Don’t just build bonfires; take part in them!

Been thinking more about bonfires, which many people agree is a great analogy for the types of social marketing activity that many of us are trying to encourage.

John has a great slide-set on his blog that is very useful for explaining this concept in very simple and visual terms. Most handy!

But there is still one thing amiss with the deck and from much of the overall discussion: The implication is that Brands have to *build* the bonfires.

This is understandable, as we are used to building stuff in marketing (ie advertising, microsites). But the fact is that many people already have bonfires, and they usually want to build their own bonfires; you know, with their friends and that. They probably don’t want to come to your Corporate Bonfire. Anyone notice what happened with Bud.tv?!

Communities_Zuckerburg

So, to continue the analogy, how can we help people with what they want to do at a bonfire?

1. Provide some stuff: some blankets to keep people warm, some snacks and drinks, maybe even provide some entertainment (a guitar?)

2. Go along to the bonfire and actually have a conversation or two (remember to be a good listener!)

3. Most importantly, of course, you could do something *genuinely useful* like put some extra wood on the bonfire to keep the damn thing going!

People don’t want to go to hundreds of different bonfires. So, before you go building anything new, find out if there is anything going on already, and think about how you can usefully participate.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t just build bonfires; take part in them!

  1. Hey Dan

    I totally agree; if there’s a bonfire going already, bring some wood, or other stuff as you suggest… not some matches & kindling.

    And don’t try and make people stand up from their nice comfy seat, and move to another fire that’s going to take a while to get warm.

    John

  2. whatleydude says:

    Agreed, there are many analogies that work in this context. Amplification is key.

    I often find myself drawing comparisons with the circus. You can’t just rock up to town with a tent and expect everyone to come and see your dancing bears… (not unless they can REALLY dance), but rocking up to someone else’s circus, with a decent sideshow, supporting the main event but also having something to entertain and buffer the crowds as they make their way to and from…

    That works too.

    Nice post.

  3. Alcocer says:

    Hey Dan

    I totally agree; if there's a bonfire going already, bring some wood, or other stuff as you suggest… not some matches & kindling.

    And don't try and make people stand up from their nice comfy seat, and move to another fire that's going to take a while to get warm.

    John;…

  4. [...] bonfires were a complete sham because they were context-less marketing bonfires. Good old Goodall already discussed this one and he rightly pointed that brands are better looking for ways to [...]

  5. [...] 2 autres parties complémentaires de l’exposé de John V Willshire ici et là, ainsi que la contribution de Daniel Goodall Digital Media Planner chez Nokia à propos de cette analogie du feu de joie et du social media [...]

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