A small amount of controversy can get people talking about a brand, but people tend to avoid discussing highly controversial topics to avoid discomfort, a study finds. The research, co-authored by word-of-mouth-marketing expert Jonah Berger, found that anonymous Internet users were more willing to discuss moderately controversial topics, while people whose identity was displayed were less likely to mention hot-button issues. As a result, marketers should tailor the amount of controversy in their campaigns based on the channel and the audience, researchers said.

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