How Established Companies Are Using the Popular Crowdfunding Site to Launch, Promote and Even Sell Creative Innovations
If you thought of Kickstarter as just the crowdfunding site where garage inventors and hopeful startups try and get their new smart device or solar powered weed-whacker off the ground, think again. The site has morphed into a uniquely effective launch pad for many already thriving companies as well, providing a platform for debuting and test-driving sales of innovative new products – and helping establish a stronger brand presence among key influencers.
Kickstarter’s policy of not allowing crowdsourcing of products with existing funding doesn’t apply to businesses looking to launch especially creative innovations and ideas. So, many brands are using the site to find out whether or not a new product has what it takes, and build buzz for their latest offerings with attractive photos and promotional copy, even videos. These companies also often provide consumers who contribute with free or heavily discounted deals on the products. This scenario can be a win-win for manufacturers and consumers, and it works especially well when the new product has a brilliant or truly game-changing innovation.
One example is ZVOX, a company that pioneered the original sound bar home theater concept. Last August they chose Kickstarter to introduce their new ZVOX AccuVoice TV Speaker with Smart Hearing Aid Technology. It’s a unique TV speaker with built-in hearing aid technology that provides superb dialogue clarity – an ideal solution for the millions of people these days who suffer partial hearing loss and simply can’t hear the dialogue well enough on existing TV speakers. For its Kickstarter campaign, ZVOX offered contributors of $10 or more a special ZVOX canvas tote bag; for those who proffered upwards of $135, the company offered a savings of $115 off the $249.99 retail price of a new AccuVoice AV200 TV Speaker. ZVOX used that money to market this unique speaker to the right audience and it has proven to be hugely successful. Since the product launched last Fall the company has had to triple production to meet the demand.
Just this month, another forward-thinking company, British accessories maker KNOMO, used Kickstarter to drive interest in the debut of its #LiveFree Backpack. In designing the ultimate backpack KNOMO developed a patent-pending in-bag wireless charging system for the #LiveFree Backpack and partnered with location tracker, Chipolo to solve some of the biggest pain points for frequent travelers and “digital nomads” who work wherever they travel. The bag, which will sell for £162, could be backed on Kickstarter, where a £10 contribution would get you the same amount to spend at KNOMO.COM, plus a special thank you on the KNOMO blog and an opportunity to be kept up to date on all the latest KNOMO news. A pledge of £189 or more would get early bird supporters a #LiveFree Backpack plus a Chipolo Bluetooth tracker, 30% off RRP (£270 / $294). This campaign was fully funded within 10 days and introduced the brand to thousands of new customers.
Another great benefit for successful companies using Kickstarter is the site’s audience itself, gadget-friendly, predominantly younger consumers who are key influencers and great early adopter influencers. And once they invest in your company, there’s a good chance many of these supporters will become loyal customers for any future endeavors.