17 August 2016

There are many interesting facts emerging from the world of Crowdfunding. For example:

  • The most successful campaigns last between 30-39 days
  • 42% of funds are raised during the first 3 days and last 3 days of a campaign
  • Crowdfunding has created 270,000 jobs
  • Added £42.5 billion to the global economy

However, behind these facts, and the technological wizardry which allows the crowdfunding platforms to weave their magic, it may just be good old fashioned human emotion that drives the successes in this new age of business investment.

‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.’

While this quote from Shakespeare’s ‘As you like it’ may seem a little way from the world of business, if the great bard had been around now, he may have made a pretty good business coach.  He may not have had a head for figures, dabbled in the stock market or built a chain of fast food restaurants, but he knew how to connect with an audience emotionally.

An old lecturer of mine, Paul Bourne, who runs the Menagerie Theatre in Cambridge, spoke in a recent Ted Talk  about the power of personality in communication and I believe that is exactly what Shakespeare mastered.  He was reported to have a flare for storytelling; pretty handy if you aspire to be the best known storyteller in history.

And if you are looking to raise finance for your business through crowdfunding, then you had better learn to master storytelling.  Why?

  • Because your audience needs to understand what your idea is, and why you are so passionate about it, and why they should be passionate about it too.
  • Most of those visiting your page will not have a clue who you are.
  • They need to understand what you are trying to achieve…and why you are trying to achieve it.
  • They need to know when you have achieved it and what that means.

Unlike Shakespeare and his stories, which were expressed in a long and drawn out grand manner befitting the age, the modern master storyteller has to achieve this in a concise punchy manner more in tune to a 21st century audience.

The crowdfunding play has many scenes, which unfold as the curtain rises on the performance.  These start as the master storyteller weaves his spell on the audience and builds a picture that draws them in and connects them emotionally with the star performer; the video.  This short, and magical part of the performance brings all the players together, for a brief moment all the stories entwine and if done correctly, the audience is treated to a moment of emotional connection which not only raises them to their feet to applaud, and hopefully invest, but to spread the word to others about the gem they have discovered.

If Shakespeare managed to build such an emotional connection in the 16th century, which allowed for the spread of his stories, then think what a master storyteller in the 21st century can do with a great idea, modern technology and a story which builds a loyal audience.  The master storytellers of crowdfunding have managed to raise huge amounts of investment, such Brewdog (£26 million), Chapel Down Wines (£4 million) and Just Park (£3.5 million).  However, these blockbusters are just part of crowdfunding’s own story.  Even a relatively small amount, such as £3800, helped the Norfolk born Cannon brothers to launch their artisan cured meat business and continue their story.

However, some researchers (and there is plenty of conjecture in the figures) are highlighting that only around 50% of campaigns are successful and this can be linked to things as diverse as the product and to the size of your Facebook friends list. Therefore, for those businesses which see crowdfunding as the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to their investment problems, the question driving their own emotions may be, crowdfunding, ‘to be or not to be’.

Written by Nwes Growth Hub Advisor, Harry Harris.

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