Small players disrupt the ‘big brand’ dominance

Everyone loves an underdog comes good story and in today’s market, with crowd funding technology and our appetite for creativity and the unique, there has never been a better time for someone to make it big, on a whim and a prayer.
The “big is better” dominance is starting to dissipate as small boutique players nudge market leaders sideways, to take their time in the sun.
Etsy and Kickstarter reflect the return of the values of artisan, inventor and creator. On Kickstarter we are seeing niche disruptive plays that should make any company who thinks “I am big therefore I am” get hot under the collar. Size is no longer the barrier to entry it once was.
Kickstarter is tossing up some new trends and ideas that are speeding up the pace of innovation and shifting the power away from deep pockets, back to the ‘great idea’ and a democratic marketplace.

Kickstarter keeps on breaking its own records, tripling the amount of funds raised in 2012 from the pervious year and increasing the amount raised per venture.

Pebble Watch, a smart watch, which synchs with your android or iphone raised $10,266,844 on Kickstarter in 2012, pledged by 68,928 people. Pebble Watch is customisable with apps to help you exercise, pick the music of your choice and monitor incoming calls and messages through Bluetooth.

You don’t even have to raise lots of money to get going. Recently Hudson Watch Company started with just over $100,000 Kickstarter dollars by a husband and wife team with no experience in watch design.

This is all part of the rise of the amateur brands, the Hudson River Watch Company brand says it all local (New York identity), boutique and amateur, values which hit the sweet spot of today’s consumer. Like Warby Parker the amateur start up eye glasses company, the Hudson River Watch Company was born out of the founders search for affordable good taste, something they found lacking and set out to change. See their range at

By using the community Hudson River Watch Company built through its Kickstarter beginnings and online pre orders, they will launch their range without advertising in August 2013.

Lunatick a technology and lifestyle business, also entered the world through its Kickstarter routes. Uncoventional in all ways, including its channels to market Lunatik, have a great new app that enlists customers as sales people. Through a reward and discount referral system, Lunatik allows its loyal customers to make a referral with the click of an app. This peer to peer marketplace will become a model for others to follow, after all customer get customer programs have always been the best way to build market share.

So remember, ideas are the new currency, peers the new sales people and communities are the new marketplace. Even if you are big, co create with your community of customers to keep them engaged, and to keep grass root freshness in your business. Hearts and Minds research has shown the most powerful way for a customer to buy into your brand is by enlisting them as a co creator, something the Kickstarter amateurs are discovering first hand.

Louise Kelly
Managing Director
Hearts and Minds

Founder Thought Leaders Circle

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