Crowdfunding can be hard. It’s even harder when you’re trying to launch something new. How do you make a video, show off a product, or create buzz around your campaign – when the thing you’re making isn’t yet in existence?
How to Build Your Product’s Brand (When Your Product Doesn’t Exist Yet)
It’s a bit of a catch-22: you need funding to create your product, but you need the product to generate excitement about it (and excitement = funding).
Whether your product is digital – like software or an app – or a physical item, there are ways around this problem. Here are a few tips for building a brand around a to-be-created product.
1. Digital product? Use mobile and computer mockups
For digital products, a realistic mockup can help to make your concept more relatable. Here’s an example from a Pozible campaign: Goodments, a project that allows users to invest in ethical businesses that align with their values. Created by a husband and wife team, this app overlays independent sustainability ratings on financial data. To showcase their concept, the creators used mockups of what their app could look like:
If you have an app concept in mind, all you need is PhotoShop and an idea of what it could look like. Creating a mockup of your design makes it more tangible for potential backers of your project – it helps them imagine what your app will look like in real life.
2. Nail your product packaging
True North – The Flavour Trail was a campaign to create a subscription spirits kit service for premium and craft spirits. Their Pozible pitch promises “beautifully packaged” products that will combine “physical and virtual experiences”. With a passion for adventure, chemistry, and whiskey, the True North team created a compelling story that led to a successful crowdfunding campaign.
For physical products, a unique packaging design can take your product from generic to memorable. Choose your brand’s colors, logo, and look – then bring it to life through images (and maybe more mockups).
3. Branding is all about the details
Creating a product mockup with the logo of your soon-to-be-funded product is an obvious first step. But what’s the next step?
Creating a consistent experience is essential for your crowdfunding strategy. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a Facebook page, Twitter account, or Instagram profile for your audience to follow along on your progress. (Pick the best one, and do it well – you probably don’t need to be on every social media platform!)
- Link your own personal social media accounts, or make sure to tell your personal story in the campaign. As the saying goes, the investor’s rule is to “invest in people, not companies”.
- Have perks for your campaign backers? Make them personalized (it doesn’t have to be fancy). Maybe this means DIY-ing some stationery for your thank you cards, or creating custom social media shoutouts.
4. You need a video
Did you know that campaigns with videos have a higher rate of success than those without? Creating a video doesn’t require expensive video equipment or a big budget. Here’s an example of a video from My Money Zen:
My Money Zen is a campaign for an online course for “smart people who are smashing it at work (and in life!), but they come home and feel crap about themselves because they don’t feel like they are good with money.” They had a challenge to solve: without a real online course to demonstrate to potential backers, it was difficult for them to show what they were trying to achieve. An explainer video is a great way to solve this problem.
A short video (the recommended length is under 3 minutes) is an impactful way to tell your story. This is especially true for campaigns that have non-existent products. Sometimes, most compelling way to tell a story is also the simplest; some of the best video campaigns are direct-to-camera stories. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these tips for creating a compelling crowdfunding video.
5. Be playful with your brand’s design
Here’s an example we love – Lindsay, a campaign for an online international publication that wants to create a physical print magazine. A magazine mockup would have been a successful way to showcase this idea, but the creators of Lindsay take it a step further. First, there’s the cover image, which asks a question to immediately draw potential investors in:
They’ve also created an animated GIF to further show off the (hypothetical) magazine.
This campaign also has a video, unique giveaways for backers, and a network of people built-in as collaborators for the first magazine issue. In short, it’s a campaign that goes above and beyond to build a brand around a to-be-created product.