Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lab Rats - The Packaged Deal

Consumers not only need simplicity, clarity, personal relevance, and emotional appeal, so do group/community members. If is often a task to generate creative ways to make someone feel a part of something larger than themselves and to feel 'invited.' I felt honored when receiving my package in the mail after accepting the invitation. Cabell Harris, founder of Work Labs, has unique gene in his DNA to develop the complete package.

Lab Rats is just one example of a unique way to package a program from top to bottom.

Lab Rats started recruiting “Alpha Rats,” in 2010, a group of well-known brand marketers and creative thinkers who are experienced in all facets of brand management and brand development, from account planning to brand strategy and from ad writing and art direction to the digital space. Beyond that group will be a much larger group of several hundred “Lab Rats,” the majority being graduates of the prestigious VCU Brandcenter, the number one advanced degree advertising program in the world. The core of the project will be made up of an army of disruptive thinkers contributing their thoughts and ideas to solve problems.

The innovative initiative is designed to reengineer the
concept of crowdsourcing to make it a pragmatic tool for focusing the
thinking of experts from many different disciplines on specific brand
problems. “The trouble with crowdsourcing, in a general sense, is the
quality of the crowds,” said Harris.
"This new effort, which I call ‘brandsourcing,' solves that problem by assembling a crowd of pedigreed ‘Lab Rats’ that can take on a client challenge, provide feedback and generate ideas that are on strategy and focused on tangible, bottom-line business results.”

In addition to addressing the crowd quality issues, Lab Rats has also
designed a unique compensation model. According to Harris, “Lab Rats
need ‘cheese’ to keep them fueled up and engaged, and we’ve designed a
compensation system that departs from the traditional model of paying
crowd participants. Briefly, the system serves up four basic types of
cheese. First, we are investing significant dollars in the Lab Rats
community website to give Lab Rats a place to meet their interests and
needs and to interact with other Rats. Second, they will get cheese
points whenever they give feedback on WORK Labs’ own work, points that
are ultimately redeemable for cash or merchandise. Third, when they
participate in a project, they are compensated for the ideas clients
accept and again if they agree to continue their participation in the
ongoing scope of work. And, finally, they will receive a 10% finder’s
fee if they are successful in finding a home for one of WORK Labs’
intellectual properties. So, active Lab Rats can get fat eating a lot
of cheese!”

One product that needs a home: