Zercado is a hardware startup that builds the first intelligent motorcycle mirrors that automatically adapt to your body position, letting the rider see much more. They have received numerous awards, including first place at Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015 (as Smart Mirrors). During our cooperation Smart Mirrors had changed to Zercado and that created a new challenge.
Most people buy only products they heard good things about, that somebody has checked or recommended. Usually they aren’t that eager to buy innovative but unproven products. This is a huge problem for startups - vast majority of them are unknown and because of that hard to trust for most consumers.
Our client, Zercado, has just made a rebranding. It has received numerous prizes and recognitions but under a different name - Smart Mirrors. All media and fans (mostly from Poland) knew it under the old name and there was very little information about the new brand - Zercado. The final prototype wasn't ready yet, so all we had were renders and photos of the internal mechanisms.
It was a challenge - how to start building consumer trust and brand recognition without the final product? What is more, we wanted to collect preorders from all around the world to be ready for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.
Most people perform research before they buy anything, and this is especially true for new brands and products. We are not an PR agency, but since it was a part of a larger campaign to prepare Zercado for Kickstarter we decided to seek out niche blogs and magazines that will help the startup build up trust.
How did we accomplish this? The most important insight was that moto industry news websites watch closely one another and reprint most interesting information (sometimes without citing the source). That means that you don’t have to send 100 cold mails to get 100 publications. We’ve sent 10 emails and tweets to the promising, niche blogs and websites with medium-size reach (basing on the number of Facebook fans). Major outlets would probably ignore us so we had to target your press releases correctly. We wanted to start with websites that have a high chance of being “reprinted” on other, larger sites. Out of 10 emails/tweets we’ve received 2 important publications (you had to choose wisely the recipient, follow ups are required etc.). One of the articles was included on Yahoo News and Moto1, two important sources of news. Combining it with an interesting product it was enough to start the snowball rolling. Since then tens of blogs and news websites have written about Zercado. Now people searching for Zercado will be able to find information from many reliable sources. It has granted a large following in the motorcycling community and a solid foundation for further marketing activities.
Few month laters still more and more people are writing about Zercado without any involvement from the team!
It was a good cooperation - I could focus on product development, while flame. had their finger on the pulse of the whole situation - choosing the journalists, writing copy and sending the information. The response was a surprise - we've been covered by news sites all around the world.
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