Communication of a crowdfunding campaign, i.e. find your investor in the crowd

At the beginning of July this year, the crowdfunding campaign of Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi came to an end. The company, which is not widely known on the market, obtained funding of PLN 2.54 million from its new shareholders, thus ranking 6th in the history of equity crowdfunding collections (finding itself among such well-known brands as Wisła Kraków, PINTA and Doctor Brew). Magda Gessler became the ambassador of the campaign. Was a well-known name enough to achieve success? Not necessarily. Behind the success of the collection is, among other things, an intensive, engaging communication campaign.

Social equity crowdfunding involves - in a nutshell - obtaining funds for growth in exchange for shares in a company. In recent years, equity crowdfunding has gone from strength to strength, tempting more and more entrepreneurs, especially start-ups. The undoubted advantage of this form of funding is, in addition to raising capital, the chance to gather a community of shareholders around your brand, who very often become a kind of brand ambassadors. And it is precisely this kind of 'community marketing' that is extremely valuable for companies that have been operating on the market for a relatively short time. Companies that already have loyal fans around them (e.g. Wisła Kraków) successfully use this fact for communication, promotion and crowdfunding campaigns.

How do we encourage potential co-owners to invest in the company and buy our shares? Before answering this question, it is first worth thinking about how to reach the aforementioned group with information about your offer. In order to do this, it is necessary to start from the beginning, i.e. by creating a well-thought-out communication strategy, including an audit of the current situation, clearly defined communication and business objectives, a communication concept or consistent and effective tools.

In the case of Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi, we began by defining our target group. In fact, anyone (18+) can be a potential shareholder of a kraft spirits producer, even for the mere fact of owning and boasting a shareholder certificate. To be a co-owner of a craft spirits company? That sounds good enough to tempt many potential investors.

We have therefore relied on extensive communication, taking into account several strategic audiences:

- the local community, which knows the company and has a sentimental attachment to its premises (the historic Szczytno Brewery is the last of the famous Warmia and Mazury Breweries in operation);

- individual investors who follow industry news in the business media;

- lovers of craft spirits, which, due to the kraft revolution in the beer segment that has been underway for several years, are conquering shop shelves;

- fans of Magda Gessler, who, as an ambassador for the campaign, encouraged not only to invest, but also the opportunity to meet her side by side at the Annual General Meeting.

In the case of Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi, it was also a challenge to identify communication channels and its main messages. Both the specific activity of the company (operating in the alcohol industry, for known legal reasons, limited the spectrum of possible tools) and the fact that the brand itself was not known to a wider audience, apart from the aforementioned local community, did not help here. It is also worth mentioning that we started the collaboration quite spontaneously, in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign. Therefore, we missed the chance to prepare a solid PR campaign, as well as to inform the media about the launch of the action itself, and as we all know, it is the beginning and the finale of a crowdfunding campaign that usually arouses the greatest emotions and favours the interest of journalists.

We opted for a diverse reach, depending on the media to which we provided press materials. In the business and trade media, we emphasised first and foremost the potential of kraft alcohol production in Poland, as well as the ambitious plans and achievements of Manufaktura itself (the declining company, which operated under the name Tarpan Fabryka Likierów, was taken over two years ago by a charismatic young entrepreneur, Jakub Gromek. He created a family business in the Szczytno Brewery and carried out a deep restructuring, bringing the company out on a limb. This is how Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi was established). We reached the lifestyle media and gossip sites by "using" Magda Gessler, who became an ambassador of the campaign. In addition, we conducted an intensive communication campaign in the local media and involved selected influencers thematically linked to the spirits market.

As a result, information about the crowdfunding campaign of Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi appeared simultaneously in Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Olsztyńska and, among others. In this way, one week after the start of our communication campaign, Mazurska Manufaktura Alkoholi collected almost PLN 500 thousand!

All of this was also accompanied by communication in the social media of Mazurska Manufaktura. Communication on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, forums and thematic groups was, on the one hand, diverse in terms of target groups and, on the other hand, consistent in the context of our stated objectives. It is worth emphasising that a social media crowdfunding campaign is distinguished from standard communication by the intensity of the messages. Its implementation is also associated with legal restrictions and the need to verify posts with the FSC.

It should also be mentioned that an important element influencing the success of the entire crowdfunding campaign is the involvement of the company's managers. In the case of Mazurska Manufaktura, we observed with enthusiasm the President of the Management Board, Jakub Gromek, who actively participated in every promotional activity while being fully available to the agency, media and investors.

What happened next? We did not slow down. We informed the media about the company's IPO plans, about Manufaktura's plans to revive Jurand beer, legendary in Warmia and Mazury, and finally we organised a competition to win a dinner with Magda Gessler herself. With so little time (we started cooperation in mid-May and the end of the campaign was on 1 July this year), we tried to use it as efficiently as possible, remaining in constant contact with journalists. The result? PLN 2.54 million of capital raised and more than 1,000 new shareholders, more than 150 mentions of the share in the media space, and more than half a million of advertising reach on social media and Google. And actually, nothing more needs to be added!!! 🙂


Text author: Martyna Dziopak