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What we can learn from the launch of the Raspberry Pi?

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What we can learn from the launch of the Raspberry Pi?

So this is not the new fruit inspired communications tool from RIM communications the struggling makers of the Blackberry, but a credit card sized circuit board designed to inspire kids in the UK to learn to code.  Launched in the last couple of weeks the makers of this have reportedly had more hits of interest to their site than Apple in the first few weeks of the launch of the latest IPad.  

Priced at around £16 ($25 dollars) it comes as an uncased circuit board and is designed to plug in to TV's and computers and is hoped it will kick-start a new generation of - as the marketing material suggests - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  

Have a look at the launch coverage to really understand what it is.

So, as the title of this article says, what does the launch of this mean for people like us?  Being a man who likes his alliterations, I've split these into five themes that we can take from this piece of NPD into how we should be using technology to talk to our punters?  Think of it as the Raspberry Pi's 5'C's?  

These feel like, we should use technology to build platforms that build real consumer CONNECTIONS, build platforms that create the opportunity for on-going two-way CONVERSATION, design, create and publish valuable CONTENT that evolves and grows the platform and the number of connections, have an open-sourced approach to the platform that has the ability to create meaningful COLLABORATION, and use the platform to ultimately ‘market’ and drive your brand into the CULTURAL vernacular.  
Easy huh?  

You'd think so but not that many businesses have worked out the importance of harnessing the power of technology in driving these five C's and creating simple, human platforms - like the Raspberry Pi - that add immense value to their business - like the Pi will undoubtedly do for its makers – thereby creating deeper engagement, increasing the size of their audience, and changing the shape of how they communicate to their customers.

Some are though. Two good brands to learn from are GAP and Coke who are doing this in different ways.  

Seth Farbman the one year in CMO of GAP global has been reshaping the carefully constructed marketing image of GAP and has been using partnership platforms to drive the 5’c’s into his communications. With Threadless.com, GAP has created a co-creation engagement platform where budding designers are sent challenges to create clothes against.  The winning designs – in a recent case some t-shirts – then end up in the GAP store to buy.

The other well-quoted case is Coke global. Driving a content strategy that has led to 42 million people being engaged via Facebook has presented the team at Coke with their own media channel to drive a connection strategy. The recent launch of their Mark Ronson Olympic film was a testament to their new media strategy of launching longer form content to their Facebook group versus spending all their budget in paid for media.

What these things show is that understanding the role of technology and learning from how people are interacting with technology beyond our advertising walls might give us all some clues as to what we should be doing for our clients on a daily basis.

Chris Kay is managing partner at BMF.

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