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BuzzFeed's latest viral product does not have its name on it



Last summer, by the time the craze for the fidget spinner was hanging, a brilliant trend on the internet hit trend. The Glamspin is a drifting spinner, the virally popular toy for distracted hands, but with added lip gloss pots at the end of each lobe. Here is! Glamspin snatched a little more life, and the $ 10 article was a bestseller right out of the box.

This kind of genius is not an accident, however: The Glamspin was designed for the teen-oriented Taste Beauty. By employees of BuzzFeed Commerce after seeing that many people reading articles about fidget spinners on the site have also clicked on articles on the gloss.

Fast forward one year, and BuzzFeed has created a new business area Brands, and helping them develop products and solve business challenges: BuzzFeed Partner Innovation.

The name may not be deep (or smart), but the challenges that this division of BuzzFeed Commerce is intended for are. Traditional brands are lost between Amazon on the one hand and Instagram on the other hand, and those who realize it are experimenting more and more with how to create products to respond more quickly to consumer trends and reach their audience directly. .

For BuzzFeed, of course, the problems are no less important. Under growing pressure from digital media brands to generate revenue from unexpected sources, the board is a potentially rich source of high-margin revenue for BuzzFeed, which would have missed its revenue target of 15% to 20% and downsized by 8% in 2017.

Partner Innovations, has been quietly providing business services since last August, from the lawn care giant Scotts Miracle Gro to the Maybelline cosmetics brand, and is overseen by two pioneers of the digital commerce. Ben Kaufman, who heads BuzzFeed Commerce, joined the company in 2016 to start the division after creating outsourced outsourced product startup Quirky, best remembered for his internet-connected egg tray (and perhaps for Kaufman as well). Quirky sells for $ 15 million in a bankruptcy sale). His partner, Jake Bronstein, has made a name for himself thanks to Buckyballs, a very popular desktop game on office toys (and dangerous for consumer safety), then he chained with a crowdfunded hit of American clothing. by Flint & Tinder

Kaufman and Bronstein. use data from BuzzFeed's e-commerce and editorial operations, as they did for Taste Beauty, to develop new products for customers. The name BuzzFeed is often not associated with products or campaigns that it helps to develop. At the same time, the team does not disclose the identity of most of the companies it works with, but Bronstein says, "Customers are contacting us to find larger solutions than BuzzFeed. We use the unique ideas we have to help them. "

A sprint for the finished product

Innovation Partner is working with customers in five-day sprints, charging them a package for the time.Kaufman says sprints are meant to produce" fully cooked products and marketing campaigns as well as manufacturing cost estimates. "He adds:" On the fifth day, if we build something, we will have functional prototypes. "(This sounds like a notable departure from Quirky, where Kaufman later admitted that he was spending too much money to chase ideas that he could not scale.)

For each project, the leaders associate a team of editors and BuzzFeed salespeople, external experts such as startup founders, Instagram influencers and business leaders in customer-related fields. "The experts who work with us are often drawn to the project because of BuzzFeed, "says Bronstein. "They might not answer a call from Scotts, but they think working with us on a project for Scotts is intriguing."

For Maybelline, whose project was launched last week, the BuzzFeed team created beauty bundles. Kaufman and Bronstein brought together beauty writers, Amazon experts, influencers, merchandisers and illustrators, and Maybelline brought in its own experts, including employees from its social media and public relations teams. The challenge was to design a product and marketing strategy that would punctuate Amazon's Prime Day, an event where customers typically look for large "buster" transactions rather than relatively inexpensive items such as makeup.

BuzzFeed had previously produced sponsored content articles for Maybelline, so the company was receptive when they were contacted by Partner Innovation about a sprint session. "BuzzFeed could tell us what kids are looking for and what is trendy and what people will buy," said Maybelline Senior Vice President Amy Whang. "We are always looking to respond quickly to the market, so we wanted something we could put together in a few months."

The work started on a Monday, and the group had a prototype ready and a production plan in place. Seven weeks after the sprint – and in time for the first day – thousands of fundraisers had been made. Bronstein says that the approach of his team allowed Maybelline to make a quick decision. "In a lot of companies, 80% of projects die because it's too much work to get them through, but we found that for our projects, because everything is ready, decisions are often made on the field "[19659003DemêmelorsqueScottsMiracleGroétaitàlarecherched'unproduitd'abonnementquipourraitintéresserlesmillennialsintéressésparlejardinageilssesonttournésversBuzzFeedPattiZieglervice-présidentedumarketingetdescommunicationsexplique"Lesidéesqu'ilsontpufournirsurlecomportementmillénaireétaientplusétroitesquetoutcequenousaurionspunousconcentrersurnousourselves"

. service that will be available soon. Lunarly will deliver a new plant according to the phases of the moon and comes with ceremonial accessories like crystals or palo santo and sage.

The Fifth Pillar

Partner Innovations is now one of the five pillars of BuzzFeed Commerce as discrete businesses. The division earns money through BuzzFeed brand licenses: Tasty branded cookware is sold at Walmart, and the company also produces custom wine, for example, as well as Merch events and its strategy aggressive to take advantage of affiliate links. Kaufman said BuzzFeed is forecasting three-digit growth for its Commerce business this year.

Agencies started to launch brands and products for a while, with customers cutting back on their advertising spend and agencies needing to find other sources of revenue. But according to Kaufman, "sprints are not necessarily a growth driver for BuzzFeed, they are more like an additional resource to offer to partners." Bronstein adds, "If a partner is satisfied with our work and able to see the value of our knowledge through the sprints, they could collaborate with the BuzzFeed trade in other ways."

Still, if you want to reach the young, the plateau guy and the Buckyballs guy argue that there is no better team to exploit than theirs. As Bronstein says, "If you need to think of Generation Y, then why would you call McKinsey for help?"


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