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Delivering Happiness – the book and the movement

In case you missed it (maybe you’ve had your TweetDeck turned off or you don’t surf the Amazon best sellers list), Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness came out today.

Amazon Bestsellers June 7, 2010

Disclosure: I’ve long been a fan of Zappos. I have hard-to-fit feet, and I very much appreciate the selection and the easy returns they offer. I’ve also long admired their openness and their zest for fun. I was one of the bloggers who received free advance copies of Delivering Happiness. I wrote my (positive) review of the book on my personal blog.

What I wanted to discuss in this space was the multifaceted, organic social media hoopla surrounding the book launch.

One of Zappos core values is to Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication. And, this book launch is an illustration of that approach. And, it is a huge signal of the amount of trust Zappos has in its book and its brand to release many books to many bloggers and request honest feedback from across the blogosphere.

Aspects of the campaign

Inviting honest reviews

Ahead of the book launch, the website offered free advance copies to bloggers and provided us clear instructions for an honest review and where to link on the book’s website and Amazon. The Delivering Happiness Book website reader reviews page tallies reviews (though at the time of this writing the last update to that page was June 2, before the requested date to publish blog reviews). Perhaps more telling is that Yahoo Site Explorer sees 6,209 inlinks to the Delivering Happiness Book website as of today at 1:42. Click this link to see Yahoo Site Explorer has found more.

Inlinks to Delivering Happiness

Strong Schedule Planning

  1. Reviewers got clear instructions on when to publish their posts – we could have posted anytime, but were encouraged to post this week, today if possible, around the launch.
  2. They’ve had happy hours each Friday leading up to the launch.
  3. They’ve encouraged Meetup groups to form around the book launch week.
  4. And they’re livestreaming the launch party from New York City.

Clear Calls to Action

  1. Get connected – become a fan on facebook, follow them on twitter
  2. Start a movement – take the pledge to act in ways to increase others’ happiness, instigate/attend a meetup to discuss the book (see above)
  3. See encouraged links from reviews “inviting links”.

Now, these links are on the Delivering happiness book website. Why I believe it is valuable to reproduce them here is to illustrate how comprehensive the list is of ways to engage. Their strategy is open: it’s completely visibile and they’ve released their idea out to a larger community, to largely positive results.

Their strategy is also canny, because here on day one of the launch, they’ve had many reviews in blogs, on goodreads, and on Amazon itself, they’ve garnered many many mentions, building excitement. And, they’re doing it with clear calls to action. And, given the sales they’re seeing (#1 on Amazon.com), I would anticipate their advance planning is paying off in selling books and spreading their message.

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