How Public Relations can make a crowdfunding campaign succeed.
When crowdfunding for financing the development of innovative products it is often used to achieve two things: First, it helps a company reach that critical phase of development, often the phase that seismically shifts the innovation from an “idea” to a final product; Second, crowdfunding is used to assess the market potential of the product. The logic is: if many people invest in it, they must want to buy it! Foodsniffer focused on directing its crowdfunding campaign to reach a final prototype stage, and managed assess the market potential of its product.
A crowdfunding campaign with global ambitions
Foodsniffer is a product developed in Lithuania to create a portable and reliable device facilitating the inspection of food safety. Foodsniffer is fitted with gas, temperature and humidity sensors that take a sample of the air around the food, scan it and send to a phone or tablet app via Bluetooth a indication of whether the food, mostly animal products in this case, is safe to eat or it is better to throw it away. It is an easy to use device that can be used by the general public and also by specific sectors.
Choosing a platform for world-wide reach
In 2014 a crowdfunding campaign for Foodsniffer was launched on Indiegogo and hoped to raise 50 000$. Indiegogo was chosen as the crowdfunding platform because at the time Kickstarter was closed to European projects. Thus, there was a geographically barrier to the choice of platforms available.
At the time of the launch the product was developed but it did not yet have a user-friendly design. A rewards campaign, one where supporters/investors are given a reward-often the first access to the product or a prototype, was chosen in this case as it allowed backers to get a prototype and give feedback, which helped the development of the final product. This helped Foodsniffer get the assurance that when launching their final product, it was tested and developed by a wide-audience.
The difference good PR can or cannot make
Foodsniffer employed the services of a successful PR house to help boost the popularity of the campaign and ensure success. However, during the first three weeks this proved challenging-funds raised were close to zero, and they were nearing the end of their campaign. A decision was made to change the PR agency and during the last week the campaign surpassed its goal raising 77 500$.
The differences between the PR agencies were their focus and specialisation. The original agency was a successful and a well-known company but with limited experience in supporting crowdfunding campaigns. The second agency had successful experience in representing crowdfunders and spread the word widely across numerous media channels, which helped the campaign overshoot its goal just in time.
Lessons to take home
Foodsniffer’s two barriers were finding a platform that was accessible to European companies and which allowed them to reach a wider audience as most backers from the US, UK and Germany. At the end of their campaign they received 700 supporters. Secondly choosing a public relations agency that knew which channels were effective to promote a crowdfunding campaign and get the investors they need was essential in the success of the Foodsniffer campaign.
Interested in reading more on this campaign: http://bit.ly/CasestudyCF
In the meantime, if you are looking for a crowdfunding platform to use to raise money for your project, take a look at our unique list of all EU platforms: http://crowdfunding4innovation.eu/platforms
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Study coordinator: Kasia Jakimowicz, firstname.lastname@example.org