Save Steve’s Job — Go Hard or Go Home

The story behind insydo’s first media campaign.

The Risk

Let’s start with that bleak statistic: nine out of ten start-ups will fail, and one of the reasons is lack of marketing.

With that said, the glances of concern in the lead up to the launch of our Save Steve’s Job campaign were certainly warranted.

The key for us, however, was to step back and contemplate our own interaction with advertising. Take a moment to think of an ad that caught your attention today… it’s hard, right? Our lives have become so saturated by marketing messages that we’ve become numb to them; we no longer want to be talked at.

As a generation of Digital Natives, we’ve learned to filter the noise, so promoting a product now requires the courage to take risks that demand attention. We felt strongly about disrupting the market place here in Dubai and trying to break through the sameness of ‘safe’ strategies.

The concept

The Save Steve’s Job campaign is insydo’s big ‘Hello!’ to Dubai. Like most ideas that spark attention, the concept was born off the back of a coffee-infused conversation that gained momentum. Our aim was to reflect our digital product and our personality.

In a previous post, I spoke of humanising your product, but it’s equally as important to humanise your marketing strategy, especially in a tech-savvy society where people want to be included in a brand’s story. So, we set our Marketing Guy a one-month challenge: to introduce insydo to the city in a bid to save his job. Essentially, we focused on two key elements:

1) Creating curiosity: We placed our trust in our product, in the public and in the fact that our cheeky play-on-words would stir up enough curiosity to ignite a buzz that would lead people to discover insydo by themselves.

2) Selling the truth: We’re sharing the real start-up pressure with the hope that people will support us. As a team, we’re constantly watching the analytics, knowing it could be our only campaign, so it’s not only a case of saving Steve but our vision and our product also.

The Money

Bold ideas take time and people (and a bit of cash); you need a team of superheroes that will help to mold, scaffold and support the campaign. You also have to have the budget; it’s extremely important to factor in a decent marketing budget when looking for funding. After all, what’s the point in having a great product if nobody knows about it?

Once you’ve allocated an amount, you then need to optimise it. We opted for an in-house approach to advertising; a DIY effort if you will:

  1. Produce your own content; it cuts costs (we were quoted $150,000 for just a video… that’s when the GoPro and iPhone creativity began).
  2. Pull in your team of go-getters. Our UX Designer created our billboards and microsite, our Editor crafted our copy and social content, our Tech Team built the additional website, while I attempted to piece it all together. Our skillsets were challenged beyond expectation.
  3. Redirect your budget into media placement instead of creation. Our DIY approach to crafting the content enabled us to secure key billboards and media spaces instead of spending heaps on advertising.
  4. Campaign for support and sell your concept to media partners; we gained free exposure and built partnerships, which amplified our presence.

Err, why not insydo?

insydo is your curated Google for Dubai. We shortlist the best of the city (that’s over 600 categories!) and deliver detailed reviews of the top services and experiences that people need. What else makes us stand out? We experience everything anonymously; yep, we pay to test the businesses we recommend.

Despite all that, it is still a competitive landscape and we believed we should fullycommit to the risk of creating brand awareness through inquisitiveness to avoid being dubbed as just another digital app.

We built a microsite and directed our call-to-action (CTA) to savestevesjob.com rather than to insydo — crazy, right? We wanted to allow our target audience to interact with the campaign and track its real-time progress.

Brace yourself for the haters…

Nothing could have prepared us for the overwhelming support that started flooding in when the campaign went live.

However, let’s not hide the haters; after all, they want to be heard…

No matter what you do, someone will judge you; so if you’re going to publicly break the status quo, then expect a backlash. After all, who are you to attempt creative thought? How f**king dare you. Expect your moral compass to be questioned and your campaign to be linked to global issues, including religion, politics and war. Here’s our top four:

  1. Stupid white people…seriously” — This racial slur is probably the favourite among our multi-cultural team.
  2. “Shut up spoilt white dude” — Poor Steve, he’s barely coping with his rent…
  3. “Other nationalities have to go back to countries without jobs for them or political situations. E.g Syrians, Lebanese” not forgetting those “impacted” in “construction, banking…” — Didn’t see that one coming.
  4. “I think it’s totally unmoral to use Steve Jobs’ name to make business over a dead person” — He’s an iconic figure in the tech industry. How dare we make a cheeky connection…

Is it the fear of society’s negativity and social condemnation that curbs creativity?

The Tips

If you’re planning your campaign here’s a few tips that we learned along the way:

  • Identify the KPI of your campaign and intertwine that with your CTA: our goal was to get people to search on insydo.
  • If you’re not selling the brand via an orthodox approach, how will the story connect to your brand? Etching out a social calendar, making the connection and educating users is still your priority. E.g. Our editors published a review of Steve on insydo to show the detailed info you can expect for every business we recommend.
  • Conduct a detailed analysis of impressions and potential reach & bounce rates, then confirm whether the potential reward outweighs the risk.
  • Have the analytics at the ready to allow you to measure the interaction with your site, so that post campaign, you can build a better user experience.
  • Be prepared for social engagement. We dropped everything and created an in-house social and PR team. If you want to build a brand community, it’svital to listen and respond to the feedback.
  • Finally, never launch a campaign in the UAE on a Friday. When your billboards don’t go up, you’ll find yourself crying down the phone to an unanswered ring tone.

The results…so far

Our team are officially sick of Steve…and we’re only two weeks in. He’ll be faced with compulsory vacation as soon as the campaign is over… But it’s been worth it. Here are a few stats on our progress so far:

  • We reached nearly 2 million people through organic and paid Facebook posts in the first 12 days of the campaign
  • We ran a Facebook competition, which reached over a half a million people and drove 650 entries in 3 days
  • User engagement and event interactions on insydo has increased by 1000% since the campaign
  • The Digital Display campaign has driven engagement at an average CTR (click-through rate) of 0.13% which exceeds industry benchmarks of 0.02–0.10%
  • Bounce rate on insydo has dropped from 60.1% to 39.95% since the start of the campaign
  • We’ve had over 258,000 searches on insydo since launching on 24th October 2015

What does the future hold?

We’ve been asked is he real? Is his job really on the line? The answer to all is ‘Yes’. As a start-up, the risks are very real. We’re going for investment in Q4 of this year, and without that funding, it’s a no-go for all of us.

So, what’s next? We’ve been selected to showcase insydo at Startup Grind in San Fran on 24th February. We’re excited about developing insydo and improving the user experience, so we’d love you to check us out and — of course — search to Save Steve’s Job while you’re at it!

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