Brands are notorious for announcing a new product months in advance prior to it being available to consumers. This usually means that only a few prototypes of the product are available so we can’t offer one to every loyal influencer for review. So how do we get influencers excited and talking about a product or service when it won’t be available for awhile?
Having been recently tasked with doing exactly just this, we wanted to build buzz and word-of-mouth before the announcement was made of an upcoming product. Rather than the usual press release, images, video, screen shots, etc, we decided to use one of the available prototypes and actually show our influencers the product. However, with limited functionality and using one of the only few products in existence, we decided to conduct one-on-one briefings with the influencers via Skype. This would allow us to show the influencers an exclusive first look at the product in a controlled environment. Additionally, it finally put a face to a name both for us and the influencers whom we have been working with for awhile now.
The feedback from our one-on-one Skype demonstrations was resounding. One of our influencers said, “It is our opinion that it is so much better hearing/seeing the information opposed to just getting an email full of press or an envelope full of brochures. We give it two thumbs up!” Another influencer noted, “Using Skype is a great way to communicate with us bloggers. It is a great way to put a face to the name. As far as feedback, I think it was great.”
It was a win-win situation for the brand and the influencers as posts went up in advance of the press announcement and the influencers were able to get an early look at the new product.
If you’re considering introducing a new product via Skype, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Be Prepared – Similar to a traditional media briefing, be sure you are prepared with challenging Q&A, product features, price points, etc. Additionally, make sure you are familiar with how to use the product, especially if it is a prototype.
Cultivate the Relationship – While you’re Skyping to discuss the product, keep in mind the meeting is also about developing the relationship with the influencer.
Practice – Conduct a practice session with a colleague in advance to confirm the product shows well via video.
Follow Up – Ensure the influencers have all of the necessary assets and information to write about the product. Since they can’t physically see the product, they will need everything afterwards to share with their audience.
Have a Backup Plan – It is critical to have a backup plan in the event that your prototype doesn’t arrive on time, isn’t functioning or if your influencers don’t want to take the briefings via Skype.
Brian Camen also contributed to this post.