For the second time in six months I got to listen to the Fiskateer case study at last week’s ANA Conference on Marketing Accountability. This time it was co-presented between Jay Gillespie, the VP of Marketing at Fiskars and Spike Jones, the Firestarter at Brains on Fire.
The folks at Fiskars did a lot of things right in order to build this community – they found an area of passion, scrapbooking, and they put the users at the center of their community, not their company nor their products.
In a nutshell, the Fiskateer community is a community of passionate scrapbookers who are helping one another in every aspect of the hobby – from providing social interaction guidelines for the community to finding the right tools for the job. A handful of community leaders are paid by Fiskars, all others are volunteers.
What started as a modest PR project, with a goal of recruiting 250 community members within 6 months, ended up with a movement of 5,000 passionate fiskateers in 18 months. In fact they achieved their original goal of 250 members in less than 48 hours. Another goal was for them to increase chatter by 10%, which they instead grew by 600%. They also blew past their original goal of increasing store sales by 10% and instead increased store sales by 300%.
What’s even better is that the program, which was originally funded by Fiskars at the tune of $1M, is now fully paid for by the box stores.
And just like we found with our own study on how companies leverage communities, they had some unexpected benefits from their community, including:
- The participation of the community in the R&D process
- Having the community members create better advertising than they used to
- Having community members take over much of the customer support function
- Having the community rally around the company when they had a PR crisis on their hands.
The key to success, said Fiskars’ Jay Gillespie, is to keep yourself accountable to the fans – not the company.
When companies deploy successful communities, the benefits are not level-setting; they are truly game-changing.