How this mobile commerce upstart is building its brand proposition

How the CMO of Little Birdie is working to be the one that catches the ecommerce worm

With Australia poised to report its biggest online shopping event on record, one ecommerce startup is hoping its recent brand launch will help it snare a significant chunk of that business.

Little Birdie is the brainchild of Catch of the Day alumni, Jon Beros and Russell Proud, and has the backing of Catch founders, Hezi and Gabby Leibovich, as well as $30 million in funding from the Commonwealth Bank. The site, which launched in August this year, aims to provide a ‘birds eye’ view of Australia’s best retail offers.

The company has also unveiled a new brand identity, developed in conjunction with the creative agency Hardhat and overseen by chief marketing officer, David Jennings, a former head of global rider product marketing at Uber.

“All good brands start by defining who you are and why you exist, and we really wanted to nail the core value proposition for Little Birdie,” Jennings tells CMO. “Where we got to is: ‘All the thrill without the trawl’. With online shopping, often the most exciting piece is when the box lands on your doorstep. We wanted to bring joy back to the browser, and that is why ‘thrill’ is super important.”

Jennings chose to work with Hardhat due the agency’s focus on behavioural science, which matched well with Little Birdie’s desire to create new shopping habits among customers.

David JenningsCredit: Little Birdie
David Jennings

“We believe what is important is to establish a daily ritual for shopping,” Jennings says. “Little Birdie can be that discovery platform that you can tap into. And Hardhat has a strong passion about understanding how you build rituals in consumers lives.”

Jennings says the new brand identity borrows from the character-driven playbook of successful brands such as KFC and M&Ms, and changes everything about the Little Birdie brand other than the name.

“What we already had was this really playful brand name,” he says. “What we wanted to do was further bring the Little Birdie character to life, to make the transition from a brand stamp to a full character that could help tell our story as a brand.

“So we gave the Birdie wings, legs, eyes and a beak, so it could soar over an offer, or peck at a new pair of AirPod Pros. And we believe this brand character is a powerful brand asset that is really distinctive in the sea of shopping.

“Secondly, we wanted to update to a vibrant, modern, distinctive brand colour, and really be famous for the one brand colour. And where we got to was a soft lime green.”

The rebrand comes just in time to tap into the online shopping frenzy of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events, which are predicted will drive $5.4 billion in sales for Australian retailers, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan. Little Birdie has joined the fray with a campaigned dubbed Black FlyDay.

“We saw in year-on-year trends that people are searching for Black Friday offers earlier and earlier,” Jennings says. “This is a month-long event giving consumers a bird’s eye view of the best Black Friday offers all in one place.”

Little Birdie has already found success in getting its name out to the world through PR activity around its initial launch, and its partnership with the Commonwealth Bank.

“We were on Channel 9 and Channel 7 news at the same time, and it drove a humungous amount of traffic to us on day one,” Jennings says. “If you look at the first three days of our launch, we sent over a quarter of a million shoppers to retailers.

“For retailers, it is becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive to acquire net new shoppers. Little Birdie can provide a discovery marketplace not just for shoppers to discover great retail, but for retailers to discover shoppers.”

the startup is measuring success via referral numbers. This is when users discover a product or item on sale outside their awareness previously and click through from the Little Birdie site to the Web page of the relevant retailer.  

Since launch in August, Little Birdie’s referral rates have been hovering around 50 per cent, meaning every person who landed on Little Birdie clicked through to an offer. Into November, the rating has now gone up as high as 65 per cent, giving a clear signal that the value proposition is working, according to Beros. 

Another key milestone to date is having close to half a million customers referred from Little Birdie through to retailers. Short-term, the focus is the integration with CBA and building out the Little Birdie brand. But Beros told CMO last week there is a lot of demand in this space as retailers understand the value of shopping tools, such as Little Birdie, for their customers.

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