A Lesson in How to Empower Your Community: Fiskateers

As you know, I am huge on marketers joining their communities. But it's also incredibly important for marketers to empower their communities.

Fiskars makes scissors. Scissors that are pretty popular with scrapbookers. So Fiskars and Brains on Fire decided to go into the scrapbooking community, and find members that were using Fiskars scissors in their scrapbooking. After identifying these community members, they then created the 'Fiskateers', a group of brand ambassadors for Fiskars. Then Fiskars set these four Fiskateers, Stephenie, Holly, Cheryl, and May up with a website and their own blog. There the Fiskateers blog about their crafting and scrapbooking projects, how Fiskars products are helping them complete their projects, and life in general. And they blog quite often, in fact Holly posted an entry while I was creating this post!

Why does this work? Spike from Brains on Fire explains:
I’m blown away. Sure, when we first set out to create a community/movement for kindred spirits for one of our clients, we knew – that with a lot of hard work that involved rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty (in a great way) – that something special would happen. And the key part of the movement was to find those passionate people, give them the online and offline tools and opportunities to talk to one another (and also reach out to potential kindred spirits) and then get out of the way. Sure, we expected a lot of things to happen. But even in its infancy, it’s gone far beyond what I ever imagined.

Now – unprompted – these passionate advocates are creating their own marketing tools. They are stepping up and taking ownership in an international brand. They are personalizing something that used to be institutionalized. And they are coming up with ideas that the brand – or even (gasp!) Brains on Fire wouldn’t have thought of.

And I’m in awe.

It started with a company that was willing to gain more power in its industry by giving it away.

And this is just the beginning for them.


Two words stood out for me as I was reading the above, 'passionate' and 'community'. Who are the marketers here? The Fiskateers. Not Fiskars.

Why does that matter? Because the Fiskateers are marketing to the same community that they are members of, and that they are passionate about. This means their wants and needs are the same as the people they are marketing to.

That's incredibly powerful. As Spike said, all it took was Fiskars being smart enough to find these passionate community members, then empowering them to market for them.

That's it. As the title of Spike's post says 'Want Power? Then Give it Away'.

Bonus: Brand Autopsy has more background info on the Fiskateers.


posted by Mack Collier @ 7:57 PM,

7 Comments:

At 1:00 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

Scrapbooking and blogging quite often go together. A lot of the mommy bloggers eat those things up.

 
At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Spike Jones said...

Thanks for the kind words.

And the more I think about it, the more I have a hard time even trying to fit this movement into the "marketing" bucket. It seems like it needs to be called something else.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"And the more I think about it, the more I have a hard time even trying to fit this movement into the "marketing" bucket. It seems like it needs to be called something else."

I think that's because the Fiskateers don't see what they are doing as 'marketing', and the community that's reading their blog don't see it as 'marketing'.

Funny thing is, Jeremy from The Favorites said the same thing about how the band had built their community on MySpace. He said 'the truth is, we're not marketing'. But they are. The powerful difference is, it doesn't SEEM like marketing, not to The Favorites, and not to their fans. It seems like COMMUNICATION.

Because that's what it is. The key is getting to that point. The story of the Fiskateers is a great example of how to do that!

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous doug hudiburg said...

"I have a hard time even trying to fit this movement into the "marketing" bucket. It seems like it needs to be called something else."

Spike, what you are doing is definitely marketing, in fact, it is the core of what good marketing is about: know your market -> give them what they want and need.

No matter how often I look at it, the task of marketing comes down to really knowing your target market and getting close enough to be able to fully address their needs.

Great work Spike and great post Mack!

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

despite what you all may think, I'm not dead, nor have my hands been sliced off in a freak pepperoni pizza accident.

I was listening to a local radio station this morning, and there was a clip of an interview with Roger Daltrey from The Who. He was asked about music and the internet, and what it means to the artists / industry.

Pleasantly, I heard the words 'interact' and 'community' in his answer. Not only that, but he also said the following sentence:

"the internet not only allows us artitst to speak to our fans, but it also allows them to talk among themselves"

Brilliant.

I'm back.

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Welcome back Ryan, JD was ready to organize a search-party ;)

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger The Cute & Adorable, Yet Ever So Humble, mE said...

Mack Collier said...
"I think that's because the Fiskateers don't see what they are doing as 'marketing', and the community that's reading their blog don't see it as 'marketing'. "

I would have to disagree. I am a Fiskateer and I am not blind to the fact that this is purely marketing driven. There are GOBS of product relate blogs that are out there and communities out there that are purely in place to support their marketing of their particular brand or products.

May, Cheryl, Stephenie and Holly all know that it's about the marketing. They are provided with products to "RAK" away to member Fiskateers, Fiskars engraves a pair of scissors with the Fiskateer # for each member and sends it to them. The Fiskars Ambassadors often send out product to member Fiskateers to create projects with that they display on their blog. Fiskars knows that when they get their product into the hands of the consumers and let them "try it out" consumers will purchase more Fiskars brand products.

We are all aware that the main purpose of the Fiskateers Community is to market the Fiskars family of products and heighten the awareness of the Fiskars products.

Anyway.. I just wanted to let you know that we do know what it's all about. I realize you are not speaking negatively about the Fiskateer program, jsut wanted to leave a note.

The Fiskateers community is AWESOME. It fills a lot of different needs, both manufacturer and consumer based.

Inky Smiles!
Erin
www.inkysmiles.blogspot.com

 

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