More often than not, startups aren’t just creating new products, they’re creating new categories. A new thing within a new thing, so to speak. Uber is the product, ride-sharing is the category. Roku is the product, streaming is the category. You get it.
But launching new products in new categories causes a marketing dilemma: Talk about the category too much and risk ignoring your own brand. Focus too much on product specifics and risk confusing your audience.
This was on our mind when we started talking to Opendoor; the San Francisco startup that’s disrupting the real estate market. The basic premise: If you want to sell your home, Opendoor will make you an offer in just 24 hours and you can close in a few days or weeks. Whatever is best for you. The entire transaction happens online. And since the company began operating, others have followed suit creating an entirely new category in the real estate market.
But when we began working together on a campaign to launch the brand in new markets, we had to confront the original question: how do you launch a product when no one’s heard of the category?
We know from our initial research, and a healthy dose of personal experience, that the category is riddled with emotion. Selling a home is a frustrating, stressful process almost always accompanied by some major life event. Understanding and tapping into the emotional problem is key. If you can capture the emotion inherent in the problem, you’ll have an audience for the solution.
After working together on a strategy, we dug further into their research with customers. The pain points they uncovered were the stress and uncertainty that comes with selling a home, along with how long the whole thing takes.
It was immediately embraced by everyone on the Opendoor team and we dug in to collaborate on the idea. Together we wrote and rewrote the script, talked about visual treatments and shooting styles and started the search to find the perfect director.
A few months later, we went down to LA to shoot for two days with Sam Fleischner and All Day Every Day. It was an ambitious number of scenes to get shot in two days. And even more ambitious to cut into 60, 30 and 15 seconds. That task went to the fabulous Drew Blatman.
In the end, the campaign launched in Raleigh with TV, outdoor, radio, digital and social. We doubled brand awareness and market share, while conversion rates and website traffic increased dramatically. The idea successfully tapped into the emotion people could relate to. And positioned Opendoor as a simple solution to a long-standing problem.