Since rebranding as Modify Watches in October of last year, the Atlanta- and Berkeley, Calif.-based watch company has faced an identity crisis: Are its consumers taste-making 15-year-old sneaker enthusiasts or hip 60-year-old women?
“It’s a funky thing,” said Aaron Schwartz, director of player personnel at Modify Watches. “We struggle because we’re trying to please both sides. We’re not a mass-market company. We’re not looking to create 10,000 [units] of any one design. Our manufacturing run is really small, so as much feedback as we can get from people, that’s how we can produce.”
To solve this problem, Modify Watches rolled out crowd-sourcing platform Napkin Labs‘ Brainstorm app to its Facebook Page in November. The app allows brands to create virtual, interactive focus groups that integrate with the Facebook platform. Modify ran a competition that asked consumers to submit potential partners for co-branded products. The merchant awarded a free watch to the consumer whose idea received the most “Likes.” An idea to incorporate the Wounded Warrior Projected edged out a pitch to feature a revolving set of charities. Schwartz said the company pushed back the Dec. 2 deadline because of the volume of submissions it received.
Modify Watches appreciates long feedback threads generated by consumer content and it updates individual feedback posts for weeks. The lengthy threads permit deep-dives on product ideas but, when published to a Facebook Page’s Wall, can require latent consumers to “scroll forever,” Schwartz explained.
“We’re trying to make the brand about what [the company’s consumers] want. If you look at our Facebook Page, we put up a picture and immediately we repost with a poll,” he said. “We can’t have a discussion around it [because] in five hours that post is going to get buried.”
But the Brainstorm app, which helps solve this issue, isn’t optimal for every scenario. Schwartz said it’s easier to generate interactions within an hour when posting to the Wall. Also, for brands that want their feedback solicitation to scale broadest, the app’s participation form introduces a bit of friction, which is good for Modify Watches because the brand aims to limit Brainstorms to consumers willing to constructively participate.
For example: As opposed to incentivizing consumers to “Like” Modify’s Facebook page, the Brainstorm partnership enables consumer feedback, which allows Modify Watchers to determine its next products. “[If] we [promote] a prize that’s low enough [so as to not lead a flood of consumers to overshare] we get much better feedback,” he said.