Launch of the ideaBOOST Audience Engagement ReportAntoine van Eetvelde 12.07.2013
What is the essence of ideaBOOST
As they present themselves, ideaBOOST is a business accelerator with a difference. It targets start-ups who want to launch projects that produce either digital content or technology for the entertainment industry. Applying projects can be early-stage, mid-stage or even late-stage.
What sets ideaBOOST apart from the crowd of accelerators is that, on top of other selection criteria, projects have to get a "boost" (a vote) from the public in order to make it to the program. This unique feature validates the fit between the idea and a potential audience. It also builds a seed community for all contending projects. Once admitted, participating teams receive funding and mentorship, refining and developing their ideas using groundbreaking "audience engagement framework" and tools.
What the report is all about
Resulting of a research partnership between the CMF and the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) IdeaBOOST accelerator program, the ideaBOOST Audience Engagement Report (disponible en anglais) explores how the first cohort of IdeaBOOST accelerator participants made use of audience engagement methods at different stages of development of their projects, which methods they used and with what results. It also examines significant patterns from the findings across all participating teams. The research helped develop a methodology of case studies and cross-case analysis to compare the results of the seven teams.
The report lists the audience engagement methods that could be used by the teams. Methods have been placed on a chart based on their assumed impact on either the understanding of audiences or the interaction with them (figure 1).
Figure 1 - ideaBOOST audience engagement methods in their generic state, i.e. without regard to a particular set of circumstances.
The research drew conclusions on what worked best for the teams. Having to adapt to each team's unique circumstances, individual results mapped differently on the two axises, yet patterns could be identified.
When the goals is to gain a better understanding of audiences, these methods can be very useful:
When the goals is interacting with audiences, these methods are very useful:
In-depth case studies
Four of the seven team part of the ideaBOOST program are the subject of an in-depth analysis: AsapSCIENCE, Ghost Town Project, Ramen Party and Rollers of the Realm. For each, the report provides a description of the project (value proposition, target audience and goals for entering ideaBOOST), an overview of its journey through the program (engagement methods and platforms used, findings from the research) and the impact of the experience on the project and its future.
With respect to the ideaBOOST program itself, early-stage projects were the ones that benefited most from the program on a project development level. Impact of the program on mid- and late-stage projects was more measurable on the company level, gaining brand recognition and expanding beyond their core audiences.
The research identified a number of "habits" that were common to the most successful projects of the program and that could be relevant to other projects in the entertainment industry:
- They sought to grow a business and not just a product, using business design tools to target a relevant customer segment - value proposition relationship;
- They engaged with potential audiences very early in their projects and invited these audiences to contribute to the development of their projects;
- To maximize the impact of audience engagement, they used and adapted audience understanding methods to (in)validate the project's riskiest assumptions;
- They developed the type of fans that were needed to their projects, creating a space for them to play and learn of they did not exist or were tentative.