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Money and Business

Kickstarters - They're Not Just for Startups Any More



If I told you that an established company with a global reputation has decided to launch a new product with a Kickstarter, would you believe me?

"Why would a big company do that," you might wonder, "aren't Kickstarters just for start-ups?" If you're familiar with Kickstarter campaigns, you probably know of them mainly as ways to fund new ventures with what they think are innovative ideas. It's usually a new product, though it could be a game, a book, or even an album or a film - something that might not otherwise see the light of day.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset started out with a Kickstarter. It made more than $2.4 million compared to an original goal of $250,000; and the Exploding Kittens card game started as a Kickstarter, too, amassing more than $8.8 million compared to its original $10,000 goal.

Someone even once successfully kickstarted a bowl of Potato salad (I kid you not. It started out as an internet joke then went viral!) to the tune of more than $55,000, which translated into one heck of a potato salad party.

While I'm not suggesting running a Kickstarter to fund your next Sunday morning omelet, or that you're a shoo-in to make millions on your Kickstarter, the point is that Kickstarters are a proven way to jumpstart a project, big or small.

Why a Kickstarter?

Just as the way consumers buy and use products these days are evolving (look no further than the digital music and film industries for examples), so too is the way products are marketed. A Kickstarter is a fun and exciting way to engage customers, loyal fans, and customers-to-be online from around the globe in the process of generating positive buzz about a product and building a thriving virtual community around it - not to mention becoming a source of backing to jumpstart production.

More than Just a Great Idea

"Potato salad" aside, virtually all successful Kickstarters begin with a great idea. But the idea alone is not enough. You have to convince backers and supporters that you have what it takes to turn that idea, once funded, into a reality. If they're not convinced, they won't back you with funding and they won't share your message with others - and a Kickstarter that doesn't reach its goal makes no money. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

You need to demonstrate that the idea is sound, that you genuinely intend to produce said product or idea, and that you have the infrastructure, supply line, and production capability (assuming full Kickstarter funding) to make it happen.

How you demonstrate your credibility of course depends on the product/idea you're promoting. Creative types will want to offer a glimpse or a listen to the intended finished product or to a past example of something you've produced successfully. New product developers can point to past successes as well as relationships they might have with known influencers in a particular industry - other heavy hitters who are vocal about their support for your project.

Key Kickstarter Assets

Orchestrating a successful Kickstarter takes more than just setting up a Kickstarter page with a few words and a picture of your product prototype and then telling some friends about it. Sure, you could do that . . . but we're talking about being successful, right? Remember, you need to establish your credibility with potential Kickstarter supporters. One way to do that is with a kick-ass Kickstarter page.

At a minimum, successful Kickstarters all tend to feature:
  • Consistent messaging across all platforms (Kickstarter page, websites, blogs, social media, PR, newsletters, emails, etc.)
  • New product videos/demonstrations
  • Supporting graphics to support the Kickstarter that are consistent with the company's brand
  • Developing communications channels and partnerships with key influencers and others likely to spread your message and convince others to back your project by email, blogging, and social media
  • Someone to coordinate all aspects of the Kickstarter, from marketing and communications and the creation of digital assets, to working with product development, suppliers, and industry influencers
  • Brand leadership that recognizes the value a successful Kickstarter can bring beyond reaching the funding goal, in terms of brand development, promotion, and creating positive buzz

Jumpstart with a Kickstart

Are you new to the scene, or are you an established artist or creative type? Don't discount the effectiveness of running a Kickstarter to jumpstart your idea or product. Many others have tried and succeeded - so why not you?

So who is the established, global company I mentioned in the opening? They are Mobile Edge. For 15 years and counting, they've been an industry leader in innovative and stylish cases and accessories for mobile gaming and computing.

Their Kickstarter campaign supports production of the CORE Gaming Backpack, the first in Mobile Edge's new lineup of gaming products.

CORE Gaming Backpack

The CORE Gaming Backpack was designed, prototyped and tested by gamers for gamers to provide easy access, storage, and protection for an ever-expanding universe of gaming equipment including laptop models, controllers, video games, accessories, and much more.

CORE Gaming Backpack

If you're interested in seeing how all the elements of a successful Kickstarter can come together, mosey on over to Mobile Edge's Kickstarter page and check it out . . . and you might even catch a glimpse of yours truly in the product video.

- Paul June, King of the Jungle... out there. www.BarreloMonkeyz.com


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