Brains Build Community

I’m happy to see my friends at Brains On Fire get some positive press for their Fiskars work.
Josh Bernoff, VP-principal analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of Groundswell, writing in Ad Age outlines the idea.

Although Fiskars products are central to the scrapbooking experience, in 2006 the company found its own image was lackluster. In focus groups, respondents told the company that if Fiskars was a color, it would be beige; if it were a food, it would be saltines.
How could the company align itself with the enthusiasm of its own customers? An ad campaign would cost too much and wouldn’t make long-lasting difference. So Suzanne Fanning, Fiskars’ head of corporate communications, teamed with a brand consultancy called Brains on Fire to create the Fiskateers.
Fiskateers is an exclusive community of crafters. You have to be invited to get in. Once there, you can connect with one of the lead Fiskateers, four crafting enthusiasts identified by Fiskars in a national search. When you join up, you get a box that includes crafting supplies plus unique two-tone scissors available only to members. But, most important, you get to connect and draw ideas and support from fellow crafters.
Fiskateers is a social application, but it’s not a campaign — it’s an ongoing effort. In just over a year, Fiskars has grown the community to include more than 4,000 members, 20 times its original goal.

I was thinking of asking Spike Jones to answer some questions about this campaign, but then I thought, “You ask him!” He’s going to see this post and I’m sure he will be happy to engage via comments. I’ll get us rolling.
Q. Spike, does Brains On Fire have a scrapbook? Is that what a blog is to some degree?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Thanks for the sweet, sweet love David.
    A: You know, that’s a great question. We have actually pondered that idea. When we were getting ready to launch the movement and were designing the various online and offline elements, our office looked like a scrapbooking store, that’s for sure!

  2. Well, our blog is kinda like a scrapbook when you consider the Flickr and YouTube efforts we’re trying out. It’s been fun to experiment and have a “slice of life” within our walls and on our travels.

  3. We have done virtual scrapbooks while getting to know our “personas,” or the personalities that are most likely to be attracted to our company or products. While I know the question was somewhat silly, it’s interesting how avid scrapbookers (we have a few on our team!) bring their passion into everything they do.
    It was *very* wise of Fiskars to realize this and embrace it.

  4. Okay Adpulpians, Spike’s in. Do my work for me. No. I mean pepper him with intelligent questions.

  5. Man, what a let down. Remind me never to rely on comments.
    Q. Spike, I’m bad at math. What’s 20 times less than 4000? And why set your sites so low?
    Related question: How many scrapbookers are there in America?

  6. Well, you can always turn blog into a printed scrapbook. It’s the best of both worlds.

  7. No worries, David.
    A: That’s 200. And we wanted to reach that number within the first 6 months. We were going to quality, not quantity. Like so many social networks today, people go and sign up just to sign up. So we created an invite-only movement because we want people to want to be there. To connect there. To want to come back and also connect offline.
    I have no clue how many scrapbookers there are in America. But I do know that it’s a 2.4 billion dollar industry in the states.

  8. Nancy Krabbenhoeft says:

    Martha Stewart would know about scrapbooking. She was seen at a party with that former geeky Microsoft guy last year, (dating?) and she recently was promoting macs. I wonder if she saw my homepage because I have such a beautiful scrapbook page with my grandkids. And well, knowing computers and graphic design and understanding complex programs like QUARK express 4.0 and html and CSS, (remember my allfeetjournal page where I did a bit of rearranging to make it look like a real newspaper, David?…all that after the age of 45, Sally Hogshead!!!! …and never holding down a fulltime job for the past 25 years…well. yea…. Martha you are rich Polish. I am poor Polish. I know the rules and my place in society. I won’t tell.
    Wait why are you guys handing me a broom?
    Witchy woman.