Our panel at diy days on methods of funding and measuring engagement offered a vast range of perspectives. Creative entrepreneur Sparrow Hall, Ogilvy@Social’s VP Ryan Aynes, G2’s Nick Braccia and myself straddled concrete advise on scoring funding, successful pitching, qualitative and quantitative data, collaborating with brands as well as designing with and for the audience. Of particular importance was the idea that these elements are inter-related and should all be considered in a project’s design process.
Ryan reminded DIYers that they are “personal brand business models” and stressed the importance of having multiple revenue streams, for example through speaking engagements, social media and brand partnerships. Sparrow agreed saying that “brands have the money to create the things you want to do” and that they should hit the pavement, find the brands that align with their story and are hungry for innovation. This call for cross-sector collaboration echoed throughout the panel and the creative entrepreneurs in attendance, confident that their independent content is invaluable for brands to reach people just like them.
I underlined this trend by naming three fundamentals elucidated by social media that should be incorporated into all design: participation, engagement and authenticity. Ryan chimed in saying how social platforms are resetting their design with formats to better accommodate participatory forms of storytelling. My point of view was that of utmost importance is a focused objective – whether related to financial profit, social metrics, technology R&D or even personal curiosity – must be clearly defined prior to the start of the design process.
Ryan and Nick bantered about the dangers of buzz and anecdotal evidence in lieu of quantifiable data and true correlation between a marketing tactic and a sale. Ryan stressed the need for a defined ROI, but also admitted that a lot of brand managers are often too busy to even focus on the actual success metrics of the initiatives they’re funding. I agreed that “with all the numbers and big data, quality should not be overlooked; emotional aspects of your pitch are important.”
At this point, Nick checked all of our marketing speak by deferring to me for her studies. I talked production companies indeed being interested in funding against softer qualities, alongside hard metrics. I provided examples of skilled fans as co-creators who value access over ownership, and community over monetization. Production companies are seeing this as an asset to invest in, which stresses the possibilities and benefits that arise when indie producers team up with brands and include corporations in their revenue stream.