Tools for the Trade: Share a slice of your life with Bre.ad
Screenshot from bre.ad
If you've ever tried to share a message or get the word out online, you know this isn't an easy task. Today,the internet is littered with noise, clutter and links that aren't relevant to us. Enter Bre.ad, a new kind of promotional URL shortener that is turning our links into "personalized billboards" and allowing us to "toast" a special slice of our life.
Bre.ad is a new digital billboard that allows you to personalize and promote your favorite brands, causes and interests. When you share a link with Bre.ad, the tool creates a five-second splash page promoting your favorite brand before allowing the user to continue on to the linked page you are sharing. This digital billboard is called a “toast.” For instance, here a few of us are toasting to Startup Weekend Omaha or Warby Parker.
Ever since we were limited to 140 characters in the Twitterverse we've had URL shorteners like bit.ly, ow.ly, and Twitter's own t.co. These tools are pretty self-explanatory. They shorten our links, track our links, and we can customize them a bit right? Bre.ad isn't really billed as a URL shortener. I like to consider it a URL enhancer.
I was curious to learn more about Bre.ad and how they see their product in the marketplace. I was able to exchange emails with Anneke Jong, director of digital media at Bre.ad. Here's my email interview with Jong.
Silicon Prairie News (SPN): When did Bre.ad launch? Tell me a little bit about the process to get to launch and where the idea came from.
Anneke Jong (photo from bre.ad) Bre.ad was in private beta in the spring and officially opened to the public on June 14, 2011. We operate with a lean team of five with experience at Google, Amazon, PayPal, and Ning. Our founder, Alan Chan, came up with the idea for Bre.ad while promoting his clothing company on Facebook and Twitter. He wanted to create a tool that empowered anyone to meaningfully promote the things they care about.
SPN: Explain briefly what problem Bre.ad solves and why you think it is a great fit for the marketplace?
Jong: 1) Bre.ad solves the problem of noise. Every day, 150 million Tweets are sent out, 1 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook, and the average person is exposed to 3,000 marketing messages. Bre.ad helps your cause or brand to stand out with customized digital billboards that are easily shared online.
2) Bre.ad solves the problem of relevancy. People dislike online advertising because it can seem irrelevant. Bre.ad is different. Unlike other social media marketing messages which can be impersonal or intrusive, Bre.ad “toasts” are personalized, relevant, and hand-selected. At Bre.ad, we give our users a voice to share what matters most to them.
3) Bre.ad solves the problem of message pollution. If you have an upcoming event like a fundraiser or a product launch, you probably want to promote it to your followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook. But it can be annoying to publish repetitive posts reminding people about your event over and over every day. Bre.ad provides a solution that allows you to promote something you care about without inundating your social media streams with redundant content. You can continue to share the content you would have shared anyway knowing that your promotional message isn’t getting lost.
SPN: What type of response (i.e. signups, toasts) has Bre.ad seen to date?
Jong: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Within the first week of launching to the public, we had thousands of new users including Britney Spears, Ryan Seacrest, Lady Gaga, Pepsico, and a wide variety of entrepreneurs, bloggers, musicians, designers, and charities. On average, a bre.ad link is shared online every couple minutes.
SPN: Have you seen more uses from people toasting the brands they love or causes? Is there a drastic breakdown between the two?
Jong: We originally thought there might be, but it turns out that our users have a variety of passions. Some of our users are entrepreneurs who want to promote their own ventures, but they also want to support their favorite charity. Similarly, some of our non-profit users have corporate sponsors they want to thank publicly by making a toast. There’s tremendous overlap when you’re dealing with personal interests, and we’re excited to have a platform where people can express all sides of their personality.
SPN: Some of this is obvious, but I love the name, branding and language you guys have. Explain where the name Bre.ad came from and how it fits to your product?
Jong: Thank you! Some of the branding was a natural fit – when you "make a toast" at the dinner table, you share a positive endorsement for something or someone you love. Similarly, when you make a "toast" on our website, you create a personalized recommendation to share with people you care about. When your friends and followers click on your Bre.ad links, they see a "slice" of your life. It's a fun way to get to know people by learning about their favorite things.
SPN: What future features or additions may we see with Bre.ad?
Jong: Our engineers are working hard to build out new Bre.ad features, and we’re really excited about what’s coming down the pike. Some of it so top secret we can’t even share yet, but we can give you a few little previews. In the coming months, Bre.ad users can expect improved analytics, more "toast" customization, and some really fun social elements.
SPN: Anything else you'd like to add?
Jong: One of the coolest things about Bre.ad is the amplification effect it creates for your messages. Whenever your supporters make a “toast” to your brand, your brand’s billboard is added to the rotation of billboards that your supporters show to their followers when they shorten links with Bre.ad. Every toast is a new personal recommendation for your brand!
Still wondering what Bre.ad is? I'll let them explain with the video below.