The last two days were my official on-boarding at the non-profit I can still not name, where I’m leading a Crowdfunding Project.
Crowdsourcing has always been a space of massive interest, simply because leveraging the common intellect of the masses seems like such a sensible idea for addressing ongoing brand/organization challenges.
Not only does it provide you with a wide variety of solutions, but also for that very brief moment of time, make a very deep, meditative connect with the most invested audience.
Knowing how intuitive this is, I’m surprised brands are still run the traditional way, with their reins in the hands of a chosen few. Even though we all know that they often struggle to put themselves in the shoes of their consumers.
In my last organisation one of the key categories used to be dairy, whose obvious target consumer was the ‘mother’. Interestingly, not a single person in that team was a mom, or even a woman. Or even slightly effeminate! And one can only imagine how consumer discussions unfolded in a meeting room flooded with testosterone.
“She loves to feed her kid. No, wait, she lives to feed her kid!”
“She is tough and tender and wants to make sure her kid doesn’t stray”
“The biggest ingredient in her dish? Is Love”
While these men suddenly pictured their own mom as their consumer and felt emotionally drained as they left the meeting room, frankly, the consumer didn’t feel a thing.
Now the same brand strategy developed by infusing meaty inputs from the consumer, would potentially change the dialogue. (Caveat – guided discussion, in the right atmosphere, else all you’re going to be looking at is a bunch of women exchanging crib tales)
And thats when crowdsourcing works best as well. When you huddle together invested stakeholders / partners and create an environment of common empathy, you allow for clever, creative approaches to problem-solving.
Crowdfunding goes a step further and intends to ask for a share of wallet from these invested stakeholders. Not always the same as sharing posts, likes, comments or even ice-bucket challenges, all of which are free, even if engaging.
Like an IPO which is linked with the promise of a return, mostly tangible, crowd funding in anchored on giving people a share in the cause (business or otherwise). And hence working on such a project with a non-profit will be a very interesting challenge. It will allow people to truly participate in impacting lives of others, as opposed to just talking about it. And of course, help them see the change they are single-handedly bringing about.
This is already turning out to be a huge learning experience for me. Can’t wait to see how this will all unfold.