“We want to revolutionise consumer behaviour driven by visual entertainment.” What Marcia Favale is describing is Blingby, an online entertainment and lifestyle platform. Blingby allows users to shop the styles and live the experiences they see in music videos and movie trailers.
“It is not just about buying a dress or shoes it about the experience,” Favale explains. You are not just watching the video but rather it’s bringing the experiences to you. Blingby is providing the user the essence of what they are watching. Each video is curated with a storyboard and from that Blingby can identify each item, each aspect of the video in a process called “bbTagging”.
For example, Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” video was filmed in Botswana. When you watch that video through the bbStream you can watch and click on bbTagged items that appear at the same time that will take you to links to book trips to the national park in which she is filming, or book other Taylor Swift concerts, or purchase the apparel she is wearing – all through Blingby. “Blingby is complex but we provide seamless experiences.” The slogan for the company is “be inspired”.
This is an “Oxonian affair”
Marcia Favale is the visionary behind the concept and partnered with Rob Stanicic, both of whom studied at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, and together they took Blingby from a concept to a revolutionary visual entertainment lifestyle-advertising platform with the potential of being a “billion dollar business”.
As the Chief Digital Officer and Co-Founder, Stanicic covers Blingby’s digital strategy, product design and platform delivery. Before business school he ran a successful tech consulting company in the US and incidentally was also a musician.
Favale is the CEO and Co-Founder, covering Blingby’s business strategy, corporate & product development and content and visual delivery, overseeing Blingby’s rapid growth and expansion to consumers in 135 countries. “I have worked in fashion and radio and covered telecommunication and media companies. I have a strong finance and corporate background and have created, implemented and executed innovative, complex new ventures – successfully,” Favale shared. “I was always creative and entrepreneurial whether it was working in finance or any other industry.”
Favale has successfully run her own advisory company for over five years. Together she and Stanicic work in harmony on a shared passion as a “ true team”. They also have a very talented, diverse team to match their passion and the audiences they serve. The goal of Blingby is to allow “everyone to live the experience”. To that end Blingby even offers cost “alternatives” and the ability to “vote” for a favorite video to be bbTagged.
Favale believes “one day this will be an amazing business case.” The duo began developing the demo in 2014 between May and July, they then presented to potential investors in September 2014 and by January 2015 they received initial seed money. “The strategy was for us to introduce all three platforms at the same time: IOS, Android and website,” she says.
As of 2016 Blingby is present in 135 countries. In just 18 weeks, since its soft launch in August 2015, Blingby has over 50,000 application downloads, 18,000 website users, 20 million reach and 23 million impressions on Facebook, 11 million impressions and 62,000 engagements on Twitter, offering a rich content experience to users around the globe.
The “discovery” of Blingby
What makes Blingby a very dynamic and innovative introduction to new technology and advertising? It is all about discovery and consumer-powered interest, which allows Blingby to pick up trends, interests and placement efficiency.
Blingby is not only focused on the artist. Everything and everyone in these videos gets tagged including minute details and features that an ordinary viewer would not immediately grasp. In addition to what Blingby bbTags, their users can indicate what video they want bbTagged: to discover what their favourite stars are wearing, how they can purchase specific items, where the video was shot and through Blingby you can book a trip, rent the same place or book an event.
From the artist and video producer perspective, Blingby is a source for artists and the artistic directors of these videos by providing data showing what works best and what is trending; in turn, the brands get a bigger push and sales from another source. Favale explains further, “Blingby allows the artists to remain artists and be creative rather than worry about the clumpy product placement that has defined virtual entertainment.”
One of the higher trending videos on Blingby is an old favourite called “Gasolina” by the artist Daddy Yankee. “We bbTagged the video because it received over 400 votes. The user can be in the driver seat and if a video gets to be a top voted one – then Blingby provides all the discovery, unraveling the experience that drew the fan.”
Blingby’s uniqueness includes bbMe, a personalized feature for users. Blingby allows people to upload selfies and videos sharing their experiences with bbWorld – a community of Blingby users. Blingby has had already two independent Brazilian artists approach them to have their work bbtagged, bringing them into bbWorld and showing that even unknown, budding artists can appeal to an audience and have monetisation potential; power that they can harness through Blingby.
For the customer-focused businesses there is big data impact they can tap into by connecting with Blingby. Blingby uses certain known metrics such as sell-through, click-through rates, etc. However Blingby will define certain KPIs that reflect its innovative approach to user interaction to visual entertainment, seamless advertisement and behavioural interests and interest-discovery that will prove useful to many industries.
For instance, some metrics they reveal are that more men are using the mobile apps, while women primarily use desktop. The average age of the users are the 18 to 40 crowd, however Blingby is not “age, income or geographically specific” according to Favale.
You can try but you may not find another platform like Blingby online. The company motto is “We don’t compete, we facilitate” and Favale adds “we compliment”. She assures that they have patents, trademarks and other features on their platform, which makes them unique.
What’s next for Favale and the Blingby team? Future plans could include sporting events, live concerts and television programming. Favale and Stanicic would like to establish a sponsorship to allow women and children to learn how to code.
One thing is certain: Blingby will redefine the way in which we consume whilst being entertained.