Friday, November 17, 2017

Bose, Indiegogo & the noise-masking sleepbuds

Do you buy stuff off Indiegogo, Kickstarter or any other of the crowdfunding sites out there? Or have you ever tried raising funds that way either successfully or unsuccessfully? I've only dabbled as a buyer a couple of times for things that friends have been raising money for. I've looked plenty of times but I've never been sufficiently tempted to part with my cash.

I'm not a huge buyer of stuff these days but I do like to see campaigns like this one from Brita Hirsch and her mission to produce British bred and woven top quality merino wool fabric. It seems to me that that was what these sites were built for: small companies, often start-ups, raising cash via buyers interested in their products. It's a useful way to find new customers and raise finance at the same time. Plus you can test market sentiment and get some initial feedback. In fact, I'd say it was an elegant solution for the likes of Brita.

I do feel a bit uneasy when I see the likes of Bose Corporation crowdfunding their latest new product on Indiegogo - a pair of noise-masking sleep buds. I see Bose as a very well-established brand and corporation with decades of experience in designing, producing and distributing new products. I would even go as far as to say they're one of the best audio brands out there, so why on earth are they on Indiegogo?

I get the commercial rationale... friends have reminded me that it's a good way to test the market and to make sure they're on to a winner before going into production. The customer feedback they get is invaluable to improve the product before finalising it. And it derisks all of that.

I'm still uncomfortable with it. Maybe it's an Indiegogo problem in accepting such a large company on to the platform. They know their commission is going to be great when a company like Bose gets on board and they need to make money. At the time of writing, they've raised $445,951 which is almost 900% over their initial goal. And that commission will help subsidise the products that fall by the wayside and the start-ups, that just don't make the grade. Nevertheless, I can't help feeling they're hijacking something that was meant to support and promote a completely different type of company. If you have big bucks to begin with, you can invest much more to promote your Indiegogo campaign. You can use it to generate new consumer interest in a way that advertising alone would struggle with. Arguably, it's great marketing that with the best will in the world a small company cannot compete with.

But is Bose's success at the expense of the underdog? And if so, does that matter?

I'm interested to know your thoughts.

Day 17/30 NaBloPoMo

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