- Robots are not “human relatable”
- Needed showcase for product
- Needed to broaden profile of product
- Enabled robotics to interact via Twitter
- Placed in path of historic storms
- Jump started social media campaign
- Viral media attention
- International media attention
- 1,000s of visits
- LRI brand value grows
Into the Eye of the Storm, Going Viral, and Growing Brand Value
Liquid Robotics is a company based in Silicon Valley. They make the Wave Glider, the most experienced ocean surface robot in the world, used for capturing real-time situational, ocean and weather data. Even though well-proven in its capability, the Wave Glider faced difficulties gaining traction with certain buyer constituencies. Creating human interest to build brand was a difficult proposition, and The Artesian Network was consulted to create a human conversation around a robotic product.
Liquid Robotics makes the Wave Glider, the most experienced ocean surface robot in the world. Designed to use its multitude of sensors to monitor, log, and relay a myriad of information from its surroundings, the Wave Glider can be launched out to sea for up to a year, utilizing the kinetic energy of wave movement and solar energy for power.
A particularly convincing use case is deep sea weather observation where the robot is a substitute for either boats or buoys – both of which are limited in extreme conditions and considerably more expensive. The challenge was to give Wave Glider an opportunity to show how beneficial it could be.
The relatively abstract nature of the Wave Glider’s role in daily life has led to difficulties with marketing and positioning it for some buyer constituencies. New and disruptive technologies like robots can be difficult for buyer constituencies to relate to. Robots especially, are considered cold and inhospitable, abstract to many people. To broaden the appeal of this new robotic approach for the scientific community and the market as a whole, the challenge was to make the Wave Glider robot a point of broader human interest. The secondary point was to explain usage and the multifaceted benefits the robot could bring when compared to boats and buoys, once a conversation was started in the press.
When we looked at how we could approach creating human interest and relevance in the Wave Glider program we knew it would have to harness the strengths of Liquid Robotics. In our research we discovered that the Liquid Robotics engineering team had one set of skunkworks features (radical innovation program) that allowed a public Tweet to trigger a return of a picture, video and basic weather conditions from a Wave Glider. The Wave Gliders could be updated with this feature remotely over their satellite feeds. Twitter seemed like an excellent way to generate the human-relatable interaction with the robots while they were on their journeys out at sea.
Once we began to follow the thread of Twitter integration we were able to alight on some exciting possibilities. We knew, based on previous data, that Wave Gliders have been proven to navigate the planet’s worst ocean storms, collecting data without interruption. So we posited the question, ‘What if the Wave Glider could be updated with the Twitter code and be navigated directly into a high-profile storm?’ This would create an exciting human-connected story with a potential to go viral, showing a potential audience of millions the sight inside the storm. In early August 2014, two tropical cyclones, Iselle and Julio were spinning toward the Hawaiian Islands. This was a historic event making news around the world as the storms gathered massive strength in the Pacific Ocean.
Liquid Robotics had a number of Wave Gliders in the area. The Marketing, Engineering and Operations teams mobilized to upload the Twitter code and to navigate two Wave Gliders into the hearts of the approaching storms. The Marketing team quickly actioned to prepare the website, social media sites and talking sheets for instructions to the public as to how to Tweet the ocean robots once the storms began to build. There was a limited window and the opportunity had to be seized. Instructions were ready, a systematic Twitter campaign was created and the Wave Gliders approaching the storm.
Everyone held off until data started coming through from the Wave Gliders that waves hit about 15 feet in height. It was at this moment the Marketing and Operations teams jumped in launching the social media campaign. Liquid Robotics went live and the PR team lit up the phones with the story of a Tweeting robot deep in the heart of the approaching storms, fearlessly traversing the waves.
The story captivated the entire nation and not just in the tech community. America woke up to TV weather personalities throughout the nation including none other than Al Roker on NBC’s Today Tweeting Wave Glider to get weather conditions and pictures of huge ocean waves heading for the ocean robot. Tweets came in from around the world as tech and weather blogs, online magazines and newscasts became enamored with the communicating robot braving the wilds of the Pacific Ocean.
More than just the media, Twitter users internationally were communicating with Wave Gliders, marveling at being in the middle of a storm. The robots were getting a Twitter following. The human connection was made. Website activity increased dramatically, and media interest began. Liquid Robotics was asked for TV interviews to showcase the company and highlight the range of environmental, educational, national defense and meteorological uses the Wave Glider had. It was a particularly gutsy marketing stunt, but in a world of viral phenomenon, we knew it was a way to forge a connection. The marketing had worked, and it bolstered this important use case for scientific research for the company. The public engagement allowed Liquid Robotics to show off how impactful their technology really was.
Perhaps coincidental, but less than a month after the viral sensation of the storm chasing robots when Liquid Robotics entered into a major teaming agreement with Boeing Corporation which led to a successful acquisition by the company two years later. Liquid Robotics broadly and publicly proved their value, and proved the value of their ideas and ingenuity, and with a little bit of assessment and research our team were able to guide them into the oncoming storm of success.
Why The Artesian Network?
The Artesian Network is a consortium of enterprise executives delivering B2B Marketing, Brand, and Customer Success, on-demand. We drive results through data-driven strategies, creative insights and targeted actions tailored to your business. We operate across typical business silos, and with an unbiased point of view to inform your decision making and deliver solutions that are purpose-built for enduring impact on revenue and value.
Let’s work together
© The Artesian Network. All rights reserved.