Coolhunting on Kickstarter

What is coolhunting?


For those of you who are not familiar, coolhunting refers to a breed of marketing, where ‘coolhunters’ make observations and predictions on changes of new or existing cultural trends.

The hunt is about finding the source of trends.  The idea is that if you know where the source is, you can get a head start on creating a product or selling a product that becomes a part of that trend.

Coolhunting is identifying a certain type of social influence and using it to your advantage.

What is Kickstarter?

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The platform allows creators the opportunity to create the universe and the culture that they dream of.  These creators are like entrepreneurs, looking to create the product that they see a need or a want for.

Each project is independently created.  The creator makes a page, creates the page content, and determines rewards to offer backers.  Then they are able to launch and share their product with the Kickstarter community.

Since its initial launch in April of 2009, 104,081 projects have been successfully funded and 11 million people have backed a project.

What does coolhunting have to do with Kickstarter?

Marketers are always searching for trends of consumers.

Kickstarter is interesting (with respect to coolhunting) for the following reasons:

  1. You can see what people are interested in creating. Are there similarities between projects?  What is lacking from products already in the market that makes these creators feel moved to create something new?
  2. You have access to a massive pool of consumer data. On Kickstarter you can browse through categories and see which types of products are being sponsored, and how many people within the Kickstarter community are interested in sponsoring a project.
  3. You can identify products that you can create. Maybe you identify a product that people are willing to sponsor, but that could still be improved upon. You get to see where people are headed and skip ahead a step or two.

What do you think?

 What do you think about coolhunting on Kickstarter?

How should marketers be taking advantage of coolhunting?



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4 Responses to Coolhunting on Kickstarter

  1. Camille says:

    Hi Dani,
    Thanks for this interesting post. 🙂 With so many new online platforms, it is amazing how many different ways there are to collect data and identify emerging market trends; from more traditional focus group research to amassing troves of big data search results. Collectively, I would think that methods like this and others would help companies better identify what consumers are looking for and develop more tailored products. (Perhaps even create less product flops – apparently about 80 to 90% of all new products fail). But, specifically regarding Kickstarter, I wonder how representative this research method is for all consumers. I would assume that only a certain subsection of the consumer population uses this platform, do you think this can be used as a standalone trend ‘litmus test’?

  2. arikim says:

    Great article, Dani.

    I think Kickstarter is a great platform, and I especially agree with all of the valid points you made about the affordances of the new platform. For someone who is trying to be a business owner, or having trouble entering the market, Kickstarter would be a great way to see what his/her customer base is interested in.

  3. kjvaugha says:

    This is a very interesting post. I learned about these hunters of “cool” in a class a few years ago. I totally think it is a valid way to find a trend and bring it mainstream. I believe ‘jeggings’ were an example of a trend spotted and brought worldwide. In my opinion, unfortunately, once something becomes mainstream it loses everything that made the trend cool. While it makes companies money, I think it stunts the creativity of trends and how they influence different sub-populations. In terms of Kickstarter, I am totally on board. I never thought about using Kickstarter for another purpose than what was originally intended. I can see the validity in using this database as a research tool!

  4. Noor Eid says:

    Really great post! It’s great to have a community of individuals who are sharing creative and new project ideas on platforms like kickstarter and I knew that marketers did this but didn’t know it was called coolhunting! I think it’s smart that marketers are taking advantage of the data and resources of this platform. However, it could be annoying that marketers might co-opt the ideas they come across on the platform for other brands they work for that may be able to afford to put out these products/services faster and better. It’s fascinating how products become trends and how some individuals can have a lot of influence in determining what those trends are. I think marketers will continue to take advantage of whatever platform they can to observe the way consumers engage with ideas and products.