Using your passionate consumers isn’t new, but Apple does it in such a smart ‘just-enough’ way that enables communities to form and essentially this is a kind of extended organisation that it has given birth to. What are the hidden passions of your consumers that might just need a light touch to enable and create a whole movement of extended support and viral marketing for your product?

In college, I was an Apple Campus Rep. I loved it. They sent me a MacBook, iPod, cool t-shirts and all the latest gear. I had the freedom to throw events, host food drives, teach tech semiars, do 1-on-1 tranings and anything that added value, got the word out and drove sales. Rules were minimal and I could pretty much go and do as I wanted. Brilliant, I think.” .

To make this program thrive, Apple hosted a private online community to connect Reps around the country.

“We used it to collaborate, share ideas and learn about cool things other Reps were doing. As a result, we sold more stuff and did our jobs better. When we did our jobs better, we won free stuff. Free stuff like digital cameras, iPods, printers and other cool tech stuff that I didn’t necessarily need but were high-value enough that I could sell on eBay for cash. Awesome. We also used the community to connect with the Campus Marketing team in Palo Alto and to learn about new marketing programs and product rollouts. Brilliant times two.”

Who are your most passionate lead users? What communities do they belong to? How could you be leveraging their latent desire to engage?