Much like a sports car, crowdfunding would give us the right amount of pick-up to go from concept to proto-market in 90 days. And along the way give us valuable learning and real-time insights. It offers the opportunity to leverage a vast audience of early adopters, entrepreneurs and makers, who are keen to get their hands on first-to-the-world products and are far more forgiving with tardy timelines. While there may be no guarantee of wider consumer success, crowdfunding can quickly indicate whether there is sufficient consumer interest to launch a product – and with what features.
Nova is a smart athletic jacket that lights up on demand and has all the essential features desired by runners and cyclists. The jacket, integrated with LED strips, stays lit for up to 8 hours and is powered by a tiny half-ounce battery. Apart from providing safety in low-light conditions, Nova featured an athletic-cut design and stretch-fabric for comfort to enable a full range of motion for any outdoor activity.
Nova is the first endeavor by Twinery Innovations to test market a big idea on a small scale through crowdfunding. We chose Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform where numerous cutting-edge innovation start-ups have tested their ideas. Nova launched its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo on December 4, 2017. And this is how we did it.
The most important element was the video – it needed to captivate as well as educate the viewer. In true start-up style, we worked on a bootstring budget and ensured we stretched our buck by ensuring the shoot gave us at least a couple of different edits and audio-visual collateral that we could even use on social media. We had a 20 seconder to add to the pre-launch buzz without giving too much information away, a 30 seconder for only the product features and another 30 seconder for the story behind Nova.
Before we launched on Indiegogo we needed to get some buzz going. We wanted people to be talking about Nova as an innovation even before it hit the figurative ‘stands’. We worked on running digital ads via facebook and google, and got people to sign-up to get news about our campaign, and this in turn also helped us generate leads. The sooner you start this, the better. Having a warm leads list prior to the launch date of the campaign is like having a ready audience already interested in your product.
We took press really seriously because we understood how important it would be to build credibility for our campaign. There are two parts to getting good press. First, which is no secret, you need to have an amazing product. If you don’t have a cool product, no one will write about you. Second, you must have a good reach-out campaign.
During the first week of the campaign, we had a lot of press interest including the likes of Digital Trends and Shape. Building a press network way before launch (at least a month before) helps to build momentum when your campaign is in full flow. Our focus after campaign launch was on getting as many unbiased product reviews as we could. We got some great reviews from Gear Diary, etc which drove even more traffic to the campaign page.
Another crucial part of our campaign was working with influencers on various social media platforms to advocate for the product. These influencers experienced the jackets while on their runs and shared their reviews with their social media followers. This helped create audience engagement and add authenticity to the campaign. A lot of these social media influencers also turned out to be influencers in their communities – like coaches or running team captains – giving us further visibility.
Like every good tale, we had a happy finish when our campaign met its crowdfunding goal of $50000. Apart from which we also generated a lot of awareness for the product and its technology.
Next up? The first set of Nova jackets is on track to ship to our early backers, following which the team will make upgrades to both product and marketing based on the respective customer feedback. Continuing our journey with Nova.
– by Esha Jaggi