Crowdfunding and the Question of Paying Consultants on a Percentage

The other day my acupuncturist and pal and I were talking about the ups and downs of running our own businesses. At one point he said that when he first started out even though he knew his business would profit, he made a decision he’s never regretted: not to take on clients who had weight-loss or smoking-cessation goals. At first I thought it was because he didn’t feel he could in good conscious reduce this noble healing art for such superficial ends.

I was wrong. He told me he turned down client after client because he soon came to realize these people were looking for shortcuts—gain without pain—and with these types of medical problems, he said, client compliance is at least 80% contingent on their recovery. In other words, all the needling in the world from the most masterful healer, which he is, isn’t going to help if the client didn’t follow the lifestyle change regimen he laid out for him or her.

Warning! This post will not be popular with everyone, but I’m okay with that

As a crowdfunding consultant, that really struck a chord with me. Anyone who’s contacted me about working together already knows I’m not in this business just to tell you what you want to hear to get your money. (My acupuncturist and I also talked about the downside of this policy is turning away business…but the upside is good karma and way fewer headaches!)

Weeding is Not Just Gardeners’ Work

When someone contacts me about working together I ask them to fill out a brief but telling questionnaire. The answers give me an insight in not only their readiness but also their work ethic and the chance that they will comply with my recommendations on what they need to do to be successful.

Because of the questionnaire, I end up with some of the most motivated clients ready to roll up their sleeves and work; it’s a great collaboration that’s fun for me.

If they wind up flaming out—crowdfunding is hard work, after all—I can say with all respect that it’s really not my concern. I have put my best foot forward, have shared all the knowledge I’ve accumulated, but doing the work is on them, not me.

Money for Nothin’ (Chicks for Free)? Nah

It’s become more commonplace to field requests from people who want me to work on a percentage basis. Usually they add that working with the promise of payment will be motivational for me and keep me honest. They note how beneficial it will be for me when their campaign succeeds!

I say no because about 99.9% of the time requests come from people who have got the no-pain-all-gain attitude about crowdfunding. And because I happen to like to get paid for my work as I go.

So You Want to Pay on a Percentage

I know there are companies out there that will work on a percentage, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got a list of criteria the potential client must meet in order to qualify that goes something like this:

  • They should have an existing, active, and engaged social media following
  • They should already be creating marketing content to prove authority and trustworthiness
  • They should have a good idea that’s well thought through, truly innovative and have already expended considerable personal capital, both in sweat and some financial investment
  • They should have a solid understanding on how this tool called crowdfunding really works and plan to be an active working participant from beginning to end

Assuming the idea is good, an exception that even I would make would be to work for a well-known person/celebrity because what they might lack the list above they make up for in name recognition that can be harnessed successfully to attract media attention. But alas those come around rarely. (Okay, never. So far.)

Final Warning

Oh, and if you do find someone who’s more than happy to work for you on a percentage basis without asking anything of you in return? Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because there are no shortcuts and reputations are a two-way street: yours could suffer in ways that you will end up paying in more costly ways than dollar-wise.

Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause from



Calculate Your Chances For Crowdfunding Success

Tip of the Week

As crowdfunding becomes more woven into the fabric of fundraising efforts of all kinds, competition is an issue so preparation can make or break you. As so many have learned, it’s best to approach it methodically, checklist in hand.

Problem is, what if you don’t know what questions to ask to begin with? Before I set up a consultation, I send out a brief questionnaire to my clients, which I believe strike all the notes they will need to hit before launch. When I get back monosyllabic responses or questions that are left completely unanswered, this to me is a sign—of a lack of readiness.

HitThe folks who run understood this problem and have come up with their own questionnaire, to assess not only success but also to predict how much you will raise based on statistics from Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as well as their own platform.

The site is called and the tool, which they describe as a “success predictor” poses many of the same questions that I and other consultants know to ask in order to catch red flags that will thwart your chances of success. Depending on the type of crowdfunding campaign you want to run, there are between 10-15 questions. An algorithm does the rest. And it’s free! This of course is a plus for the bootstrapped, though the downside it must be said, is the lack of human support. Eyeball

I spoke by email to founder Sandip Skehon who told me, “Using the responses and data collected over the years, our algorithm will predict the likelihood of meeting the campaign target —and provide a specific dollar estimate.”

While he admits they are still refining the algorithm, “in initial tests with cause-based GoGetFunding campaigns did indeed raise what had predicted.” Sekhon says, that 28 of 32 surveyed campaigns fell within their estimates.

Time will tell if accuracy will increase but Sekhon welcomes feedback in order to continue the refinement process.

Remember, this is not anything like Kicktraq, which, through its own unique algorithm magic, assesses success on campaigns that are up and running already. (Though it’s still sadly limited only to Kickstarter campaigns, womp womp womp.) Indeed I had a couple of clients with active campaigns input their information and the results were not accurate at all.

Anything that helps crowdfunders think strategically before they launch is worth a try. Test it and report back on your findings!




A Twitter Change That Boosts Engagement and Gets Us Out of the Dark Ages

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I’ve owned up before to how little I use or like Facebook. As seems to be the case for many people, this is not for personality reasons, however. Mark Zuckerberg bothers me no more or less than any other teen entrepreneur-turned-gazillionaire.

No, it has more to do with my rule that my social media investments need to be short, sweet, and easy. My biggest problem is the constant changes in Facebook’s functionality, which absolutely does not fit into my criteria. (In fact, I felt very vindicated after reading this confessional post by a social media guru.)

So I was a bit irked when I learned that Twitter, my favorite go-to social media platform, had made changes. It took me a little time before I decided to stop being in denial and get the new lay of the land—and I’m glad I did! The changes are neither onerous or numerous. You can learn more about them here. But here’s the biggest one that in my mind will produce more engagement for crowdfunders rather than the interrupted, jagged conversations that simple RT or Favorites brought.

What was:

Arguably the most trigger-happy button on Twitter is the Retweet button. So easy! All you have to do is click on that blue baby and you are good to go. People know you’re there for them, right?

Yet the biggest complaint in the crowdfunding universe is how to get any social media interactions to go from a knee-jerk click to actual engagement that has the best opportunity to convert to a contribution.

What is:

When you click on the Retweet button if you’re a lazy susan or stuck in the Dark Ages you can still broadcast back a tweet and call it a day. But don’t do it! With the advent of the Add a Comment function, why would you?

What happens now when you click on Retweet is that you are presented with an Add a Comment box. In this box you can basically add personal commentary to what ever the original tweet says. And you’re give a generous 116 characters to do so.

Why this is so important:

This is revolutionary for crowdfunding because it builds on engagement possibilities by telling your followers why you’ve elected to retweet. If everyone adds their own personalized comment what this change has potential to do is actually get a conversation going. Here’s a small example of how I used the comment section when I spotted a tweet about a group trying to raise money to start a crowdfunding platform in the Philippines. The island country caught my imagination seven years ago when I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of going on assignment there. (It was for a spa magazine and oh it was a blast. Please don’t hate me for that!)

This was the original tweet:

Here’s what I wrote back and their response.

Now this is a real conversation! Others, I believe, will pick up the thread and engagement is sure to follow. And even if no one else chimes in with their own reason for loving the Philippines anybody who’s already reading my tweets and retweeting them (thank you, all you loyal followers who are helping me help other crowdfunders) will actually be able to follow the flow of the conversation—and that can’t be bad. In fact, I really think this is a big step forward toward interactions of quality that will produce more quantity—both the sharing and giving kind.

So be sure to stop that trigger-happy finger from simply retweeting and add your own two cents to the conversation. You will be helping us all out of the social media Dark Ages.

When Should You Hire Crowdfunding Help?

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Because the crowdfunding landscape is evolving, each and everyday it’s important that we change with it. Take me, an enormous proponent of empowering the crowdfunder to be in charge of his or her own campaign and not outsource it to 3rd party entities that will not only cost you money you may not have, but  also threatens to put a wall up between you and your fans. ReachingHand

Who better than you knows your campaign, right?

Well, I’ve had a qualified change of heart. I say qualified because there are still large and creative members of the crowdfunding community that have an excellent handle on their campaign. They know almost intuitively what it needs and have no problem deploying those mechanisms.

If you are one of those people you can stop reading here. (If you’re not sure where you fit on the spectrum, keep going, because you are in a category all your own, and it is by far the most dangerous one.) To the rest of you read on.

The Categories

You have the money to shell out

This category could be an existing business with a support staff in social, marketing and PR; a startup with a small invested pool of family, say; or you could be someone with a good job who’s got a great idea and a nest egg you’ve put aside for when you’re ready to bring it out into the world. You can easily part with this money and not risk ruin.

You know what you don’t know

You are in the best position because it means a couple of things. It says that you’ve been researching crowdfunding extensively and know what’s required of you. You know you can handle certain aspects but fear that others may overwhelm you. It could be building and working an engaged social media following. You’ve got accounts on many social media sites but have anemic followings and do scant posting, because you don’t put out the effort (or more likely, you just don’t particularly like social media.) It could be that you feel awkward doing media outreach, feel not up to the task. It could be you are simply strapped for time. These are good reasons to assess where you need it most and hire out—thoughtfully. You have to do your research and find companies with good track records and the testimonials and data to back up their promises and costs.

You don’t know what you don’t know

You, my friends are the most dangerous category. Though the attitude likely springs from a shortage of funds—understandable if you’re crowdfunding—you blithely march into a crowdfunding campaign, without doing any research and without laying much groundwork. You are the category that people like me receive frantic emails from, begging for help when the clock is ticking and the future is pretty much fated. There’s little excuse for that attitude in this day in age, folks, when so much high-value information is out there for the taking.

Conclusion? I repent! Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money.

Photo credit: Penywise

The Real Secret to Your Success May Surprise You

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There’s so much helpful content being written on good marketing and social media practices that it can be a little overwhelming when strategizing how to implement all you’ve learned.

Providing you find resources that have a solid reputation and align with your philosophy there’s enough high-value information to get your campaign on a good track to success.

As I’ve said before Hubspot is one of my favorites, especially for all the free downloads they offer. They also provide a lot of helpful data to better understand social media in a larger context.

All good stuff.

But sometimes it’s good to give rather than receive. So today’s Tip is about what and how you can give to your social media compatriots who are looking for an RT or a thoughtful comment or a repost to give them a lift. And lest you think that’s a nice thought but I barely have time to keep up with my own marketing needs, remember there’s a cosmological paradox at work when you give: your generosity usually boomerangs right back at you.

It’s happened to me so I always make it a point to:

Take a few minutes each day—or if I don’t have the time to do that I’ll at least try and dedicate about 30 minutes once a week—to go through my feed and look for people who are sharing meaningful information, especially about content that has nothing to do with crowdfunding.

Yes, you read that right. I do this for two reasons.

First, there’s nothing worse than being bombarded with the exact same message on a regular basis by someone who wants and expects me to share their campaign with my followers. Why would I do that when I know nothing about them or their idea? It comes across as demanding and selfish and most people don’t respond well to that.

Secondly, if social media is most impactful when you actually engage with others then it makes sense to try to make new friends and turn them into supporters. It’s happened to me many times. I’ll comment or RT about something I find interesting or socially relevant and the person responds with equal kindness. Before you know it we have developed a bona fide relationship and when I see that person has posted something I always make it a point to check it out.

That’s how relationships form and besides being a lot of fun it’s rewarding on many levels. I now have a new advocate and it makes my online time no longer feel like a chore.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 1.08.23 PM

If you haven’t already, find and read a book called “Give and Take” by Wharton professor Adam Grant. The idea behind the book is that while once we believed success was a result of things like hard work and luck, his research indicates that success is “increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.” His ideas about getting ahead in business have been praised by everyone from Oprah to Malcom Gladwell.

According to his studies people fall into one of three categories: takers, matchers or givers. Guess which ones get ahead the least? Since these attributes can have a big impact on your success, after registering you should take the test to see where you fit. If you’re a taker you may want to get some pointers to find out how to turn it around.

Here’s one of his many nuggets of wisdom:

“If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.”
– Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

 Image: Michelle Bulgaria

Media Misinformation is Crippling Crowdfunding: Know the Facts

Dear Readers,

This post originally appeared on my LinkedIn Pulse blog site. I thought the information was worth sharing if you’re not a big user of LinkedIn. Please feel free to share with your friends who may be considering crowdfunding, especially if they’re not as far along in their crowdfunding education as you are. Education is power, after all.

One more thing before you settle in to read about media misinformation: I wanted to let you all know I am in the process of strategizing on not only a new site redesign but also repositioning myself in the crowdfunding space so that I can better serve you and also personally experience maximum reward in my daily work. Because work happiness is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Any comments, suggestions, complaints, requests from you, I’m all ears. Really. Whether it’s technical issues on the current site—a possibility—or what you would like to receive more from me by way of helping you achieve your goals. I do this work for you, so it only makes sense that your feedback on how best to get it right would be invaluable to me!

Now to the article.

Several weeks ago I got an email from a local woman in her upper 60s with a spinal problem who wanted to run a crowdfunding campaign to raise several thousand dollars for at least a single round of stem-cell replacement therapy, maybe two—she’d learned that the second is often required. She told me her condition made it difficult for her to use a computer and wondered if we could talk by phone to discuss working together.

My heart sank. Again.

I know, and many of you know, that because crowdfunding is an online tool, if you can’t even use a computer you’re starting out at a major disadvantage. But not enough people know that crowdfunding isn’t the slam-dunk the media stories would have you believe, and that’s a big problem.

Like most of us I’m a busy person and was unable to take the time to have what I knew would be a lengthy conversation just to get the basic facts of her situation out of her. So as a test of sorts to see how serious she was I told her I would send her the usual questionnaire I ask people to fill out and she should find someone to help her. I’d read it, and give her my response afterwards.

About a month later I received the questionnaire filled with long responses to each of my questions. I knew immediately a) she was serious and b) my instincts were correct that crowdfunding would not work for her.This was one woman in a sea of people who needs money yet she lacked all the basic ingredients that would even put her on the map: She didn’t use social media, she had no understanding of PR or how it works, and she didn’t have a team to help her run her campaign. I decided the only decent thing to do was to phone her to break the news.

What Level Playing Field?

She was incredulous. But I see so many stupid campaigns that make money. I have a real need. Why wouldn’t people give to me?

I went through my spiel about needing to engage via social media, bloggers and media professionals, in order to spread the word. Ah but this is what she wanted me to do for her, she said. She offered to pay me $600, clearly a lot of money to her, because she heard that I was good at this sort of thing.

I told her I could not take her money because I did not believe I could succeed, especially since I could not commit to taking the time and resources I knew I would need to even make a dent. And even then it would be an up-stream swim unless we got very, very lucky.

She persisted, practically begged. It felt so awful I wished I could be anywhere than on that call. But I also knew I couldn’t be that good of a Samaritan while I watched my own business flounder.

Frustrated, she said she would try anyway. I offered to give her my online course for free. She bristled—again, she couldn’t sit in front of the computer, she fretted, plus time was short and she needed help now. I sympathized and gave her a coupon code for the course. She never redeemed it.

Crowdfunding as the Great Equalizer

I find myself not only thinking about this woman, wondering how her health is doing, and if she found some help. I have also have spent a lot of time considering the future of crowdfunding and its ability to truly level the playing field for all.

No doubt it’s truly a democratizer for entrepreneurs who have a promising new device or a fun gadget. But what about those people who don’t have anything to pre-sell? All they have is a need for you, dear public, to care enough about them to give them a leg up at a donation level of your choosing.

And even if you have a most compelling story it will be nothing more than the sound of one hand clapping unless it can be shared again and again by people for whom that story struck a chord.

Hey Media, Get a clue

I’ve been sitting on an article I read that was published in the Washington Post not long after my discomfiting conversation with one of the “needy nobodies.” It really hit a nerve with me.

Here’s the article in full but using the Detroit-based James Robertson as her baseline—remember he was the guy that a virtual stranger raised $350K for when he learned that every day Robertson walked 21 miles as part of his commute to get to his job—she itemizes why she was “not a fan” of the outcome of Robertson’s crowdfunding success story.

There are so many things wrong with the points made in the article I don’t know where to start. But I will, so let’s break it down.

  • The gist of this writer’s thesis is that the public shouldn’t give just because Robertson’s story was raised to “celebrity” status through social media.

But wait! Crowdfunding is nothing if not the perfect online vehicle that, fueled by social media amplification, can touch us as individuals and strike that emotional chord that tells us we want to give.

  • The writer also posits that the money would have been better spent to raise awareness about lack of access to affordable transportation for the poor. The solution, she says, is that we should give regularly to our favorite charities and call it a day.

Um yes, sure. But that’s not crowdfunding. Isn’t it possible that there is room for both of these mechanisms to support good causes? One is the traditional means; the other is a new, 21st century, technology-fueled method. The writer’s point is about as accurate as those who insist that money raised in crowdfunding “takes away” from money raised in traditional fundraising. It’s not one or the other. Didn’t we clear that up ages ago?

  • The writer laments that though Robertson’s story is “heartwarming” what about all the other people who don’t have such a good story?

That these words come from a writer—a purveyor of stories—for a major publication truly strains the imagination. Enough said on that point.

There are a lot inaccuracies about crowdfunding flooding the internet that can infuriate those who are working hard to clarify what crowdfunding really is and how to use it. That this person clearly has no idea what crowdfunding is yet has been allowed the bully pulpit to spread yet more misinformation about it rankles me. The sooner she’s gagged the less likely I am going to have to deal with people like that nice woman who needs money to get her health back on track.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Photo credit: Morguefile

Digital Advertising, Bad Bet? Bad Bot!

Tip of the Week


Last year, White Ops, the self-proclaimed “global pioneer in deterministic botnet detection and sophisticated digital fraud” issued the results of a study. Here’s a highlight of their results.

We expected to find bogus websites with nothing but a bot audience,
but out of nearly 3 million websites covered in the study, mere thousands were completely bogus.
Most of the bots visited real websites run by real companies with real human visitors.
Those bots inflated the monetized audiences at those sites by 5-50 percent.

The results, they stated, were that:

  • Advertisers will lose $6.2B globally this year
  • Ad fraud gets home users hacked
  • Ad bots defeats user targeting

I’m sometimes asked my opinion about buying digital ads to promote one’s crowdfunding campaign. I usually beg off the question because I’ve never used the tactic myself, and because I’m personally very unfazed by digital ads, so I never saw the benefits of them. A more recent report not only strongly suggests you should save your money, but the bot frauds hit closer to home in this one.

It was a study that was released almost two weeks ago, one which I expected would catch like wildfire on blogs, groups, and forums I read. The results, though not altogether surprising were still to my mind offensive and kind of scandalous. Rather than writing about it I thought I’d wait to read what others had to say. But instead of outrage so far I’ve heard crickets.

So here’s the bad news.

It turns out that from 88% to 98% of digital ads we pay for are clicked by bots, not thinking, discerning humans. And the fraudsters aren’t fringe offenders; they are companies we rely on and respect like—this one broke my heart—LinkedIn. They came in at 88% fake, with the worst offender being Google, at 98%. Good old Facebook and Yahoo tied at 94%.

Oxford InfographicClick to enlarge

The data were revealed by a Luxembourg-based company that works in human-recognition technology called Oxford BioChronometrics, a startup from Oxford University, which last year spun out into the private sector in order to continue to further commercialize their technology. According to their site, Biochronometrics calculates changes in our biological behavior.

Good news or more bad news?

The bot fraud is part of a bigger study the team has been working on. Last July’s unveiling informed us that we each leave an imprint through our common behaviors, such as mouse movements or typing speed. Put it all together and it’s called eDNA (electronically Defined Natural Attributes). Over time, the technology allows tracking and identifying up to 500 behaviors— such as drug use, sexual activity, and even whether you’re prone to heart attacks—of users whenever they log onto their computers or smartphone.

The benefit, they say, is that it will immediately confirm identity and reduce the rate of hacking. Whether it’s worth giving up our privacy remains to be seen, though we all know the truth is that ship probably sailed long ago.

To read the full report, go here.


Can Krowdster Capture and Promote Campaign with More Efficiency?

Tip of the Week

Krowdster blew onto the scene appropriately around the time that the calendar ticked to 2015. My amateur prediction (read: arrived at completely without benefit of psychic abilities) says that this will be the year we begin to address some of the deeply entrenched issues that are causing crowdfunding successes to plummet: the need to build a crowd that cares enough to contribute to your campaign. Because it’s a problem of enormous proportions.

You can’t keep a serial entrepreneur down, I guess, because it looks like founder Joseph Holm has tossed his hat in the ring in the hopes of turning this around.

You probably know Holm for his crowdfunding networking site called, and as the founder of the crowdfunding platform for filmmakers called Tubestart that incorporates content and audience development solutions, tools for rewards fulfillment, and more, into its value proposition. Krowdster is his most recent endeavor.

“I have created Krowdster to help more entrepreneurs become more successful at crowdfunding and launch more shining startups. Krowdster provides evidence-based, big data-powered analytics and campaign optimization as well as the world’s largest database of crowdfunding supporters that can be filtered by category, location or keyword to build an engaged crowd.”

krowdster artwork1

So how does Krowdster work? I The process is simple once you sign up:

  • Analytics provide data from 500,000+ campaigns
  • Optimizes campaign page and rewards setup based on metrics so it’s not a crapshoot
  • Promotes to 300,000+ crowdfunding supporters

Here’s a blog post that dives deeper.

So why Krowdster? Speaking from personal experience in my work with clients, when it comes time create a launch-ready strategy, building the crowd is the weak link for most aspiring crowdfunders because it’s a clunky, fragmented and time-consuming task. A tool that would take that heavy lifting away and allows users to search similar effortlessly would be a relief.

Does Krowdster work? Besides noodling around myself I’ve asked some of my crowdfunding colleagues their opinion of Krowdster’s effectiveness and the word “solid” has come up more than once. And as more people try it out we’ll be able to find out from the source how well it works.

Currently, the site draws its data from only four platforms:

  • Indiegogo
  • Kickstarter
  • RocketHub
  • Pozible
  • Tubestart

Holm is seeking other high-yielding rewards-based sites to further boost data results. Got a site you’d like included? Make suggestions!

Currently Holm is supplying his user-hopefuls with lots of tutorials, graphs, and even early-bird free trial offers. Here’s one video that provides a nice overview.

**Full disclosure: I will be signing on to Krowdster’s Affiliate Program


Design Within Crowdfunding Reach Requires Marketing

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Last fall I moderated a really exciting panel at the Digital Professional Institute that featured five successful Chicago-based project creators. It was a lively and delightful hour that went by way too quickly. (I learn so much from each crowdfunder, whether they fail or succeed, and these panelists all fell into the latter category.) Every campaign was unique, and I could write a post featuring and lauding each one. And perhaps soon I will, maybe in the form of a sit-down video. But that’s for another time and day.

For now I want to focus on a guy by the name of Craighton Bermanphoto

He’s a product designer and a Kickstarter star player with so many rousingly successful campaigns under his belt, one of which has little functional application but more than make up for it through its sheer love fest of form. (I will provide links below.)

I’ve been trying, in vain, to nab Berman for a sit-down with me, knowing full well this guy’s plate is fuller than a Las Vegas gambler taking a break from the slot machines to graze at the buffet table.

But he’s busier than ever and now I know what he’s up to. He’s just committed to teaching a yearlong professional development course at University of Illinois at Chicago.

This is so needed. The problem that many of us who consult come across with project creators is that these people, while brilliant at what they do, lack basic marketing skills. Which is a campaign killer.

Berman’s class Tumblr has the perfect title: Always Be Hustling. It features some really innovative student works. This is actually Berman’s second stint at UIC, with last year’s theme being on the “Making” of the product. This year’s focus: “Scaling.” (Unlike some artists who are less verbal than visual, Berman is equally skilled at both.) How many times does the marketing question come up by project creators? A lot. So this class should really rock. I can tell you from listening to Berman speak, that not only is his enthusiasm infectious but how can you argue with all his crowdfunding success? He clearly knows what works and you aspiring designers WILL want to crawl into the workings of his brain!

For those of you who live outside Chicago, first be happy you’re not dealing with 18” of snow! But also take comfort in the fact that Berman’s really on to something here. So might an online class will be next? We can only hope!

His campaigns:

Pinch (A gourmet salt cellar and pepper shaker set that brings the experience of adding ‘a pinch of salt’ to the dining table.)

The Campaign for Accurate measurement of Creativity (A Sharpener Jar To Quantify Your Creative Output)

The Manual Coffeemaker (A Pour-Over Coffee Maker Designed to Elevate the Ritual of Making Coffee by Hand) *This is the most recent and it raised $100K in 30 days.


His websites:

Craighton Berman Studio


Newsjacking, Good Taste, and GoDaddy’s Image

Tip of the Week

I guess I still haven’t washed GoDaddy’s idiotic video out of my hair quite yet, even though I’ve already vented on Twitter and on LinkedIn about their outrageous video that was slated for airing on the Super Bowl—and then pulled after (surprise!) a backlash. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch below. But this is the elevator version:

A puppy is thrown from a truck. He valiantly finds his way home to his “family” only to be welcomed by a wicked-voiced human expressing happiness at the little guy’s return—because she’d already sold the dog online.

In my original rants I talked about what cretins these GoDaddy people must be—and there’s no doubt about it: they are. But this is idiocy wrapped in sinister strategy, one they’re clinging to like people without a creative bone in their bodies must do.

Why is this newsjacking?

Because GoDaddy’s marketing hacks know that the movement to end puppy mills is a big issue right now. So they decided it would be “funny” to turn that news on its head by taking a tragic situation and turning it into a frat joke.

The last time GoDaddy made the news was when they were called to the carpet for their disrespectful images of women—another issue about which serious people like Malala Yousafzai, Sheryl Sandberg and Hilary Clinton, to name but a few, try to raise awareness.

Can good taste be taught?

Absolutely. Making the news at the cost of others is a bad strategy. One way to ensure you’re on the right side of good taste is to ask yourself: Does this news I’m attaching myself to have anything at all to do with my brand? If the answer is no, not without fabricating a connection like GoDaddy did, it may be a clue that you’re cheaping out, which in the end means you’re not showing respect for your own brand. In that case it’s best to go back to the storyboard and start over.