The Dragonfly Effect Workbook: A book review by Bob Morris

Dragonfly WorkbookThe Dragonfly Effect Workbook: The Power of Stories
Andy Smith, Barbara McCarthy, and Jennifer Aaker
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014)

How to create or increase demand for whatever you offer with a social compaign that has accelerate, reach, and impact
In The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change, Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker – with Carlye Adler — explain how to “leverage the power of the new social media to do something that really matters.” They invoke the dragonfly both as a symbol and as catalyst: “The dragonfly is the only insect able to propel itself in any direction – with tremendous speed and force – when its four wings are working in concert. This ancient, exotic, and benign creature illuminates the importance of integrated effort. It also demonstrates that small actions can create big movements. To us, what we call the Dragonfly Effect is the elegance and efficacy of people who, through the passionate pursuit of their goals, discover that they can make a positive impact disproportionate to their resources.”

What we have in this volume is a companion to that book, one in which Smith and Asker collaborate with Barbara McCarthy on a series of exercises that help their reader to understand and master the power of stories. As they explain, “This workbook is designed to walk you through the process of developing a social campaign for a brand or idea of your choosing. You can either do it alone or with others in a team.”

Make no doubt it: This is a WORK book and although its design accommodates completion of exercises within the book, I strongly recommend having a lined notebook nearby so that you can record additional notes as well as additional DRAFTs of exercises. In my case, I needed this resource while I re-read the narrative as well as checking out my previous annotations and illustrations. Just a thought….

I commend Smith, McCarthy, and Aaker on the skillful use of the butterfly metaphor when explaining the Butterfly Effect, “named after the only creature that is able to move in any direction – with tremendous speed and force – when its four wings are working in concert.” More specifically:

Wing #1: “FOCUS on one single central goal that is clear, testable, actionable – and the mere thought of achieving it brings you happiness.”

Wing #2: “GRAB ATTENTION by doing the unexpected, getting personal, triggering a visceral response, or providing a visual hook.”

Wing #3: TELL AN ENGAGING, AUTHENTIC STORY that enables an emotional connection and which can be shared across multiple media channels.

Wing #4: “ENABLE others to take action toward your goal by making it easy, fun and rewarding to participate and spread.”

Keep in mind that these are the “wings” of a brand or idea for which Smith, McCarthy, and Aaker can help you to develop for a social campaign. If that campaign succeeds, the given brand or idea can “take flight” in any direction with great speed and impact. Each of the four has its own design characteristics that serve as a basis for some of the most valuable exercises in the workbook.

I agree with Andy Smith, Barbara McCarthy, and Jennifer Aaker that there is no end to finding better ways to use the unique power of stories to achieve what William Hill once characterized as “true, well-told” when creating or increasing demand for the given brand.

Hopefully each reader will realize that “the real power of the Dragonfly Effect comes not from tips on how to grab someone’s attention but from the insights and actions you could have never anticipated when you enlist others in your effort. There is strength in numbers. Harness them well and you will change the world.” Perhaps but short of that, how about dominating a market segment?

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