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Name: Napkin Labs
Quick Pitch: Napkin Labs makes interactive marketing tools for Facebook.
Genius Idea: A suite of customized apps that make brand pages interactive.
Brands are set on getting customers to Like their Facebook pages. But then what?
Napkin Labs launched a new suite of Facebook apps this week that it hopes will help answer this question.
The company offers four different apps. "Brainstorm" is a basic crowdsourcing platform that lets brands ask their community a question. "Photoboard" collects and displays community-sourced images. "Pipeline" turns Facebook pages into open forums. And "Superfans" shows who participates the most in campaigns, then rewards them. Most of the tools come with analytics and moderation features.
"I think a lot of brands are starting to realized their Facebook pages can go beyond 'great, you like us now,' and actually shape the future of the brand," Napkin Labs CEO Riley Gibson tells Mashable.
Napkin Labs adapted some functionality of the new Facebook apps from its previous product, which created a separate online "lab space" for brands to collaborate with their customers on products, design and anything else. The separate space had game features such as a points system and rewards for participation but it was still asking customers to visit someplace new on the web. Convincing such migration is no easy feat, so it's not surprising Napkin Labs eventually decided to instead build on existing brand pages.
As Gibson puts it, "We realized the ecosystem within Facebook was perfect."
Napkin Labs recently demonstrated how its Facebook apps will work with a custom app it made for Domino's Facebook page called "Think Oven." Users could submit their designs to the page in the hopes of winning one of $200 rewards.
The startup says pages experience a 29% increase in Likes after running a Facebook contest. But brands will have to decide for themselves how much that's worth. This is not your average Facebook app installation. Napkin Labs works with clients to customize the pages, and thus its campaigns start at $1,000.
Would you pay that much to customize your brand page, or are there better ways to engage the community that don't involve expensive customized tools? Let us know in the comments.
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.