The crowdfunding industry has been shaking things up pretty consistently since the first platforms launched almost a decade ago. We have seen high profile companies like Oculus established thanks to crowdfunding, and there have been huge funding records broken and even crowdfunded babies. There’s not much more that crowdfunding can throw at us that will result in shock and awe from the world’s media.
There is a sense of apathy rising amongst media when it comes to crowdfunding, which is really unfortunate. The media are weighing on the negative for a story on the industry, take the recent furore over the Zano drone Kickstarter campaign with high profile tweeters including the likes of Rory Cellan-Jones giving opinion on ‘Europe’s biggest crowdfunding failure’. There was also backlash from the community against the Camden Town Brewery who raised nearly £3 million on Crowdcube. The craft brewers went on to sell in a reported £85 million deal to global giant AB InBev, who also own Budweiser. Craft brewery fans retorted their disappointment via social channels, most viewed the deal as a complete sell-out.
This bombardment of bad news obviously doesn’t bode well for the public perception of crowdfunding, and can be really damaging for existing relationships built over years with some of the top influencers. With the attention on the crowdfunding industry generally negative, what can be done to turn things around?
The ethos of the platform is really important. There are many new crowdfunding platforms appearing today that put their values at the heart of what they do, they are reacting to the sentiment of customers and influencers. Take Crowd Supply; popular with designers and engineers who want to release products to market, the platform takes pride in its 100% success rate for delivery. The team behind Crowd Supply have backgrounds in relevant disciplines, like product design, to help their campaigns succeed. Without a prototype and a plan for manufacturing in process, you won’t be able to use the platform.
The same can be said of equity platform InvestDen. A couple of weeks ago I attended a fireside chat with CEO Matt Novak at KPMG’s co-working space Interchange London. Matt explained that his team are made up of investment banking specialists who really know their stuff, and can advise the businesses using the platform accordingly on the nuts and bolts of giving away equity. Matt and his team have also brought in valuable relationships with start-up VCs and private investors, and established partnerships to help businesses succeed once their campaigns are over with the likes of KPMG.
Gone are the days of relying on quirky campaigns to draw headlines, campaigns aren’t providing the unique story that journalists are looking for anymore, and they can just as easily invite negative stories. It’s time to tell the story of the platform better, involving an earned, owned, paid and shared PR strategy, that sets one platform apart from the rest.
Top PR tips for crowdfunders:
- New crowdfunding campaigns launch all the time, it’s not news, think about what the real story is behind the project
- Choosing the right platform is fundamental to the success of a campaign, sentiment is skewed according to each platform
- Think about what can you offer a journalist that is completely unique – an experience or an exclusive interview, for instance
- Do your research, put together a magic circle of influencers and make the effort to get to know them – on and offline – before your campaign launches
- Think beyond the campaign – once you’ve raised funds, journalists will immediately ask about fulfilment and you MUST have an answer for them.
Want to talk more about crowdfunding? Get in touch @hotwirepr.