World Wide Rave – A Book Review

I know why David Meerman Scott (@dmscott), author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR and World Wide Rave is one of my favorite marketing/PR authors…it’s because he writes a book that has me absorbed in every page.  Congratulations David on World Wide Rave, another book really well done!

One of the reasons why I like World Wide Rave so much is because it’s one of those little books that offer great higher-level concepts with practical examples.  The book gets you thinking so much that your mind feels like it’s going to explode with ideas on how you can create your own world wide rave.

One very clear and strong message stood out and was reinforced throughout the book: World Wide Rave teaches readers to think differently and that you…yes you…can create a world wide rave of your own.  When I first heard the title I thought how many people actually create something worldwide?  But, that’s the beauty of a world wide rave; it could mean a rave that captures a town, a region, a community online, the United States, another country or the entire world.

David gives great advice on how to start a world wide rave with several key concepts:

No one cares about your products and services

I love that David reminds us that “no one cares about your products and services.”  I’m in PR and marketing for 21 years and I couldn’t agree more! It’s never about what you want to tell people or what you think about your own products and services.  But, it is up to you to figure out what people need, what they want from you, what will help them in their daily lives and ultimately make them feel better (solve a problem, give them a solution, make them smile).  This is about people. As much as marketers think clever campaigns (and often very expensive ones) directly from the boardroom result in leads/sales, that’s not what makes people want to do business with a company.

No coercion required

A world wide rave is about offering something selflessly.  Giving away great content that helps someone or group of people.  For example, Lisa Genova, who wrote the book Still Alice, which is a novel about “a young women’s decent into dementia due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease” and shared it with the National Alzheimer’s Association, or the story of Matt Harding who invited people to dance with him in 42 countries from Bhutan to Zanzibar, which made people happy and feel good.  They both created a world wide rave by giving good information and/or in Harding’s case sharing his silly dancing on video and inviting others to join him. When you lose control, another really strong message in the book and give more to the people that matter, you’ll see your content spread virally.  It’s that principle of give to the universe and the universe will give back to you.

Lose control

It was great how David talked about how companies/executives need to open up their frame of reference to their employees’ use of social media. He asks the questions:  do you trust your employees?  Companies need to trust their employees with social media and allow them to participate.  If you close off Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, for example, you will never achieve a world wide rave.  He even says that as an employee of a company, if you take your reasons to the top and the company still wants to shut the social networking down, then it’s time to find a new job.  I couldn’t agree more.  Social networking and employee participation go hand in hand for a brand.  The greatest example (which is the example that I tend to use myself in my presentations) is IBM and how this global brand trusts its employees, empowers them to use social channels and gives them the tools to be a part of the social sphere.

Another excellent message in the Lose Control section of the book is that executives should stop using Return on Investment (ROI) as an excuse. It’s so true…I hear this all of the time and David is right that it’s making marketers way too “cautious and boring.”  Creating a world wide rave can lead to tremendous value for an organization.  But, the rave is new and experimental and sometimes that is difficult to “sell” to the executives who sit at the top of the company.  I laughed out loud when he gave an example in the book discussing when CEOs push back about ROI.  He says, “What’s the return on investment of the army of landscapers who are constantly at work on the plantings around your corporate headquarters.”  I think a lot of people are going to be “stealing” this very question and using it to fight the ROI battle!

Create triggers that encourage people to share

In this section of the book, David makes another interesting point. You have to think like a Venture Capitalist (VC).  I never really thought about social media and the VC way of thinking.  David’s point, which is well taken, is that VCs know that only one out of how many ventures will end in a profitable company.  You invest in many start ups to actually land one big (that’s the one that goes public).  Well it’s the same principle with the world wide rave.  You may have many ideas (and this is all about great ideas and content) but perhaps only one will take off and make you recognized for the information you’ve shared.

Overall, I like David’s writing style.  He is honest and very transparent.  Toward the end of the book, he admits that if someone had Googled his full name when he started his business, the result would have turned up zero hits.   After The New Rules of Marketing & PR was published as an ebook, it was downloaded over 250,000 times, was recognized by marketing & PR professionals, and by bloggers and the media. It became a world wide rave.  And, to this day, his book is still #1 in the PR category on Amazon.  As a result, a subsequent search for his name revealed over 200,000 entries about David, his ideas and his work.

There are so many reasons to read this book.  I feel energized and motivated to do more (and I only get 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep each night as it is).  But, when you read a book like World Wide Rave you realize that you can easily create that great content and get your own rave under way.   David is right when he says, “Anyone can trigger a world wide rave.”

World Wide Rave is a book that introduces some powerful ways of thinking and provides some great, simple and easy to digest examples of how people were successful in their world wide raves.  The examples and the people cited in the book could have been you or me.  It’s not because the people involved had lots of money, spent their years in the marketing profession or had acute knowledge of social media.  And, it’s not because these people were necessarily highly respected visionaries or well-known public figures. Regular people, who grasp the concepts in this book, can find themselves generating some great ideas that just may be the next world wide rave!