Today’s post is from @mackcollier. We were so lucky to have him attend and agree to blog from the 2010 4th Annual Brains on Fire FIRE Sesssions. What a treat to finally meet him in person. Photos from this post are via Flickr via hyku’s photostream (our super cool and very talented friend Josh Hallett). More photos to come from our very own Justin Gammon. So enjoy:
And being in Greenville on this glorious day means being at Brains on Fire’s FIRE sessions. Â This is an event, actually I think it would be more appropriate to call it an experience. Â I was beyond thrilled to be invited by Robbin to attend and blog the event, and to say it didn’t disappoint would be an understatement.
The day started out with the Brains on Fire serenading us to David Bowie’s Changes. Â I’m not sure what surprised me more, that Robbin was air-playing a saxophone, or that we were a couple of hours into the day before I first heard the term ‘social media’. Â Both were very pleasant surprises!
The schedule got started with BOF’s own Geno Church telling us a bit about some of the work BOF has done. Â One thread that seemed to run through each case study (and this is a big reason why I love BOF) is finding the people that are passionate about the message you want to spread, empower them to spread that message then get out of their way.
Geno told the story of the Rage Against the Haze movement that was created to help combat teen smoking in South Carolina. Â Teens that were passionate about their community and stopping teen smoking were empowered to lead the charge for this movement. Â Geno admitted that giving control away to teens was a bit scary, but when the teens realized they were being empowered, they took ownership of the movement.
The results? Â The state of South Carolina saw a drop in teenage smoking from 36% to 19% within 3 years of launching Rage Against the Haze.
Next up was the always-inspiring Fiskateers story. Â Geno talked about how BOF worked with Fiskars to do initial research to figure out who the company’s market was. Â These findings led them to realize that Fiskars market was younger than Fiskars thought, and they were more active online. Â BOF found that many of Fiskars’ existing customers were active online, and they weren’t talking about the tool (Fiskars scissors) but rather what the tool allowed them to do (scrapbooking).
But what Fiskars and BOF also discovered was that there wasn’t really a positive place online that ‘regular’ scrapbookers could come together and support each other. Â In fact, there were some scrapbookers that were abusive to others and identified themselves as ‘Scrap Bitches’.
So first, they worked to reframe the conversation from being about Fiskars products, to the experience that customers have by using the products. Then, they looked to create that supportive and nurturing place where scrapbookers could form a community. Â Enter a blog and before you know it, we have a Fiskateers movement on our hands.
You’ve likely heard of the Fiskateers movement so I won’t spend a lot of time rehashing what Geno shared about it. Â But I did note two key takeaways about the success of the movement. Â First, Geno shared that Fiskars saw a 600% increase in brand mentions of ‘Fiskars’. Â Still, I thought this stat was more interesting: Stores that have hosted at least one Fiskateer have enjoyed THREE FOLD increase in sales. Â That tells me that Fiskars has people in place that are passionate about the products and more importantly, what the products allow them to do. Â I believe Geno also made the point that when looking for lead Fiskateers for their blog, they weren’t interested in good writers as much as they were looking for customers that were passionate. Â Love that.
Key takeaway from Geno’s session? Â Find messages about your brand that resonate with the people you are trying to reach, then empower those people to not only help shape that message, but to spread it. Â Doing so gives them ownership, which only intensifies their natural passion and enthusiasm for the message and idea that you want to spread. Â Yeah, it’s kinda scary to give up control, but putting an idea in the hands of the people that want to see it succeed beats having an idea that no one cares about, right?
My head is already hurting from all this smartitude, and we are barely 90 mins into the day. Â I’ll share more wholesome goodness from the #firesessions in the next post!
Another big thanks to @mackcollier and Josh Hallet (@hyku) for pushing out some awesome content from the FIRE Sessions! More fiery goodness to come soon!