Brains on Fire Book Revisited Part 4: Inspirational Leadership

Via @SarahKatQuest on twitter.

Via @SarahKatQuest on twitter.

Welcome to part four of the series revisiting the 10 lessons learned from my book…three years later. To catch up, read the overview, revisit the passion conversation post and revisit the first conversations post.

This time around we’re talking about inspirational leadership when it comes to advocate programs. And I’ll keep this one short and sweet, because not much has changed here. The premise from the book is that influencers are great, but given the choice, I’d choose passionate people first, because influence can be created, but passion can’t. In other words, I can’t get an influential person to care about my brand, but I can find people who are already passionate about my brand and create influence around them. I’ve written about it many times, like how we created influence around Jared and his love of his Chevy Camaro. Or how we should use influencers for the broadcast channels they are (top-down approach) while fostering relationships with passionate people to build  a groundswell (bottom-up approach) and meet in the middle.

So, yes, we need inspirational leadership for advocate programs. And in my experience, inspirational means relatable. It means accessible. It means someone I aspire to be like. Don’t get me wrong, you need to cultivate relationships with both the influential and the passionate (and when those two are found in one group/individual, even better). But when it comes to those who will be picking up the banner and leading the charge, passion trumps influence. Every. Single. Time.


  • September 16, 2013

    Josh St. Aubin

    Great points Spike. Influence is different to everyone. My neighbor that has all the best gadgets on the block can influence which new TV I purchase, but we may never agree on his car advice. Passion on the other hand is contagious because, just like any good story, it evokes my own emotions to where I feel what he feels, igniting my passion to better understand what makes him such a huge advocate. But like you said, if you can match them both up, you have a powerful tool behind you.

  • September 16, 2013

    Spike Jones

    What a great way to put it, Josh. A great aspect of being a passionate customer is that others want to know why. A story is told and we witness WOM in action. Thanks for the comment…

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