Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith What is the Dragonfly Effect?
The Dragonfly Effect is a model that taps concepts from social media, marketing strategy, and consumer psychology to help people achieve a single, concrete goal. We named it after the only insect that can move swiftly in any direction, and even hover, when its four wings are moving in harmony. The four “wings” of the model—Focus, Grab Attention, Engage, and Take Action—work together to help readers produce the change they seek, and that desired change can take many forms: social good, employee morale, or customer loyalty, among many others.
The name itself is a tribute to the “Butterfly Effect,” which is itself built on chaos theory. It describes how the flapping of a butterfly’s wings might have an impact on the weather halfway around the world. The dragonfly, however, moves with tremendous speed and force, and compared to a butterfly, it has about twenty times more power in each flap of its wings. You can imagine that potential is even greater when harnessed and coordinated on a mass scale. Al Gore, former vice president and master viral-message maker, once said, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Small acts create big change, and working in concert maximizes your ability to go farther faster—and in any direction you choose. What inspired you to create this movement (or ecosystem)?
There were three underlying reasons we started working this book: first, Andy’s experience in marketing and harnessing social media to build brands suggested that the social space could be deployed in a fundamentally new way; second, Jennifer’s research on happiness, which shows that what people think makes them happy isn’t really what makes them happy; and third, most importantly, our own personal experience working with amazing, smart people to find a bone marrow match for a friend, which, as a result, helped to build up a bone marrow registry that’s helped thousands of others. Those stories, and the tools that were developed as a result, are described in this book.
These three things led to “The Power of Social Technology,” a class that Jennifer teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The class is designed to help entrepreneurial students harness the social web to cultivate good in the world. The course demonstrates not only that people are clamoring for ways to use the social web for good, but that there’s a framework and a repeatable process that can help them achieve their goals quickly. We wanted to share this model with as many people as possible and are excited to see what can be achieved as even more people get involved. Lots of books describe how to use social media. How is yours different?
That’s true; there are many excellent books that teach the mechanics of using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And some explain how to use these tools to compete in business. But few books address how to harness the incredible power of the social web to make a difference. The Dragonfly Effect
shows you how to tap social media and insights from consumer psychology to achieve a single, concrete goal. We walk readers through the Obama campaign and how they pioneered social technology strategies to create political change; how Starbucks uses the social web to engage with customers and educate fans about social-good initiatives, such as buying fair trade coffee; how ProFounder provides a platform for crowdfunding for small businesses, making micro-loans easily available to entrepreneurs; and how everyday people are able to improve the chance of survival for cancer patients.
We also have direct insights from the founders of eBay’s World of Good, storytellers from Pixar, and leaders from Facebook, Twitter, and Google…all offering their unique expertise and success stories. Throughout the book, readers will also find Dragonfly Toolkits designed to break down potentially intimidating first-steps and walk them through the process of getting started with easy-to-implement actions. What do you mean by “the ripple effect” and “emotional contagion”?
Just as a rock thrown into a pond leads to a series of waves that radiate in all directions, the small act that you do can lead to big, often unimaginable results. Research shows that ripple effects result from small acts that have a positive significant impact on others over time. When the action at the epicenter of the ripple effect is based on deep meaning (or something that you believe will make you happy), a multiplier effect can occur because of principles of emotional contagion. Emotional contagion
is the tendency to feel emotions similar to and otherwise be influenced by the emotions of others. So when others around you start to feel the way you do, they can become more strongly energized and mobilized. The fact that your feelings of happiness or meaning can actually infect others also helps explain why some initiatives work and others don't. It underscores the potential for organizations of all types to cultivate social good—which is often tied to happiness and meaning—when they’re trying to capture the imagination of their employees and customers.
Marketing gurus (and married couple) Aaker and Smith turn Aaker's popular class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a handbook on using the power and popularity of social media to do good in the world. They employ real-world examples--an e-mail campaign to register bone marrow donors for hard-to-match patients, a Colombian engineer who used Facebook to organize a protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Obama's grassroots campaign, the microlending site Kiva--to illustrate their mantra F+GET: "Focus, Grab Attention, Engage, Take Action." This is the "Dragonfly Effect," named for the insect's ability to move in any direction when its four wings work together. Specific, practical advice teaches readers how to translate anything--a product, service, community concern--into a powerful narrative that invites participation, how to communicate with potential supporters, how to craft a compelling video, and more. A fascinating, comprehensive guide for how to take your cause and compassion viral.
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