During the summer of 2019, Forum was approached by Nantmobility leadership to develop brand messaging and bring to market a high-end, innovative electric scooter. The original product design was developed by Nathan Allen of the ArtCenter College of Design in 2016 and further developed by Nantmobility executives and famed product design studio RoBrady.
The project was no small feat as most products in this particular market had a small footprint and size – while the Stator was meant to bring elegance and quality to a crowded (and new) marketplace.
HOW WE HELPED
Given Stator / Nantmobility was a startup, we knew upfront that the version of our messaging and branding at launch would not be where we would land a year later. So, we planned an iterative process for the brand’s development. Our initial engagement was focused on ongoing marketing and 2 agile brand phases as the startup organization worked to bring the product to market.
In the first phase, we developed the initial Stator brand, its messaging and worked to build PR buzz around the product’s initial offering, the Stator LE (launch edition). Iteration two further established the Nantmobility brand – similar to other major automotive brands – as Stator was the first product line under the Nantmobility umbrella. As the brand evolved – we extended our brand color palette and added additional patterns. In addition, we built an alternative look for a prospective business opportunity that was not used but is shared here for the first time.
Brand Iteration One
Brand iteration Two
All in the Details
Throughout the process, we faced a myriad of challenges due to COVID-19: scheduled and cancelled PR events with major rock and pop artists, influencers, major music festivals and major sporting events; challenges in access to specific parts and partners; and, product cloning and even fake companies advertising and claiming on social media to offer the Stator LE.
First, much of our PR plan focused on the use of influencers. Through connections we were able to arrange a number of high profile events including a top 40 pop star driving the product on stage, rock and heavy metal bands using the scooter at music festivals and even participation at some of the world’s largest sporting events for vehicles. However, when things began to shut down in 2020, our PR plan changed dramatically. Those event opportunities collapsed (because they didn’t happen!) and we had to adjust. Instead, we focused on video content and seeking opportunities to drive buzz without being able to be on location. We directed video content remotely using GoPros and local video crews in Florida, while editing content in our offices and leveraging Facebook Live for communication to stakeholders when needed. We also partnered with electric performance enthusiast, inventor, first-ever Tesla race car driver and two-time Pikes Peak winner Blake Fuller as an influencer in all of our ride and drive videos as well as Facebook Live events. He was even kind enough to feature the product on his own vlog.
Following the product’s pre-order launch just in early 2020, apparently hackers got bored. In the second quarter of 2020, a myriad of “fake” websites began selling a non-existent version of the Stator scooter. Customers who ordered the “scooter” from these websites would receive empty boxes or even empty shampoo bottles (weird, right?!?). Utilizing communication, legal, PR and social media efforts we were able to quell much of this activity – although it presented a challenge throughout our engagement.
Regarding supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, we were also forced to focus on communicating with customers when and where available. Parts became difficult to get and given the startup nature of the organization, up front costs were difficult, specifically when other manufacturers were buying in larger bulk. Following an initial launch of pre-orders in early 2020, the company eventually refunded pre-orders in early 2021 and shifted their business strategy.
While we saw success on a number of fronts, including the amazing creative work and success with both events and PR. For instance, Stator participated at the 2020 Miami International Boat Show – partnering with a major yacht manufacturer for a custom version of the Stator LE. In addition, our PR efforts for the product launch in January 2020, drove interest in the product more than 400% across the web and just one tweet from the Verge generated an estimated media value of more than $100,000.
Miami International Boat Show