Lunch With Smart Dogs at Triangle Startup Factory
Kip Frey (www.linkedin.com/pub/kip-frey/36/b09/384 pictured in middle above) is a smart entrepreneur who one might say has "gone to the dogs". Kip spoke at Free Lunch Friday at +Triangle StartUp Factory today about Dognition (https://www.dognition.com/ ).
Dognition is a Myers/Briggs personality test for dogs. During an hour long fascinating conversation Kip made several points we've heard consistently from Chris and Dave at TSF such as:
* Ideas that "seem true" create their own momentum.
* Look for ideas that "create a new category".
* Ideas with great partnership hooks work best since partners help create scale with OPL (Other Poeple's Lists) and OPC (Other People's Content).
Dognition is a cool idea since we humans are always anthropomorphizing our animals. Now you can do a test AT HOME with your dog to figure out which one of 9 classifications your dog's personality falls within. You can compare your dog to dogs in your area, across the country or possibly the world (soon Kip mentioned they are already speaking to interested parties in China).
I found Kip and Dognition's #brandingstrategy fascinating. Kip and the team at Dognition spent a year working on the #DIY version of their test. They needed enough data shared by "citizen scientists" after taking their test that the hard work created in the lab held up even in the DIY home version.
"I think people are more interested in their dogs than in their DNA," Kip said at one point and I agree. There are 70M dog owning families in America (so one in three roughly) and each year brings 7M new dogs to market.
Branding vs Scale
The tension between creating a brand with meaning and the scale necessary to support that meaning was interesting. Kip decided to do a deal with Purina One to gain scale. Sounds like he had to defend the sizable deal with his board because they were worried about "brand purity".
#branding is tricky. Too much scale too fast could marginalize the brand. The science at the core of the test is something that could be seen as goofy in the wrong context. By doing an exclusive with Purina One for 2014 Dognition gets millions in partner ad dollars - the test is a freebie if dog owners complete a 28 day "Purina One 28 Day Challenge" (http://www.purinaone.com/dogs/28-Day-Challenge/main-page ).
Cool promo and great legitimacy for Dognition and possibly just the right amount of scale. Partnerships bring interesting challenges. Dognition can get swallowed whole by Purina, and can anyone spot the BIG #socialmarketing error on the Purina One challenge page? http://www.purinaone.com/dogs/28-Day-Challenge/main-page
ERROR - Love that Purina is using Tweets, but seeing 46 day old Tweets HURTS the social legitimacy of their campaign. A 46 day old tweet from a customer is fine IN ROTATION, but what if the only representation I see has old content?
When curating old and new social content from Purina and users always have something in the roll that is current, only several hours hold max. Using customer Tweets is brave, but stale in its current implementation. Even if the Purina staff creates Tweets today that related to something that happened 46 days ago have something current on social.
Building a #story off of #UGC is what +CrowdFunde is all about. Conversations require different #contentcuration and #contentcreation than promotional push. Purina One's misuse of #SMM is a perfect validation for a tool like CrowdFunde that helps create, curate and converse with the most valuable content on earth - User Generated Content (UGC).
By isolating old tweets without a clear understanding about why they are there, other than being self congratulatory, Purina destroys what they hope to build - active, alive conversations.
We think Dognition will have great conversations since learning your dog's personality feels like something MADE for social shares, but HOW you share social conversations is tricky as a big brand like Purina proves. Turning conversations into #engagemn and #loyalty is trickier still.
Cool talk today with many lessons for #startups and #Internetmarketers . Dognition is going to be on 60 Minutes in April and they will have a reality TV show on Nat Geo Wild so conversations will happen. Team at CrowdFunde wishes our fellow Durham #startup luck and a free CrowdFunde installation if they want to discover how to build community on a scale hard to knock down or duplicate...because building ongoing engagement after initial novelty is based on the quality, frequency and value of Dognition's (and any brand's) CONVERSATIONS!
Thanks to Kip for speaking with TSF startups today! Marty
PS. Kip asked for feedback on the Dognition site and since I know there are a lot of ecommerce conversion experts that follow me send me your thoughts and I will pull together 5 to 10 "would be better if" kinds of feedback for https://www.dognition.com/ .