The small business industry has been growing, but MasterCard was offering no reason for small businesses to prefer its services. Perception of the brand as one that "truly understands the needs of small business owners" dropped to 7% from 7.9% YOY in early 2015.
We had an opportunity to create a platform that would increase brand affinity and usage intent of MasterCard by small business owners.
Our objectives were to achieve the following over 3 months:
While other credit card brands are focused on local businesses that have been around for years, we found that over 400,000 small businesses get started annually in the United States.
Yet, about 50% of them go out of business by their 4th year). Some of the leading causes of failure: lack of money and proper exposure.
That's why we created the Priceless Elevator Pitch, to give new small business owners an opportunity to earn funding and awareness. The ask was simple: step into our elevator and, in 60 seconds, tell us why your business matters.
We wanted participants to have an immersive pitching experience, so we built our Priceless Elevator to have intuitive recording capabilities, while still feeling like a real elevator. We even rolled out a red carpet and featured a bellboy to host participants.
Each 60-second pitch video was immediately posted on MasterCard's Twitter to create exposure for its business and to be shared as a digital business card by each participant.
In order to maximize participation among the right audience, we installed our Priceless Elevator Pitch at SXSW and the Northside Festival, 2 festivals known for attracting entrepreneurs and owners looking to expand their business.
We published articles and videos on Mashable.com, featuring Brooklyn Bridge Venture's Charlie O'Donnell, to raise awareness and give attendees tips for perfecting their pitch.
During the activation, the experiences were live-streamed on Meerkat and Periscope to create exposure for the businesses, attract attendees and showcase our activations to those who were unable to attend.
After all submissions were in, a panel of professional judges decided which ideas were the best and MasterCard awarded the winners with funding.
Two grand winners received a $15K check towards their business; two runner ups received $75K in Spredfast credits, a platform that helps companies maximize exposure online, and online advertising units; and 9 finalists received $250 prepaid gift cards.
After 2 installations, over 330 entrepreneurs stepped in and pitched their businesses. Guest appearances included Left Shark, Sir Mix a Lot, and Hulk Hogan.
The Priceless Elevator Pitch was featured in Fortune, Entrepreneur and Yahoo, earning us over 3,000 mentions, 40,000 engagements and 4,000,000 impressions.
MasterCard was also recognized for being the first major brand to trend on Meerkat.
With major success, we out performed our objectives: