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Newsletter #748: The “Lessons from The Flaming Lips” Issue

{Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.}

The Flaming Lips are a Grammy-winning, Oklahoma-based rock group that has been named one of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die” and has an extremely devoted fan base. Here are three lessons they can teach us:

1> Let everyone get involved
2> Help everyone share
3> Get in a giant hamster ball
4> Check it out: Coyne in the crowd

1> Let everyone get involved

It’s more fun — and often, more profitable — to work at a place where fans love to share ideas and get involved. The Flaming Lips are always getting fans involved through everything from letting ticket-holders vote on the songs they’d like to hear at the show to asking fans to post goofy dance videos of themselves on YouTube for a chance to join the band on stage. You could get fans involved with something as simple as letting them test your new stuff to an all-out brainstorming conference where your biggest fans give you feedback and new ideas.

The Lesson: Try creating a few simple opportunities for those that love your company to offer ideas or help out — it’s often free for you and your fans will love the chance to help improve your stuff.

2> Help everyone share

While some artists are hesitant to let fans take pictures or easily share their music, The Flaming Lips love it. The band encourages everyone to share videos and photos of their performances and they put all of their fans’ latest updates right on their website. Fans share photos they’ve taken at shows, links to live recordings, and excitement for upcoming concerts. You could make it easier for your fans to share stuff by creating simple groups via Facebook and Flickr, or creating a special section of your website to organize all the external photos, videos, and blog posts about your stuff.

The Lesson: Support everyone who’d like to share your stuff by making it easy for the world to find their content.

3> Get in a giant hamster ball

Never stop creating and testing fresh word of mouth topics — sooner or later, you’ll find something that sticks. For The Flaming Lips, one of their biggest topics of all time is lead singer Wayne Coyne’s signature man-sized plastic bubble — basically, a giant hamster ball — which he uses at shows to roll out over the crowd. It’s silly, goofy, and just the kind of thing everyone walks away from telling friends and co-workers about the next day. You don’t need to be a rock band to try out some new ways to get people talking: It’s the goofy way you answer your phone, the hand-written thank you note you send with orders, or how you serve the world’s biggest donut.

The Lesson: Don’t be afraid to test lots of word of mouth topics. Eventually, you’ll find a few that catch on and create lasting, sustainable word of mouth.

4> Check it out: Coyne in the crowd

The video is a bit shaky, but it’s a close-up look at The Flaming Lips’ front man Wayne Coyne in his giant hamster ball. Anyone else think we should bust one of these out at our next BlogWell?

Check it out: YouTube

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