14 November 2016 | 13 Comments
10 or so years ago, I spent a few hours every Sunday watching football with a few friends. One of those friends was a passionate Atlanta Falcons fan. Eric reveled in every first down and suffered with every turnover. He really loved the Falcons.
I’m a 49ers fan, but my passion for them doesn’t come close to Eric’s love for the Falcons. So I found myself rooting for the Falcons. Even to this day, unless the Falcons are playing the 49ers, I root for them. Not because I care. But because my friend cares so much.
I’m fascinated by what makes us root for teams, people, and organizations, even when it intuitively doesn’t make sense. Understanding this side of human nature can help us become more effective Kickstarter creators.
Today I have a few examples of what I find myself rooting for (even against my better judgment) and how this knowledge might be utilized in crowdfunding campaigns.
- Pioneers: This summer on American Ninja Warrior, Jessie Graff became the first woman to ever reach stage 2. Aside from her being an incredible athlete and an entertaining competitor, I rooted for her because she was the first at something. If you’re the first at something, highlight it.
- Underdogs: If you watched the Euro Championship this year, you know how big of a deal it was to see Iceland and Wales advance so far in the tournament. They’re a faction of the size of some of the bigger teams in Europe, yet they competed with the best of them, and they were fun to root for. Same with Leicester in the Premier League last year. Tell us why you’re the underdog.
- Record Breakers: Michael Phelps is a good example of this. He has dominated his sport over the last, what, 12 years? There’s no logical reason why we should be rooting for him over other athletes who would highly value 1 gold medal (compared to the 23 Phelps has). Yet I root for him every time. Share your accomplishments as humbly as possible.
- National/Local Pride: Speaking of the Olympics, I almost always root for the US even though, like Phelps, we have more than enough Olympic medals. Another comparison would be on the show Survivor. Every now and then there will be a contestant from St. Louis, and I’ll find myself rooting for them purely because they happen to live in the same city as me. Highlight where you’re from and where you live.
- Passion: As noted in the example at the beginning of this post, passion is contagious. I think part of the key is that Eric made no claims that the Falcons were the best team–I think that may have had the opposite effect. Share your passion without hyperbole.
- Personal Stories: For many shows and sporting events, the audience is presented with a number of personal stories. They make me feel for the competitors on a human level, and that’s very powerful. Share your story and show us who you are.
- Hard Workers: Shark Tank uses the above method to make audiences feel for the contestants, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me. On Shark Tank, I root for the people who have worked really hard–those are the ones whom I want the sharks to help. Convey the time and effort you’ve put into the project.
- The Generous: Every now and then, someone will go way out of their way to help Stonemaier Games. They’ll identify a need and they’ll address it, and they don’t ask for anything in return. Among those people, some of them have become Kickstarter creators. You can bet that I was there on day one to back their projects. Be proactively generous.
- Big Openings: I check the box office report every weekend to see how movies did, and it’s exciting for me to see when a movie has a strong opening. Tell us how well your project did over the first 24 hours.
- Streaks: In baseball, there is statistically no difference between a player who gets a hit at 5 out of 10 at-bats over three games and a player who gets a hit at 5 straight at-bats and then goes 0-for-5. But the hit streak is incredibly exciting to experience–I always find myself rooting for streaks of any kind. Highlight streaks like “days in a row with 20+ backers.”
- Friends: I root for my friends more than I root for myself, even when I’m competing against friends. I used to host a weekly poker night before that turned into board-game night, and every now and then I’d catch myself wanting certain friends to win even more than I wanted to win (which wasn’t good for my wallet). But I think there’s some truth to this. Real, genuine friendships matter.
That’s just a small sampling of the types of things I find myself rooting for. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this list, as well as other types of things you root for and how they might relate to crowdfunders.