Publish at September 19 2022 Updated September 19 2022

I don't buy, I contribute to an adventure

The crowdfunding model

How do you create an economic activity and make a living from your creations when the barriers to entry are mounting? Finding a publisher, a distribution channel, convincing intermediaries to associate their efforts with yours seem like insurmountable activities. An economic model built on relationships, storytelling techniques and participation is now available to designers.

We have no more desire or energy to consume and the cupboards are full

You want to sell a cultural product, a book, a film or music. It's going to be complicated: no one has room on their shelves anymore. The fashion is for emptiness and storage. Should we sell files or access to platforms rather than objects? This is a solution, but few people have access to this mode of distribution. The players are few, they think in tens of millions of euros or dollars. Difficult for beginners to make a place for themselves.

The difficulty does not stop there. Consuming and buying are no longer the stuff of dreams. On the contrary, our appetites are fading and sobriety does not spare cultural goods. Libraries, exchange spaces, online consultations or loans are all solutions to stop accumulating objects, while enjoying cultural goods. If you buy, it's because you haven't understood anything. The desire to possess is so twentieth century!

No doubt the platforms that offer to have anything delivered in a few hours have also contributed to kill the desire. As soon as wanted, as soon as delivered, consumed and forgotten. Desire is linked to waiting, it requires time, it must be able to settle. It is not of the same nature as impulse buying.

Reawakening desire

Participatory financing takes the opposite view of platforms that deliver within fifteen minutes. They invite commitment before the project is complete. At best, you've seen prototypes. Often, it's the first pages of a book, two songs or even three minutes of film. We wait a few months to receive our payment. Excerpts, information, presentations of the work in progress keep us attentive.

But we haven't bought anything. We have contributed to a project. We are not customers of a finished product, but promoters of a project or concept. There is also a part of bet in this adventure. If there are not enough of us, then the project will die out, without us getting anything in return. Participatory financing therefore sends a very different image of itself to the buyer. It allows an adventure, it accompanies a project, it launches itself into a collective financing action.

At the crossroads of narratives

Participatory financing is built on a marketing of narrative. First of all, there is this suspense about my "reward," which may be awarded to me, but whose nature sometimes evolves with the project.

There is also uncertainty about funding. Will we meet the goal? Will we exceed it and unlock additional bonuses?

A third, more distant and arguably indispensable story concerns the history of the project's carriers.

For example, Mad Magazine was published in the United States between the 1950s and the early 2020s. As the publishing stopped, a few authors launched publications in the spirit of the 1970s magazine, with parodies, accurate cartoons, and humorous dialogue.

The authors tell us a story of a return to their roots, the story of a new business model, and the story of a project that is being built and where contributors can influence the choices of parodied films.

Whatever the project, the story of its birth, the story of its financing, and the story of its implementation must be told. It is necessary to tell, as one would tell a fiction, by sparing suspense, by involving and hooking the audience!

Some stages of a collaborative financing process

In a detailed article, the English-language blog Peer to peer marketing invites us to discover the recipes of a participatory financing operation. So many steps in a game of goose presented below, where each box deserves in turn to be specified!"

  1. The authors invite us to create an audience. Who are you addressing? What do they look like, what are their needs, expectations, geographic location and habits? Pretty standard marketing. But because on the Internet we sometimes have the illusion that we can address everyone, we sometimes forget to specify our audience.

  2. Then we need to engage in interactions, dialogue and exchange. Not "likes" or impressions but more engaging actions that show real interest. In this way, it is about creating a community. "Participatory funding is not about fundraising. It's making something happen with a crowd of people who believe in something," Jozefiens Daelemans quoted by Peer to peer marketing tells us.

  3. Building trust with your audience is the third step. It requires transparency, authenticity. Successful project developers bring humanity and sincerity. Pellichi, who edits comics about her job as a researcher, shares her doubts.

  4. Develop astory, a universe, that gives a little magic and extra value to what the person is buying.

  5. Work on the home page on which web users will "land." This page to which the other media converge is the one on which much of the transformation depends, between interest and engagement. It must be alive, take up the codes, the arguments, the tone of the other media and supports.

  6. The social network accounts must converge towards a common vision. Chances are, whoever follows you on Twitter will also subscribe to the Instagram account. Using the specificities of each network, not giving exactly the same story on each will promote adherence. A repetition all in nuance, with a few surprises sometimes, and always the feeling that you are accessing new elements.

  7. Animate the community, foster the relationship and the emotional part. Let's remember that participants share, above all, values, a vision and a project. They carry an action in common, and it deserves to be encouraged!

    Participatory financing is not just collecting money, it is provoking something with people who believe in something (Jozefien Daelermans - quoted in peertopeermarketing)

  8. Propose surprises, unexpected retributions and that have meaning. For example, the names of donors can be printed on the back cover of the book or inside or even become a character in the work, for the most generous. This practice existed a few centuries ago when donors were found among the saints or angels of a painting in a church. It is nothing new. Dedications, originals, additional products are also common rewards. If relationship is important in engaging contributors, a meet and greet or hand delivery of rewards may make sense.

  9. Maintaining attention over the time of the project by bringing it into an "attention economy" This last point is not essential in the short term, since participants who have committed may receive their rewards after a few months, without doing anything and when they have forgotten they gave anything!

These steps and tips don't apply to every project. They shift the competitive field into a different space from shelves, impulse buys or three-click decisions. They take the opposite tack from companies that make speed of delivery an indispensable asset.

They also allow attendees to get to know the creators, learn about what goes on behind the scenes and sometimes even play mentor by cheering on the teams.

Illustrations: Frédéric Duriez


Peer to peer marketing-article: crowdfunding marketing accessed September 17, 2022

Kisskissbankbank - Company website

Socio-Funding Directory - Thot Cursus

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