Contests & Giveaways that Work

ICangles Communications Post…

With the holiday season of giving now upon us it seemed the perfect time to write a post on designing a corporate contest or giveaway. The best corporate contests draw interest, clearly distinguish your company and educate audiences about your products. Of course doing all that is easier said, and many companies resort to giving away pens or bouncing balls featuring their logo at trade show booths. Nevertheless the contest giveaway this year of a client I work with serves as an excellent case study of how to creatively market not just a product, but a new technology, and to go beyond the traditional trade show in doing so.

Validity develops biometric fingerprint sensors that are currently featured on laptop computers, and this year they began holding a creative giveaway that we codenamed the Cinderella Contest. The original concept was simple. Wherever the company could setup a booth or display people would be invited to use the company’s fingerprint scanning technology, in order to win a free computer (ideally from a supportive OEM partner). Users would enter the contest by scanning their fingerprints into the computer via Validity’s security technology. Participants would then come back at a later designated time, and again swipe their finger. If the computer security system accepted their fingerprint and opened they would win the laptop—similar to Cinderella in the fairy tale finding her foot matching the mythical glass slipper.

What made this contest such a great concept was that not only did it draw interest (the right prize can always do that), but it clearly distinguished Validity and marketed the company’s new embedded technology. Validity’s tagline is ‘Ease of Use, Ease of Mind’ and the contest perfectly communicated this value proposition. Participants directly experienced the ease of use of the technology, as the contest registration process mirrored configuring the technology for their personal use. And they also learned about its peace of mind benefits as the contest demonstrated how a laptop would only be accessible to its user. In this simple contest participants thus learned the key benefits of Validity’s biometric technology.

The contest concept is versatile in that it can be held at a staffed booth or run autonomously in a product display, can feature giveaways other than a laptop and can be designed to give an immediate winning response, but it is also simple in that it always educates participants about Validity’s fingerprint sensor technology. Whether the contest is held at a trade show to educate influencers, like editors, in a high-volume retail store to reach end-users, or at a back-to-school event at a college university to reach the new generation of high-tech users, it succeeds in educating all of them in the easy-to-use security benefits of this new technology. Most recently Validity held a contest at a San Francisco music concert. You can’t really ask for a corporate giveaway, especially for an embedded technology, to do much more. It sure beats giving away pens.

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