The Story of Osmo: Crowdfunding America’s New Play Movement

Osmo is a company we launched in 2014. It’s an award-winning game system changing how kids interact with their iPad by opening it up to hands-on play.

 

We worked with Osmo to position them as the leader of a new play movement, one that bridges the physical and online worlds for the ultimate hands-on education experience, and to help drive sales of the product.

 

Our analysis of the market revealed that parents were already up to their ears in children’s apps – and challenged to find the best in a sea of hundreds of thousands in the App Store. Once they found the right app, the fear of increasing screen time posed another concern. On top of that, very few physical education toys existed outside of LEGOs, and marketing such products involved million dollar budgets to compete with established education apps and franchises like Rovio Angry Birds.

How We Did It

 

Brand & Messaging Development

 

Not just another education tech tool: we positioned Osmo, which stands for “awesome+mobile,” as the start of a “new play movement,” a technologically-advanced system that unleashes the boundaries of the screen.

 

Osmo turns the physical space in front of an iPad into an input for a digital screen. The relationship between the software and hardware had never been introduced to the market before, so it was critical that we find balance between the amplifying the technical advancements and the cool factor.

To this end, we created the concept of ‘Reflective AI’ – technology that puts the physical world back into digital play. Parents understood the value of children literally using their hands to draw things on paper in front of the iPad – boosting fine motor skills, creativity, the sharing of pencils and paper.

 

We made sure to keep our messaging focused on play vs. “edtech,” and extol the benefits of the system Osmo had created to ease the anxiety of parents worried about mindless screentime zombifying their kids.

Platform Launch Strategy

In a world of broken promises between pre-sales companies and consumers, it was critical that we launch out of stealth once the company was certain they could ship units to families within three months. Osmo guaranteed product readiness.

And unlike other companies that chose to launch on crowdfunding sites, we recommended against this strategy to ensure we were elevating the brand and product beyond just another startup. We suggested Osmo go direct to consumers and build a website and video that felt more on-brand with where they eventually wanted to be, which was lining the shelves of Apple.

The Results

Osmo became one of the top selling products in its category. Since our engagement, the company has grown 2X year over year, launched in 20,000 schools and secured retail distribution with Best Buy, Amazon and Apple stores worldwide.

 

Over a 32-month period, Osmo earned 700 features in target media and received national coverage highlighting Osmo at the forefront of a new play movement:

 

Osmo launched with three “experiences” (Tangram, Words and Newton), reaching its pre-sales goal of $50K in just 6.5 hours and raised over $2M during the course of its first campaign. Our efforts alone generated more than 200 stories, including prominent placements in publications like Bloomberg, Fast Company, NBC, Yahoo! Tech, TechCrunch, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

 

One of our most successful launches was Osmo Monster, a “visual bot” that leveraged Osmo’s mixed reality experience to bring physical drawings to life. We leveraged the technical expertise of Osmo’s team, who previously worked at Google and Disney, to capitalize on the excitement around bots but grounded it with language that conjured Pixar and Disney.

Coverage highlights include:

 

When we launched Osmo Coding, our focus on the originality of the platform and the product design team (the youngest ever to design a product in the Apple store), top tier media paid attention.

Since launch, and over the last two years of working together, we built a brand that kids love and parents trust. Through a series of product initiatives, we’ve helped Osmo demonstrate their strategic growth and product messaging, putting innovation in the context of important tech trends but with a human, creative touch. Our concept of play was embraced by not only media, but also families and classrooms to enhance creative thinking, social interaction skills and more.