After it’s crushing success as “one of the most successful Indiegogo projects of all time”, FirstBuild’s Opal Nugget Ice machine has made it’s way to tens of thousands of households through traditional e-commerce, Amazon (and Prime Day), and traditional in-store sales – and we helped make that happen.
Beginning in the Summer of 2015, VIA Studio was the strategic marketing partner for FirstBuild, the unique consumer product incubator located here in Louisville, Kentucky. (And while the Opal was our first project with FirstBuild – it certainly hasn’t been the only one.
With the exception of actually building and shipping the Opal to your home, we were involved with almost every facet of marketing and selling the Opal at FirstBuild.
A VIA History of Opal
The story of FirstBuild, and any FirstBuild product is one of constant evolution, change, and maturation. We contributed to Opal’s success with the following:
- Brand and Product Guidelines
- Post-Crowdfunding Sales and Marketing Strategy
- Digital Marketing Campaign Development and Management
- In-Depth Marketing and Web Analytics and Reporting
- Landing Page Development
- Product and Lifestyle Photography
- Integrated Ecommerce Development
- Email Marketing
- Post-Purchase Support
- Add-On Product Marketing, Sales, and Advertising
- Product Migration Support
From Crowdfunding to On-Demand Sales
In 2015 and into 2016, as we translated FirstBuild’s nascent branding into the digital realm, we worked to boost their already eye-watering sales into the stratosphere with comprehensive digital marketing and landing pages – managing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad spend to drive sales.
Product and Lifestyle Photography
A great product demands great visuals, and we worked with FirstBuild to define the guidelines, concept, plan, and shoot all principal photography of the FirstBuild Opal Nugget Ice machine, culminating in a bank of photographic assets that would power a vast array of marketing efforts.
Traditional and Non-Traditional Advertising
What is traditional any more? For us, traditional is digital, but as we move to expand our audience and present up-and-coming products as contenders against long-standing “traditional” products, we must have a multi-faceted approach.
In 2018, we conceived, shot, and launched a pair of FirstBuild Opal commercials, focused on families and adults:
A Southwest Airlines ad for Opal launched in the fall of 2018
Crowdfunding Management and Logistics Support
In late 2016, with Opal nearing it’s ship-date, we worked closely with FirstBuild to help them manage their crowdfunding communications through contact management system (CMS) management and integration with both InfusionSoft and Mailchimp, and developed address verification processes and tools to aid in the timely and accurate fulfillment of a product that was ordered by most consumers 12 months prior.
Consumer-Focused Audience Research and Targeting
As Opal’s audience grew and matured, we were on the forefront working to ensure that we were finding and talking to the right people at the right time. Moving from the tech-savvy, early-adopting crowdfunders to your everyday consumer is a dramatic shift, and requires great care to continue to build your audience.
With utmost regard for our consumer audience, we work with marketing and data partners like Facebook, Google, TowerData, Mailchimp, and others to understand all we can about our current and prospective consumers, and to work to focus on targeting consumers that want to hear our message.
In-Depth Analytics and Reporting
FirstBuild (like VIA) is constantly looking to improve – and we know the only way to do that is by constantly researching, observing, and analyzing all measurable facets of our marketing. We are responsible for developing a sophisticated marketing dashboard for Opal that is able to track the true return on of their marketing dollars in real-time.
In addition, we provided FirstBuild with regular, data-rich reporting, and in-depth analysis of the Opal’s ecosystem.
It could be said that while advertising gets them to turn their heads, it’s the email marketing that keeps them engaged. Over the past five years, we’ve worked with FirstBuild to continue to engage their Opal consumers, from post-purchase to accessory and repeat sales by defining and designing all aspects of email communications for Opal, including voice and tone development, copywriting, email design, asset development – and even real-time order tracking in your inbox with Narvar.
Amazon Prime Days
Opal might just be the perfect Amazon Prime Day purchase – an amazing “gotta have that” device that you didn’t know you needed until you saw it. Working with FirstBuild and GE Appliances, we developed original content for their Amazon listings and social media for overall awareness.
Making "The Good Ice" a Thing
With the FirstBuild Opal shipping to its original backers and on-the-shelf inventory ready to ship, we partnered again with FirstBuild and GE Appliances to help make “The Good Ice” a “thing”. We did this by expanding the Opal Nugget Ice brand to lean into the hugely passionate nugget ice fanbase (you know, the ones driving to Sonic every day) and creating new and engaging content:
Moving To The Big Leagues
After 5 years of crowd-funded excitement, the FirstBuild Opal graduated to GE Profile, becoming the GE Profile Opal Nugget Ice Maker. Like a proud parent, we are sad to see it grow up, but are so glad it exists in this world!
Are you and your product in need of comprehensive marketing strategy, creative services, and in-depth development to sell your product? We can help.