Creative Mornings' Big Raise -- It Doesn't Just Happen

I wrote a blind item-type post a couple weeks ago about how working in NYC’s high creative metabolism neighborhoods allowed me to reconnect with a linchpin of the world’s creative community. Well, that linchpin was Tina Eisenberg (aka Swiss-Miss) and when I said that she is a linchpin of the world’s creative community, I wasn’t being hyperbolic. Tina is the woman behind Creative Mornings, the “monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types”, which started in NYC and now has chapters in dozens of cities around the world and which launched a Kickstarter campaign last week that blew past its goal of $35,000 in only a few hours.

It just so happened that my first day in Tina’s studio, Studiomates, was about a week before the campaign launch. I’ll never know whether the timing was serendipity or a function of Tina’s shrewd puppet-mastery — I had told her about SeizeTheCrowd when we met in the deli — but it gave me the opportunity both to observe talented people game-planning their campaign and offer up my two cents on what they might do. They were far along the right path before I ever showed up but I gave them a hand by suggesting some ways that they might maintain excitement and momentum throughout the campaign and avoid the middle-third doldrums.

This past Friday was my second day at Studiomates and I was welcomed with shouts of “perfect timing!” since Tina’s mouse was literally hovering over the “click here to launch your Kickstarter campaign” button as I entered the studio. We took a couple giddy photos and screenshots and then Tina hit “Launch”. The first supporter stepped up a minute later, both of the $10,000 rewards got snapped up in the next couple hours and the campaign was well beyond its $35,000 goal by the end of the day. Incredible.

Tina has done such an amazing job building a creative empire that Creative Morning’s eventual campaign success was to my mind a bit of a foregone conclusion. Her team, nevertheless, worked incredibly hard and did some textbook things right that allowed Creative Mornings to have such phenomenal success.

First, develop a network that is ready to jump. Not everyone will have 300,000 Twitter followers when they push their launch button but every would-be campaigner should do their best to increase their network and make sure they’re excited for the launch. Your first-degree network will be your earliest supporters and will help amplify your message to the world-at-large. (As an aside, it’ll be interesting to see whether and how the composition of backers will shift from people who were already fans of Creative Mornings to people who discovered it during the course of the campaign.)

Second, expand your appeal by leveraging other people’s networks. As a linchpin Tina is connected with other influential people and she had the good sense to get them invested in her campaign’s success by baking them into the campaign rewards. So when the campaign launched, the message was amplified and spread by these other influential people and their networks. (Jessica Hische, 47K followers; Stewart Butterfield, 6500 followers, etc.) Seeing the same campaign announced and pushed by multiple people and through several channels is important to getting people to actually take action. (I wrote about this is my post about the nature of ‘campaigns’.)

Third, have a video that communicates community but doesn’t get bogged down in detail. The Creative Mornings video is long on origin story and community and short on details and I think that’s great. In many cases the thing that motivates people to back a campaign is the opportunity to be part of (and give back to) a community and not necessarily the specific nature of the reward or thing being created. For Creative Mornings, community is the secret sauce and even though the campaign is going to fund a technology build-out they rightly focused on how the campaign will pull the community together.

I’m excited to see what Tina and her crew have up their sleeves for the next 26 days!