How Fiskars created their incredible fan community

Back in 2005, Fiskars — the 360-year-old brand that’s famous for their orange-handled scissors —  did a brand audit. They asked customers to describe what beverage and snack they were like, and when the responses of “milk” and “saltine crackers” came in, they knew they had some work to do.

To help turn it around, Fiskars brought in Geno Church and his team at Brains on Fire. Together they launched an incredible fan community that dramatically increased sales, reduced advertising costs, and consistently generates new product ideas.

At our last word of mouth event, Geno shared a case study on how they made this all happen. Below are just a few of his great ideas.

(And be sure to check out our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course to see an incredible lineup of inspiring word of mouth speakers, including Geno!)

1. Start by simply reaching out to the influencers

Geno just picked up the phone and called crafting influencers like Donna Downey (who Geno described as the “Oprah of the crafting world”) and explained to them what Fiskars was hoping to do. As it turned out, Donna was a fan and was happy to get involved. And not only that – Donna introduced Geno to other influencers who also loved Fiskars.

2. Get your hands dirty

Geno and his team went on a cross-country tour and interviewed more than 100 women on why they loved to scrapbook. They participated in the research (Geno says he’s not a good scrap booker, but he damaged plenty of tables). What they found was that people were extremely passionate – but not about the tools, but about what they could do with the tools. This helped guide them to reframe the conversation from about scissors to about people celebrating their creativity.

3. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the party, sometimes you do

If the party is happening and it’s great, don’t invent another party. But if the party’s toxic, you can invent another party. Geno says this mantra drives how they look at creating communities. And because the existing crafting community was toxic, they had the opportunity to create a supportive and friendly community.

Watch Geno’s presentation:

How Fiskars created their amazing fan community, presented by Geno Church from WordofMouth.org on Vimeo.

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Comments

  1. Cheryl Waters

    I am a product of that movement. Having been a lead fiskateer for the last six years . . . want an incredible experience. What a team . . . of sneezers, shakers and movers. I have learned so much. When you are geniunely excited about something and it spills over . . . lives can be changed, touched and in the interim sales and mentions increase. Geno and BOF are some of the coolest folks around! Lead/Founding Fiskateer #002

  2. Cale Johnson

    Hi Cheryl! Thanks for sharing your story. We are huge fans of the Fiskateer movement — you all did amazing work.

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