sony employees’ computer screens. A slew of email hacks, the release of social security information, and threats of violent action followed, and eventually twisted Sony’s executive’s arms enough to get the self-proclaimed “Guardians of Peace” exactly what they wanted. Sony initially cancelled the release of “The Interview,” but the movie will now play in select theaters.



How New Facebook Search Changes Impact Your Brand

Nearly two years after Facebook launched Graph Search, the social networking giant rolled out a new search tool that will replace its integration with Bing. The site’s newest functionality offers personalized results meant to give users a better mobile search experience.

Now you can search specific posts shared by friends and Facebook pages you’re a fan of.



While most of Facebook’s new search capabilities are meant for connecting with friends, this news is encouraging for brands.

In the last several months, brands have struggled to get content in front of their fans organically because of the new changes to Facebook’s algorithm, decreasing a page’s organic reach to almost zero. Although having a solid paid strategy will be important to succeeding on Facebook in 2015, the most recent change means brands need to incorporate their search strategies into Facebook.

Here are some recommendations to how brands can adjust in 2015.


Friday Five: 12/15-12/19

Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of industry news from this week!

Sony cancels North Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers – Reuters

After hackers imposed multiple threats and leaked sensitive information this November, Sony pulled “The Interview” from theaters this week. The company received criticism from political leaders and celebrities alike, but stands by its decision. While the hackers are “happy” with the decision to pull the movie, they are still threatening to leak more sensitive data if Sony doesn’t continue to comply by their demands.