Kickstarter Strategy • Content strategy • Website copy • Email marketing & social media strategy • A/B testing

Vi

Building an AI fitness product the world had never seen on Kickstarter.

Background

Our client LIFEBEAM came to us when they wanted to take a life-saving health biosensor they’d created and put it on Kickstarter. They knew they wanted to turn it into a wearable, but they weren’t sure what kind, and what it’d focus on. 

We helped them create and Kickstart a category-changing AI personal trainer that lives in a biosensing earbud. Think the movie Her, but for fitness.

Solution

We helped the client shape ideas and strategies with insights we gathered through researching Kickstarter, the wearables industry, and qualitative audience interviews. Then, we helped them tell their story with content strategy and execution.

After rallying an entire community of enthusiastic backers, the product called Vi blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal and won an internal Kickstarter award for best campaign communication in 2016.

This is the story of our award-winning content. 

Kickstarter Challenges

Kickstarter communication is more challenging than a normal blog, considering it’s all about social dynamics and persuasion… on a deadline. How do you convince someone that out of all the products on Kickstarter, this is the one to back, now?

By showing credibility, experience, design chops, and most importantly—by building a cult following. Things on Kickstarter often go wrong, and you need to be sure your backers, well, have your back.

The Audience

We researched Kickstarter audiences, and conducted qualitative audience interviews. Many on the platform are self-proclaimed “nerds” who are into technology, but aren’t necessarily makers themselves.

So the strategy became to give them a glimpse into the design and manufacturing process. That way, people not only enjoy being on this wild production ride with you, but they feel like they’re getting new knowledge in the process. 

Anywhere we could usefully inject education, we did— and people responded.

The Content Strategy

To make the content valuable, we showcased the talented team putting the device together, theories behind AI, physiology, experience design, and industrial design, and showed them how to manufacture a product from start to finish; each topic fascinating on its own, but when woven together, made for compelling storytelling.

I did interviews with experts, asked the burning questions, creative directed supporting visuals, and put together these posts that ended up winning an internal Kickstarter award for best campaign communication in 2016.

Getting Ahead of Problems

Why is anticipating PR nightmares so important on Kickstarter? Because in pre-production products, things go wrong all the time which delay the ‘in-my-hands-by’ date. To make sure your backers don’t complain about buying your product —and to avoid having a PR nightmare on your hands before it even launches— you have to get ahead of the problems.

So, we treated backers like family, like they’re part of our team. This meant transparency around every turn.

1) If you give them a glimpse into your process, they’ll see how challenging it is to produce a product start-to-finish, and they’ll be a little bit nicer about bumps in the road.

2) When you’re honest with issues up-front, people are always more forgiving about them.

This wasn’t a regular blog… it was strategic persuasion while anticipating future PR snafus.

The community support was so strong, that even if some people complained, backers would actually speak up and stand up for us.

Results

We exceeded our $100K goal to raise $1.8 million, becoming Kickstarter’s most-funded fitness wearable at the time.

At Kickstarter’s end of year campaign round-up, they awarded Vi as the campaign with the best communication of all campaigns in 2016.

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