ROTAUF can crowdfund! The sustainable Swiss outdoor clothing brand raised during a COVID-Crowdfunding over 530k CHF via the crowdfunding portal Crowdify – hard to believe but true! One may ask: how? A motivating multi-channel communication, compelling content and radical outreach are key-factors.
Let’s start with a little introduction to the world of crowdfunding. In crowdfunding, a company or private individual seeks financial support from the general public for a specific project. On platforms such as Crowdify, wemakeit or kickstarters, the projects are published and the financial grants – so-called boosts – are processed through them. It’s all or nothing! In other words, the project chooses a target amount and if this is not reached by the end of the predefined term, all other boosts expire.
ROTAUF is an innovative Swiss outdoor clothing brand that radically relies on Swiss materials, production and technology. During the COVID pandemic, they wanted their crowdfunding to support the Swiss textile industry, which even before the pandemic suffered from the strong pressure of foreign competition.
Why are digital platforms needed?
The platforms do not only serve as a tool to present the projects in a pre-structured format. The effort to launch a dedicated digital crowdfunding tool for a project would be impossible, especially for smaller projects. In addition, the platforms act as a proof of legitimacy and communication opportunity for the project. Thus, a certain credibility is conveyed to the boosters. This helps to convince people for a financial boost. In return, the platforms receive a certain percentage of the funded money when the goal is reached. They are thus also interested in the projects being funded.
Crowdfunding as a market test
ROTAUF was already able to realize projects in an earlier corwdfunding. At that time, the brand was still young and used crowdfunding as a market test. How do people react? Is there a demand? Are we supported? Crowd engagement on social media and the number of boosts can be seen as indicators and show whether potential customers have a need for the project as an innovation in the first place. hrough the possibility of exchange via the platform and the own social media, needs and ideas of the customers can be obtained. The innovative strength and market acceptance of the company can be promoted through crowdfunding.
Multichannel communication as a must
ROTAUF shows that regular and motivating communication is unavoidable during the project. The possibility to send news to existing boosters on the platform encourages them to share the project with their environment. This also shows boosters that their commitment is valued and that they are part of the success.
On their own blog, ROTAUF has clearly presented the concept and the way crowdfunding works. This is important in that boosters know that their work is not done with a financial boost, but that the mobilization of their environment is crucial. Thanks to a step-by-step guide, the concept and procedure are presented in a comprehensible way. This reduces the hurdle to participate.
ROTAUF also mobilized the community on Instagram. Regular posts reported on the current status of the crowdfunding and showed personal stories of textile companies supported by crowdfunding. Giving the community the feeling that they are supporting something meaningful with their boost can have a mobilizing effect. The intrinsic motivation of the community to do something good is activated. The community’s commitment was valued through story reposts and showed the community that they are central to the success.
In order to reach the so-called third circle – the general population and the press – media relations must be established in advance. The awareness that an innovative project will soon be launched must be reached by the media. ROTAUF was able to present itself in media such as the TagesAnzeiger, the SRF and many smaller media. This promotes the visibility and reach of the project.
It’s GOODIE time
People’s motivation to participate in a crowdfunding project can be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Intrinsic means that the boosters find satisfaction in the act of supporting and feel they are supporting something meaningful. In addition, the feeling of « being a part of the community » can be an intrinsic motivation. However, we humans also respond to extrinsic factors. These include monetary or material incentives, for example.
Crowdfunding offers opportunities for both motivations.
On the one hand, there is the possibility of simply donating a sum of money as a booster. Or a booster can choose a reward for her boost in the Goodiestore on the platform. It is crucial that the goodies have a certain exclusivity and an advantage for the booster. ROTAUF, for example, launched exclusive crowdfunding shirts that you could only get if you ordered the shirt via a Boost. People psychologically react to scarcity with increased engagement and the boost becomes more likely.
Let’s summarize: ROTAUF was convincing. With their appealing and personal communication on the Crowdify platform, the sensible idea and their presence in the media, they were able to mobilize the community for the project. It shows that not only small contributions can be raised via crowdfunding, but that it requires a strategically planning of the campaign and a high level of resources over the entire duration of the project, to get de boosters and community engaged.
Asdourian, Bruno. « Crowdfunding & Communication» (class lecture, séance 6, Communication, Organisation et Transformation Digitale II, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, May, 2022).