Spike Jones: How to Create a Fan Community — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

9:35 — Kurt Vanderah introduces Spike Jones, Brains On Fire‘s Firestarter.

9:37 — Spike shows a clip of a woman singing a Fiskars carol.

9:39 — It’s about people, not technology.

9:40 — Brains on Fire creates movements as opposed to campaigns, something that lasts forever, not for just a moment. Movements are a volume dial–there is no zero. Sometimes it’s people talking really loud, sometimes they’re quiet.

9:41 — Rules of friendship should apply when talking to customers.

9:42 — Spike starts talking about Fiskars and scissors. Scissors are boring, so they tried to go in and find where the passion was.

9:43 — It’s not about the scissors but what people do with the scissors. Stop talking about products but what people do with them. Reframe the conversation.

9:45 — Movements begin with the first conversation. Ask the customers what they think.

9:46 — Brains on Fire went around the country to look for people, ambassadors to lead the  movement.

9:48 — Movements have inspirational leadership. They are not necessarily “influencers” but they have to be passionate. Influence can be created, but passion cannot.

9:48 — Movements have an entry barrier. Fiskateers need to log in, say they want to be a Fiskateer, and then they receive an email asking them why. 60% are lost in that step but it means that the members are active and participate.

9:50 — Movements empower people with knowledge. Create a mecca experience for them.

9:52 — Spike says we are wired as humans to want to believe something bigger than ourselves. We have to fill in the blanks for our customers.

9:53 — Fiskateers get mail after a few days they join. It includes a special pair of scissors with their unique number. It generates both online and offline word-of-mouth.

9:55 — Movements encourage shared ownership. We have to build something like it has to live forever.

9:56 — Movements make advocates feel like rock stars. It’s giving them an opportunity to be heard and sometimes that’s all they want.

9:57 — Movements live online and offline. 90% of word-of-mouth happens offline.

9:58 — Movements move the needle. 300% increase in sales trend. 30% less spending for banner ads. 13 new product ideas a month.

9:59 — Movements fight an injustice.


Q: How easy is it to create a fan community on a B2B basis?

A: B2B customers want knowledge. B2C customers want stuff.

Q: High barrier to entry sounds counterintuitive. Did you test this?

A: We learned the hard way when we were in South Carolina for Anti-Tobacco.

Q: Can you take any product and get it done? A lot of companies may be too scared to try it out.

A: If the mindset of the company is right, then you can do it on your own. A simple thing to do would be a customer advisory board. Just get people who you can bring together to talk.

Q: How did you go about finding the leaders of this group? Did you provide structure for them?

A: We chose the cities to start in and went to mom-and-pop stores to ask them for their best customers. Our leaders switch out every two years to keep it fresh. We had minimum requirements for them but we chose them for who they were.

Q: For new brands entering the space, do you suggest they create their own community or do you dive into where they are?

A: If there’s an opportunity to have those conversations, then participate in those communities first.

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  1. Live coverage recap from yesterday's Word of Mouth Supergenius - December 17, 2009

    […] How to Create a Fan Community — with Brains On Fire’s Spike Jones […]

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