• Sarah Robinson

Fierce Loyalty Accelerator: Create Something Together

When I talk to organizations about building a fiercely loyal community, I can always count on getting one question every single time: “How can we build a fiercely loyal community FAST?”

And my answer is always the same. There is no sure-fire, super-fast way to do it. It takes time to build pride, trust and passion. If you aren’t in it for the long haul, don’t get in the game at all.

That said, once all the right pieces are in place, there are what I call “accelerators”to the fierce loyalty process. Actions and attitudes that can turn up the heat and get everything cooking a bit faster.

Today I’m going to share one of my favorites: Create Something Together

Creating something original strengthens the ties that bind a community together. By engaging in a creative project together, community members have a mechanism for building trust with each other. And as the project comes to fruition and goes public, their ownership in and of the project gives rise to focused feelings of pride and even passion.

I learned about a great case study on this idea the other night when I was watching American Idol with my niece. (I think I may be the only person on the planet who does not voluntarily and religiously devote each Spring to this television phenom.)

For the second year in a row, Coca-Cola is sponsoring Perfect Harmony, a crowd-sourced song writing project. The idea is that American Idol fans ages 18 and up can help co-write the lyrics to a song that will ultimately be performed by Jason Derulo during the American Idol finale. Anyone can submit lyrics and Coca-Cola will select three top finalists. Then fans ages 13 and up will vote on their favorite. Once the votes are tallied up, the winning lyrics will be incorporated into the final song performed for millions of viewers.

There is so much that is brilliant about this as a fierce loyalty accelerator but I’ll highlight three:

1) It gathers in and engages “outlier” fans. Many lack the singing ability to audition for the show but they are talented song-writers who would love chance to show their stuff. This instantly broadens  American Idol’s community and fosters connection that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

2) Community members who do not submit lyrics can still participate in the final creation of the song by casting their votes, creating ownership in the collaborative songwriting process. (And there will be passionate opinions, as there always are on Idol.)

3) Because the song is created by the community through submitting lyrics and voting for favorites, when the song debuts, those who participated will feel a heightened sense of pride in hearing the finished product. Many of them will sit on the edge of their seats the night it debuts and will buy the download as soon as it available.

So if you are looking to accelerate the growth of fierce loyalty in your community, develop a project that allows the entire community to create something together. It doesn’t have to be big and splashy like the Coca-Cola/American Idol project. The important part is that it engages community members and rewards their participation on multiple ways.

Have fun with this!

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