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Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements by Spike Jones, Geno Church, Greg Cordell, Robbin Phillips

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Chapter 9. Movements Make Advocates Feel Like Rock Stars

Wouldn't it be nice if Lexus found out that you were a huge fan and gave you a free car? Or if JetBlue gave you unlimited free airfare in return for your constant raving about them? Or if Whole Foods found out that you told all your friends about your grocery shopping experience and you got free groceries for life? Of course, that'd be great. But it's not exactly reality, and not a great business model, either.

When we tell you to treat your advocates like rock stars, we're not talking about champagne wishes and caviar dreams, or private jets and penthouse suites. Yes, those things are nice. But you're not going to have a movement if you try to reward people with free stuff through sweepstakes and contests. That's part of a campaign, and it won't make people feel appreciated. Just lucky.

A more effective approach is to reward people with recognition. And don't just shine a light on the overachievers; love the ones who hardly have any time to give to the movement but do so anyway. Listen to the haters as well as lovers. But don't listen from the shadows like some CIA operative who's undercover in a foreign country. Listen actively, like you're sitting across the table from your advocates, looking them in the eye, nodding your head, and taking notes. Really hear the words that come out of their mouths, and then engage. Again, it's not about giving people swag or money or any of those material things. When you make someone feel ...

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