When was the last time you saw a social cause culminate into a city wide phenomenon and had a digital edge to it? We’re talking Social Media and the digital world enabling an entire city to travel better, reach destinations quicker and save some money on orthopaedic doctors while at it too. No, this isn’t about a travel app or an app that tells you about the traffic, this one goes beyond the reach of that. Potholes! The pesky things on the road that contribute to your car mechanic’s income.
First here’s a background of the story.
So a few enterprising minds get together and create fillinthepotholes.com a site supporting an app allowing Mumbaikar’s to report potholes in and around the area that, and here’s the interesting part, is sent directly to the authorities concerned. This data is supplied for free in the form of crowd-sourced content and all of this from the Pothole Watch mobile app.
So where does Wishberry feature in this? – Wishberry is a crowd-funding site where an aspiring entrepreneur pitches his idea to the world through Wishberry and if this world likes it, they contribute to it monetarily in an aim to see the idea come alive.
The objective of the digital campaign and garnering attention through Social Media is
- Use Social Media to fund the app so that it comes alive
- Get the attention of the government through multiple tie-ups on the digital space.
- Get the attention of the people in general who suffer from potholes everyday (direct stakeholders of the app)
- Get the attention of brands and companies who could partner with the app ‘Pothole Watch’ app in the name of their CSR activities.
The execution of this campaign is all about crowd funding the app and how the guys over at ‘Pothole Watch’ went about using the digital space to fulfil this funding.
Conventional Social Media is all about telling a story which is exactly how the execution of this crowdfunding campaign through the digital world kicked off; with a presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s take a look at what happened platform wise.
Story telling on Instagram that followed on the other platforms as well used characters from Lego, Mario, Detective and Marvel comics (Batman and Iron Man) etc. to comically put a strong point across.
The same story telling mechanism was replicated on Facebook and drew the eye balls of Mr. Pothole himself Mark Morrel, a national campaigner on the predicament of potholes in the UK.
Facebook was also used as a tool to speak to people on the whole and invite them to add in their investments into this projects all done through creative story telling. In this, they also leveraged the popularity of Aamchi Mumbai a page with over 150k fans
How the concept of creativity imbibed within the message of fill in the potholes was subtly implied –
Here’s a few more examples
The result: People asking where they can contribute
If the above wasn’t enough, the team at Pothole Watch also reached out to brands who would like to partner with the project and get some serious recognition as a core partner accompanied by the “powered by” status bestowed upon the first big contributing brand who would contirbute Rs. 1,00,000.
To display the truthfulness and maintain transparency of the app the wireframe (rough skeleton) and the objective plan of the app was also displayed through the Facebook page.
Twitter was used as a platform to simply cross promote and tell its followers about updates in the happenings around the app.
Satirical pothole photo stories being noticed by Mumbaikars, India and abroad as well
A little more coverage through Social media Week Mumbai
Cross promoting on Twitter
Some more recognition on Twitter
It’s rather surprising how big brands fail to utilize this goldmine of a platform and a start-up with barely any funding manages to reach out to thousands through a solid video that again doesn’t miss in driving home the point through an extremely strong story.
Not surprising the video managed to rope in close to 8,500 views a great number to achieve organically
It also went ahead to showcase the wire frame of the app again through a video.
Other publishing platforms
The icing on the cake was using the crowdfunding site Wishberry as the centre of the universe for the app. Every link directed users to this destination where users were encouraged to contribute. Those who landed on the site were explained in detail about the app, the cause and effect of the project, the repercussions all through through videos, Facebook updates and news updates on the Wishberry site. Multiple levels of contribution were all felicitated in multiple ways from being featured on the app, to having a story in their name.
The app founders and the leveraged the following very effectively, all of which helped push out the reach of the app and the message on the whole.
- The effective use of Social Media on the whole using as many relevant platforms and using strong messages
- Strategic use of publications who featured Pothole Watch
- Use of a crowd funding site to get your message out there plus raise a good amount for the app.
Over and above the campaign stuck to the basics of online marketing and had a story to tell. The story though rickshaw wala’s, everyday travellers and commuters attempted to empathize with the readers and struck a positive chord thereby.
Not only that, the personification of cartoon characters as well touched hearts of many as they caught some quick eye balls and put forth the idea through a strong message using these characters. Sharing pictures of potholes with toys; quite a different approach to something so intricate.
Scope for Improvement
Though the app did well on Social Media content wise, the reach was yet extremely limited with a meagre 350 odd fans on Facebook, almost 100 followers on twitter and about 20 odd followers on Instagram.
Campaigns online could have bolstered the idea behind the project and maybe a budget set aside for social media activities would help reach out the message all the more.
Nevertheless the objective and the amount has been attained inspite of the above shortcomings
What could be concluded is that the app can be seen as an absolute saviour of a back breaking ride, as it comes in the light of a post monsoon ‘bumpy-ride’ season which could have easily been avoided.
The app seeks to change this in the year to come and what we can do in the meanwhile is sit back, relax, watch the bumps and hope the app watches out for us in the months to come with safer roads to travel on. Till then Happy driving!