Thingtesting: Launching a Brand Discovery and Testing Digital Community
Thingtesting, a brand discovery and testing digital community devoted to uncovering and exploring direct-to-consumer brands, had just received seed funding and was contemplating a second year of growth. The new year brought many challenges, as founder Jenny Gyllander had to decide how to scale her fledgling company. As the company matured, she had to decide what role she would play going forward: should she continue to operate as head curator and content developer of her own reviews or open up her platform to invite and crowdsource the reviews of her followers. Her value proposition positioned her at the nexus of several different audiences: millennial consumers eager to try new brands, venture capitalists eager to invest in them, and the companies and brands themselves, who were interested in seeing their new products succeed. What was the best path to monetizing the business? As Gyllander navigates the emerging landscape of influencer marketing, she needs to decide how to transform her online audience into a co-creating community and how to best wield her own influence to create value for her followers and other constituencies in a way that could fund a profitable business model.