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Fiskars Puts a PESO in Its Pocket
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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That’s the PR model PESO — paid, earned, shared, and owned; and if PRs are not using it, say industry experts, they can kiss their jobs good-bye. One brand that put a nice twist on the Paid and Earned aspects of the model is Fiskars, the 357-year-old scissors company.

Suffering from flagging sales, Fiskars in 2006 ran focus groups that told them that if it were a color, it would be the color beige. Fiskars felt deeply cut by the assessment and decided to do something about it.

Fiskars knew its crafting products had passionate users, so it harnessed that enthusiasm by identifying who they were, and then paying and training them to represent the brand.

It hired four part-time brand ambassadors to spread the word by blogging about their crafting lives, attending trade shows, hosting online chats, leading in-store classes, and developing relationships with store owners. The four were extremely successful in growing the Fiskateers Club by inviting others to join and helping to create a critical mass of people united around the brand.

According to Brains on Fire, the marketing consultants who helped Fiskars design and implement the strategy, the company achieved the following:
  • Less than 24 hours after officially launching, Fiskars had reached its original six-month goal of 200 members;
  • Today, that number sits at more than 8,500 Fiskateers from all 50 states and more than 20 countries;
  • The first 20 weeks saw a 600% increase in online conversations mentioning Fiskars by name; and
  • Stores visited by lead Fiskateers have doubled their sales.
“Although Fiskars relied on paid brand advocates, the results speak for themselves,” said MediaMiser’s Your Guide to Successful Brand Advocacy report. “Fiskars created a community motivated simply by their passion for the product and has boosted the brand’s profile to unimaginable levels.”

Says original Lead Fiskateer Stephanie Hamen, “This truly is a movement of devoted crafters just wanting to have fun and share their love.”

The campaign is the perfect embodiment of what Meltwater calls brand attachment (rather than simply brand loyalty), which is the creation of:
  • Affection;
  • Connection; and
  • Passion 
Through paid and owned channels (including sponsored posts on Facebook, sponsored tweets, fan acquisition, brand ambassadors, native advertising, employee and customer stories, reviews, brand journalism, and the like), brands can create lifelong advocates of their products and services.

Says Gini Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks, “If you aren’t using the PESO model for your communications work, and measuring the meaningful metrics that help an organization grow, you will not have job in 10 years.”

Fiskars is but one great example of how well this can be done.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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