Last year, the BumeBox team had a one-off chance. They met Marc Jacobs and told him about their product – a near-perfect integration of social media over video content. They sold the fashion brand on testing out BumeBox during the Marc Jacob’s 20-minute catwalk show at New York Fashion Week. At the end of the show, viewers posted 18,000 Tweets, and the brand was the only one to trend on Twitter during Fashion Week. When Jon Fahrner, CEO of BumeBox got back to his room that day, he check the clickthrough rate. It was 20 percent (0.3 percent is considered average). BumeBox is a pretty neat idea.
“Just having a ‘neat idea’ doesn’t get very far,” says Fahrner, of the team’s success with BumeBox, who “leveraged all [their] contacts along the way to get a shoe in the door.” The company today announces their partnership with B Productions, a company that produces video for 120 brands at Fashion Week. “We’re offering something that’s totally different,” says Fahrner.
“The leaps of faith these people have taken with us” have been enormous says Fahrner. For fashion brands, they hinge their year’s success on those 20 minutes on the catwalk twice a year. The production needs to be perfect in order to get the right message out to fashion buyers in the audience. But BumeBox may be able to help brands get a better read on what customers want. Through the feedback that BumeBox receives they can estimate the interest in differing items throughout fashion shows by who’s posting what. BumeBox, which owns a patent for its tech, offers tiered expenses depending on what the company wants to do and provides stats for a brand’s customers are looking, and Tweeting, about. Their app sits on top of the streaming video so users can post related content to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
While they’re currently focused on this very specific vertical, Farhner says they’re not about the events, but the content, and understand that they must respect the nuances of the different industries. They’ve covered everything including red carpet events in the UK, including the release of Titanic 3D, which set a box office record in China.
The team launched with just $15,000 and leveraged all their contacts along the way to get a shoe in the door, says Farhner. They managed all work for free for the first six months while pushing the product out before raising $300,000 from AngelList. It may have also helped that Jon started out at Zappos and seemingly retains that same culture with his team in their relatively human-intensive app – which when he describes what’s involved in producing a 20-minute catwalk show sounds more like a live television production than a social sharing application.
BumeBox is aiming to disrupt the advertising agencies by pushing actual content in front of real people and receiving live feedback direct from customers.
Fahrner sees BumeBox’s goal now is to try to “[get] more data for the brand, with fun interactions in a premium quality way.” But admits that “[it’s like] a stealth bomber, we’re the only ones who know how fly it.”
As for digital agencies, Farhner belives that brands that only use social media to listen to customers on a daily basis aren’t getting much feedback. He thinks this industry is ripe for disruption by solid technology that listens to real events. BumeBox, says Farhner, listens when something is happening, making it a “real-time mass focus group.”