ED COTTON: What Can We Learn From Kickstarter?

In its two years, Kickstarter has funded 10,000 projects and raised over $75 million for more than 6,000 projects. What’s behind its success?

Kickstarter just released an amazing set of data about its performance:

1. In  just two years, it’s funded 10,000 projects

2. Over 6,000 of those projects have been in the worlds of music and film/video

3. It’s raised over $75 million

4. The number of backers totals 790,000+

The brand has come from nowhere to be the “go to” place for funding for anyone who has a smart idea.

While some may dream of Silicon Valley millions for their new brilliant app company, others have more modest dreams and just want a little bit of seed money to get their idea off the ground and this is where Kickstarter helps.

The beauty of the Kickstarter brand experience is that it’s so straightforward and simple- it also doesn’t discriminate between the type of project and basically allows anyone to have a platform to easily pitch their idea. The ladder structure that encourages project seekers to give back something to backers, mirrors many membership schemes out there, but works perfectly.

Kickstarter shows us the breadth of creative talent and quality that’s out there.

I was struck recently about an amazing project to build a swimming pool in New York’s Hudson River. The guys pitching the project seemed very casual and down-t0-earth, but underneath was a methodical and well-thought through approach that included enlisting the help and support of Arup.

The Kickstarter brand has built a solid reputation in a short-period of time.

I can see only accelerated growth ahead- the possibilities are endless. One thing I like is that the company isn’t aggressively seeking to develop their business through advertising or sponsorship and by getting brands into the mix. Instead, they are growing organically with a level of purity and respect.

It’s not inconceivable to imagine that every creative student around the world would need to have a funded Kickstarter project in-order to graduate from school. It’s the perfect first taste of business realities without ever having to set foot in the branch of a bank.

Ad and communication agencies should also be all over this because we all know we are in the ideas business and are all familiar with the notion that everyone employee thinks they have brilliant ideas, perhaps we need to challenge them to prove it by getting on Kickstarter.

For brands, it’s probably best leaving Kickstarter alone, but recognizing that there are ways of encouraging and empowering the breadth of creative talent to do amazing things, by helping them pitch their ideas and gain the trust, support and passion of the crowd.

This isn’t about getting people to make ads in return for $$$, but instead getting them to contribute valid and vibrant ideas that can change our world and our experiences.

Ed Cotton is the Director of Strategy at BSSP, and is curious about all things relating to brands, marketing and culture. Read more at influx insights.

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