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Robbin Phillips: “The Passion Conversation” — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Travis Kenney of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

1:30 —’s Megan Uithoven introduces Robbin Phillips, President of Brains on Fire and author of The Passion Conversation.

1:31 — Robbin: I was born without a name. It took my parents 11 days to come up with my name. Robbin!

1:33 — Robbin says, I love my 2 kids more than anything, hot yoga, cold beer, and creating happiness.

1:35 — My grandma instilled in me the magic of learning.

1:37 — Robbin: Relationships are complicated but they make life worth living. The same is for brands.

1:39 — Robbin: It’s about checking the box in marketing these days (Pinterest, Facebook, Google +), putting the thing before the why. But really, it’s all about the people. It’s not about the product conversation, it’s about the passion conversation. They want to talk about how the brand fits into their life. You have to start with people. If you don’t like people, get out of marketing. People are way more amazing than technology will ever be. As marketers, we would be crazy not to tap into those desires.

1:40 — Robbin share three triggers that prompt people to talk about your brand:  

  1. functional (Bikram yoga, Warby parker)
  2. social (TOMS, Patagonia)
  3. emotional (surprised, awed, disgusted – we talk about it)

If you love it, you talk about it, if you hate it you talk about it. Emotions lie with love and passion.

1:41 — Robbin talks about the Foundation Recovery Network (addiction treatment): They had 120 individual sites.  23 million people need help for addiction, 3 million people actually seek it. FRN wanted to break the stigma. Let’s start talking about recovery. Heroes in Recovery was formed. We built a site and tasked six leaders with bringing 300 people forward to share their recovery story. We formed 6,000 races, created conversation tools, and they have 469 stories to date. Their biggest success: conversations have changed about addiction and recovery.

1:43 — Robbin shares another story about Rob Morris looking to abolish sex slavery in the world: There are two children sold into child sex slavery every minute. But we forget to ask the origin question. They story Rob told gave me a physical reaction. We created Love146. Love protects, defends, restores, empowers. Learn more about the story at

1:45 — Robbin: We also work for really boring brands, too, like Fiskars scissors. We talked about what they did with the scissors, not about the features of the scissors. Check out more about their Fiskars Fiskateers fan group.


Q:  What is your favorite exercise you do with your teams?

A: Robbin: We like to ask: Why did we start this?  How did we get in this room?  Get different people in a room and talk about why we’re all here. We ask, “What is our passion conversation?”

Q: If 90% of conversation happens offline.  Why do you think that number is still so high with the rise of social media and what role do you see social media playing?

A: Robbin: It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that most of the conversations happen online.  But most happen around the dinner table or during a conversation.

Q:  How did you get people inspired to create videos for Love146?

A: Robbin: Her story was so powerful, people wanted to re-tell it in their own story.

Robbin shares one final thought: I hear the terms like, “use our people” and “leverage our fans.” We don’t “use people,” we lift them up, empower them and celebrate them. If you want to spark conversation, you have to love people. You can become famous for the people who will love you for the way you love them.

December 10, 2013 0 comments

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