Springleap – design crowd with marketing muscle
by Herman Manson (@marklives) How do you turn a T-shirt company into a powerful marketing play? You provide access to your pool of 17 000 designers to brands needing beautiful and relevant content (through design) and utilise your social media skills and significant global crowd source loving fan base of course.
That’s just what Eran Eyal and his team at Springleap.com has been doing and so far the results have been positive.
The Springleap team has been proving their concept using the best possible case study – themselves – having grown Facebook their fan base 6000 to 193 000 in less than a year (it’s now closing in on the 200k mark). Eyal says at one stage he was testing 600 different Facebook ads to figure out best practice and what achieves the most success.
At its core sits 17 000 designers who submit designs to Springleap.com – these designs are then voted on by its community and as many friends as the designers can pull through their own networks to the site. The winners receive a cash prize and royalties from the resulting product, usually a T-shirt. Sales are handled by Springleap. Eyal looked at this talent pool and their social pull and realised it could be a powerful asset to activate design and brand fans.
The company has now emerged as a consultancy that activates design competitions through its community of designers to the ultimate benefit of the sponsoring client.
The concept is simple. You host a design competition, which is fun and engages the social communities of Springleap, the competing designers and the sponsor brand. If you want a tangible product at the end of the competition Springleap will help you push the winning designs through production and into its online store.
Designers win because every sponsored design competition allows them the chance to make some money – in fact Springleap.com has paid out over R2 million to designers over the past two years. Brands win because they have access to good quality content that is entertaining, engaging and online, and consumers like it because the resulting work is often smart and sexy.
Recent brands trying out the innovative platform includes Coca-Cola, Google, PicknPay, Heineken, Miller, Microsoft, Lexus, Vodafone, Telkom, L’Oréal, Marmite and Stimorol. Design competitions aren’t limited to T-shirts. Packaging, logos, cell phone or tablet covers and even billboards are all on the table.
Looking at a Springleap driven campaign to produce new packaging for Stimorol shows the exceptional calibre of work that, frankly, puts to the look and feel of the agency produced work to shame. Stimorol received 58 designs over the course of the 6 week competition and roughly 700 000 Facebook impressions per week over the same period.
Marmite might be iconic but I doubt many people have ever thought of it as, dare I say it, sexy and possibly hip, until you see the work produced by the Springleap design community. You can pick up the winning work on T-shirts and posters and if Marmite is smart you should see it in ads and other interesting places as well. Two and half million well deserved Facebook impressions later and over 100 000 Marmite fans voted for their favourite Marmite designs.
Hansa saw 98 designs over the course of 8 weeks and ended up ordering 50 000 tees for distribution. Then they bought four more designs and ordered another 90 000 tees.
Just a quick note to those lawyered up corporate types – fear not – submissions are reviewed to ensure design quality, tone and branding before it’s released into the public domain. You also access great demographic testing results.
This level of online and social engagement does not come cheap. Packages start at around R79 000 and if you take the complete deal with a microshop thrown in it rises to R139 000. Smaller level design contests with limited marketing via Springleap.com can however still be had for around R25 000. With a global fan and design base Eyal intends pushing into international markets.
Springleap.com operates with a staff of seven. Roughly 70% of the brand work it receives comes via ad agencies and most of the campaigns are funded via their digital or social media budgets.
It is not an ad agency, says Eyal, it is a platform that facilitates social and design experiences. It’s also a smart concept that pulls together the crowd, social media, community and design into an effective mix for the benefit of all the parties involved. Springleap is a brilliant example of what modern marketing is about. Marketers would do well to engage with and learn as much from Eyal and his team as they possibly can.
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