Searching for One Percenters?

As I set out to finally compile and write a book or two on the topic of salmon and on the Wild Salmon Cycle (the 10,000 km bicycle trip I completed in 2003 through the North American range of Pacific Salmon) – and before launching this blog – I took a pretty good look around online to see what was being said about “salmon”.

I was pretty damn surprised to find… not much.

Sure, there are the usual advocacy and research-oriented websites – and interesting organizations like The Wild Salmon Center. Check them out they do some neat stuff around the entire Pacific Rim and world of Pacific salmon.

Search salmon recipes and you will find no shortage of results, or salmon fishing… look out.

Over the three years that I peddled away completing the Wild Salmon Cycle – and in the years of contract work before that; I had heard about, heard from, and met a rather impressive array of people involved in salmon-related conservation, stewardship, and/ stream cleaning projects. I met people active for years on salmon-related projects in the Sacramento River in California, the Eel River towards northern California, I saw signs for projects near Olympia, Washington, I worked on salmon stewardship projects in the Yukon on the Yukon River, I met people involved in projects in Alaska, and as I mentioned in a posting yesterday there is a veritable Gumboot Army charging around the streams of BC – some suggest over 200,000 strong.

So then why can’t I find so much more in this age of social media and social marketing?

I’m not sure why and I am set on finding out.

In earlier postings I have mentioned Seth Godin a few times – social marketing guru. I’ve also mentioned he’s a pretty neat guy, and also has one of the most popular blogs going. This month he released another free ebook called “What Matters Now“. It’s a collection of thoughts from a wide range of folks. It’s a good read, with links to all the writer’s blogs, books, and websites featured in the book (haven’t waded through all that yet).

One of the pages in the books is called “1%”.

The story is about a couple of folks who created a product called “Bacon Salt”. Sounds rather obscure and odd, however it’s bacon-flavored salt. The two folks who created it had no food experience and no marketing budget. So what do they do?

They go online and through social marketing they find bacon enthusiasts; strike up a conversation, and eventually through a small percentage of the people contacted word starts to spread. A few months later the buzz is increasing. All of a sudden articles, TV appearances and the coup de grace: Oprah. They launch a bunch of other bacon flavored products and a successful brand is created.

The key to the success is that it didn’t begin with a social network of millions of members, and even if it did those millions wouldn’t be the buzz-spreaders –  it was a tiny percentage of the enthusiasts that started the buzz.

Approximately 1% – these are the One Percenters.

The authors of this little piece suggest that the One Percenters:

are often hidden in the crevices of niches, yet they are the roots of word of mouth…. This year your job is to find them and attract them.

So in this Pacific Rim niche – I am searching for the one percenters of salmon enthusiasts…. I would like to feature stories, tell stories, read stories, and maybe even generate some buzz along the way.

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