How to get $13m on Kickstarter

The premise

In the second half of 2014, a campaign was re-launched on Kickstarter (yes that’s right, for the second time). It was the “Coolest”, a re-design 2.0 of the traditional cooler (or esky if you’re in Australia) and it scored $13m in crowd funding.

So how did the Coolest raise $13m? Kickwhat? All your questions can be answered below (provided these are your only 2 questions).

Firstly, what’s a kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the world’s most popular Crowdsourcing website where entrepreneurs and inventors can pitch to the world their product, idea, event, well anything really, in the hopes of attracting funding ideally from regular Joe’s and Janes. We could really do this blog just on the Kickstarter brand but if you want to know the story of this start up (5 years old), check out the video they made to celebrate their 5th birthday, it’s well worth it.

They are a bit of a big deal if you haven’t noticed.


How did Coolest attract $13m and what can we learn?

In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin frames it so well when he encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to not just focus on marketing (*Gasp) but to focus on product. Amazing products turn heads and create momentum. The best thing (yes, the best) for your marketing strategy is to ensure you create a product that turns head. You’ll see your ROI (return on investment) go through the roof. This is how I believe Coolest attracted the $13m that it didn’t even ask for (They had a $50,000 goal). The product simply turns heads and that’s always a good thing. Here’s what I believe we can learn from the Coolest kickstarter campaign (pun intended).

1. The brand

The brand matches the product value. It’s fun, bright, playful and interesting and it engages me without getting in the way of telling me the story of the product. A great brand aligns with not just what you do but who you are, and the Coolest brand does this well.

2. The video

The first Kickstarter campaign that Coolest ran raised little more than $100,000 (not bad you say) but came well short of the $13m they achieved in the second round. But how? Well there’s a few tweaks that were made and one of them was to the video. The video turns head. Is it the more professional, cinematic experience you’ve ever had? No, but it doesn’t need to be. Because it shows of the product. It is literally everything I never knew I wanted in a cooler. It is a video I’d likely share but whose got the time to copy and paste links these days? A simple share screen at the end of the video made it easier to share with friends and on social media.

3. The product, of course

There’s no doubt in my mind that without an exceptional, unique, differentiated, valuable and enticing product, great marketing is much tougher. Is it impossible? No, but it certainly becomes more difficult and often more expensive to see the results you want to see. The Coolest product is actually the coolest cooler I’ve ever seen. It’s got a separator to split the dry with the wet, it’s got a phone charger, a boom box built in, a motor for a blender, LED lights for night. It’s taken a product we could never get excited about and pimped it.

There’s really no need to spell out in any great detail what this means for you in your situation but I’m sure that from the “Coolest” story, you can glean some lessons on how to create some momentum for your business and brand. Good luck.