Launching BumpTop – Encouraging a Viral Spread Of News Online
Merredith Branscombe managed BumpTop’s introduction of its 3-D multi-touch desktop to the world in a launch that leveraged traditional media relations and the viral spread of news on the Internet.
BumpTop’s innovation is an alternative to replace the standard Windows desktop. Users can customize the style of their desktop and organize files and other program icons in a flexible way that helps them be more productive.
The team’s mission was to launch the product with the objective of reaching OEMs, the investment community and consumers. One caveat: The team only had a four-week window to pull off the launch due to a deadline imposed by investors.
The BumpTop product was best explained using visuals, so the team knew that pictures and video would be essential to the launch. It worked with BumpTop to create easily linkable and shareable visuals to facilitate awareness on Twitter, Facebook and other social media portals. Because the product definitely had the “cool factor,” the team knew that individuals would be interested in sharing it using these tools – and the team made it easy for them to do so.
The team also built an online microsite with the press release, video and stills of the visually arresting product, which made it easy for journalists to write their stories with or without pre-briefings. www.organizeyourdesktop.com
To trigger the viral effect in the online sphere, the team targeted influential blogs with the news. The team secured a who’s who of blue-chip properties with coverage on Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, jkOnTheRun, WebWare and VentureBeat, among others.
To ensure the targeted bloggers would write about BumpTop, the team offered them several hundred premium codes to give to their readers – the links to which were shared on the site and passed along on Twitter. This did indeed create a viral effect: at launch time, tweets featuring “BumpTop” were coming in at around 100 per hour. But perhaps the best indicator of the story’s legs lay in making the Techmeme front page.
Securing Heavyweight Business Media
Leveraging the multimedia tools, the team was able to land meetings with and resulting coverage in high-profile business publications such as BusinessWeek,The Wall Street Journal, and ABC News. Other heavyweight outlets such as CNN.com and Entertainment Weekly covered the BumpTop launch without conducting a pre-briefing – They composed their pieces entirely with elements from the microsite.
What set the stage for the avalanche of attention involved developing and packaging the right content. At the 10,000-foot level, the built BumpTop’s story around the fact that the computer desktop has essentially remained the same for the past 30 years.
The team heard over and over again that its targets were delighted with the microsite and the thorough information it provided in one easy-to-access place.
Several months after the initial BumpTop launch, the team was tasked with helping the company announce its compatibility with Windows 7, which enabled multi-touch support.
Again, the team leveraged a video to communicate the product’s full functionality.
In this round of outreach, the team found that the online media world saw the company as a proven commodity due to the high-profile coverage it had landed a launch time. Additionally, online properties had found that because of the product’s “cool factor,” covering it actually brought in clicks to their own sites. In fact, TechCrunch went so far as to break the embargo to get a jump on the competition.
Once the TechCrunch piece hit, the team had to contact all of its other targets to give them the OK to post their stories. The Agency again offered premium targets 200 free invitations to try the pro version of the product, which encouraged posting and additional traffic to BumpTop’s site.
This strategy proved successful – BumpTop noted that 20 percent of TechCrunch readers converted to the pro version after sampling the free version of its product.