How to build a community for your hardware startups

11th July 2018
Posted By : Anna Flockett
How to build a community for your hardware startups

The Central Research Laboratory (CRL) teamed up with Kickstarter and brought us an evening about ‘Building Community for Hardware products’. We began by hearing from Heather Corcoran, head of European design and technology outreach at Kickstarter, who explained that Kickstarter over the years hasn’t changed but the landscape around it has. She said: “There are thousands of Kickstarter projects out there, and it is such a joy to be involved with them.”

Jackson Wightman from PR agency Proper Propaganda, explained how with hardware products it is all about targeting and timing. “When you go into Kickstarter, you need to know to target media that is relevant for the product but also for Kickstarter.”

Other speaker included Magalie Belmo, head of marketing at Primo Toys, Mat Hunter from CRL and finally Gil Shterzer from Jellop who strongly expressed the importance of advertising.

Shterzer said: “Adverts need to be planned correctly to work and the best way to do that is through telling a story.”

He went on to explain you need to convince people to pay now and receive your product later, so for this you need a good strong main video that looks professional. Shterzer added: “You only get one chance, so you need to get it right.”

Wightman agreed with this by stating: “With PR when it comes to Kickstarter and storytelling the best way to get this across is with videos and pictures. You need to talk to people, and involve multiple people such as suppliers and competitors not just your own team.

One interesting piece of advice given by Wightman was to always start with the big fish. “Big fish drive the conversation, so go straight to the big magazine, rather than the smaller blogs.” He added you shouldn’t be afraid of being knocked back. “If you can get a piece in a bigger publication, you will see the smaller repercussions of other outlets, and then try and follow it on in other languages.”

Belmo told the audience that working with the media is essential in succeeding. “Securing coverage with the media gives you some shelf life. You don’t want specific industries and people to just know about you, so once you have some coverage don’t just relax and stop there.”

The speakers all touched on being clear and precise, and more importantly confident. Belmo said: “Make sure your message and pitch is clear. Check with your friends and family to make sure everyone is receiving the right message.”

Belmo concluded the evening by sharing: “Kickstarter has been essential in building a community from the start. It’s not just about the demographic of Kickstarter, it’s ‘what is your startups demographic?’”

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