Using innovation to gain an Edge in the powerchair market
When launching a new innovation into the mobility market, an innovative approach to raise product awareness to consumers is also required. For Quantum Rehab, the company decided to employ a relatively new marketing method that is often underused in the mobility industry to create a buzz around its latest powerchair.
An innovative powerchair
In mid-September, Quantum Rehab released what it describes as its most advanced powerchair yet, the Q6 Edge 3. The new powerchair boasts a number of industry-first features which the company says the UK mobility industry has been waiting for.
“The Edge 3 is the culmination of eight years of product improvement based on consumer, clinician, and dealer input toward the award-winning Q6 Edge series,” explained Nycole Scourfield, Digital Marketing Executive at Quantum Rehab.
The most notable upgrade to the new Q6 Edge 3 relates to its innovative iLevel technology, providing end-users the ability to now travel up to 4.5mph whilst elevated at 12-inches.
A first in the powerchair market, the enhanced feature will allow users to achieve a greater speed at the same time as having the chair raised and will prove useful in situations such as crossing busy roads.
“The UK market is ready for a more advanced chair and I believe the Edge 3 is going to exceed people’s expectations all over.” Kevin Atkins
In addition, the Q6 Edge 3 incorporates Smooth-Ride Suspension (SRS) technology, ensuring for a smoother, more comfortable ride for those in the chair, according to the company.
Discussing the new powerchair model, Kevin Atkins, Senior Quantum Sales Manager, commented: “We are thrilled to finally get our hands on the Edge 3; the UK market is ready for a more advanced chair and I believe the Edge 3 is going to exceed people’s expectations all over.”
On top of enhanced speed and comfort, the new powerchair includes LED fender lights, USB charging facilities, wheel accent colours and an extended colour range, all as standard.
With a variety of new and enhanced elements to shout about, Quantum Rehab formed a partnership with 21-year-old disability activist, blogger and influencer Shona Louise to engage with her digitally-engaged audience of end-users.
The company is one of the few in the mobility sector to fully integrate social influencer marketing into the promotional activities of a new product launch.
Brands, influencers and the power of trust
In the world of advertising, social influencer marketing is a relatively new phenomenon which some industries, such as fashion and beauty, have leapt upon. In the mobility domain however, companies have been slower to jump aboard the growing marketing trend.
Social influencer marketing builds on the tried and tested concept of companies using ambassadors to promote a brand or product. Traditionally, ambassadors would be respected or famous public figures, however, with the rise of the internet and social media, influencers now come in many forms and are not necessarily in the public eye.
Online, individuals are building their own communities through blogs, videos and social media posts across a multitude of different areas, from high-end fashion to deep-sea fishing, engaging with interested, like-minded people.
Bloggers, vloggers and more are known as influencers because it is often through their continuous posting of advice, insight, thoughts and opinions around a specific subject that they gain the trust and loyalty of a community who value their views.
It is this trust that makes social influencers so attractive to brands.
For companies in any industry, building trust between their brand and their target consumers is crucial and influencers present companies with a tremendous opportunity to position their brands and products with a trusted voice amongst a key demographic.
For mobility companies, this need to create trust amongst consumers is ten-fold, with the products and the brands playing such a key role in the lives of those who rely on them.
An innovative marketing approach
An early adopter of the marketing trend, Quantum Rehab worked in collaboration with blogger Shona to help raise awareness of the new Q6 Edge 3 amongst her audience.
Launching her blog in 2011 at just aged 14, Shona originally started writing her blog about beauty, however, with the deterioration of her genetic condition over the last six years, she now uses her platform to raise awareness of marfan syndrome and examine topics around disability, ableism and accessibility.
In September 2017, Shona had a demo of the Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0 and started fundraising to reach the £11.5k needed to purchase the chair privately, after being told by the NHS that she did not meet their criteria. Reaching her target in February 2018, Shona took delivery of her powerchair and took to her blog to let her audience know the impact it had on her life.
“She is a trusted member of the disability community and her reviews and opinions are trusted, so to have her talking about all the great things she’s done… is absolutely great.” Nycole Scourfield
Writing regular updates and showcasing exactly how the powerchair had given her a quality of life back that she describes as unimaginable, her posts grabbed the attention of the team at Quantum.
“Her blog, www.shonalouise.com, had become a must-read within the office with people from all over the company tuning in to read her latest blogs on both issues with disability and to check up on what Shona had been getting up to on her Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0,” explained digital marketing exec Nycole.
“From the very beginning, Shona was a great brand ambassador for us, focusing on the benefits our chairs provide and how they enrich users’ lives. We knew we had to meet her and at the very least, take her out for lunch and see how this relationship could develop. We initially met up with her in St. Albans and very quickly began talking regularly.”
The company invited the young blogger to visit Quantum HQ, showed her around Oxford and naturally developed a good relationship with her over the following months.
When the time came to prepare launching the Q6 Edge 3, the decision to work with the influencer was an easy one says Nycole.
“With the Edge 3 launch in the near future, we knew fairly early on that we wanted to collaborate with her, so after a few discussions, here we are,” she noted.
“In preparation for the launch of the Edge 3, we knew we wanted to produce a feature and a lifestyle video with end-user feedback on how the chair can and has really improved people’s lives, but to do that we needed someone in the UK to own a chair.
“For us, Shona was the obvious choice – she had used her platform to demonstrate how important and crucial getting a good powerchair is and the impact it has on how a person lives their life.”
As part of the collaboration ahead of the product launch, Quantum Rehab offered Shona a brand-new Q6 Edge 3 and invited the blogger to Oxford to star in a promotional video and photoshoot. In addition, Shona’s old Q6 Edge 2.0 – which she had been using for only six months – was to be donated to a deserving person of Shona’s choice.
Social influencer marketing masterclass?
“From a marketing perspective, it was a no-brainer to approach Shona.” Nycole Scourfield
With more than 15,000 followers across Shona’s combined social networks and an engaged audience of like-minded readers, many themselves disabled, Quantum Rehab’s launch campaign is an interesting example of how to raise product awareness amongst a key target demographic.
“From a marketing perspective, it was a no-brainer to approach Shona,” said Nycole.
“Her writing is impeccable and you could see from her social media and blog that people really listened to what she had to say. Her blog is read monthly by the thousands and she has previously spoke on various TV/Radio & written for national news outlets regarding issues within the disability community.”
The campaign is one that offers a win-win for all involved, with a loyal Quantum user having the opportunity to share her experiences of her new chair with her audience, whilst the company benefits from having a trusted voice endorse the brand, as well as achieving some newsworthy stories to publicise.
“She is a trusted member of the disability community and her reviews and opinions are trusted, so to have her talking about all the great things she’s done, such as go to the theatre, go for long walks with her family over fields and woodlands or simply be able to go out for a full day with friends without having to return early due to having no pain management, is absolutely great,” continued Nycole.
“It provides a great case study for Quantum! We’re so lucky to have someone as fantastic as Shona using our chair to live her best life.”
As brands seek new ways to reach consumers in an authentic and trusted way, Quantum Rehab’s campaign emphasises how thinking creatively, forming meaningful relationships and staying tuned in to the channels where their potential users are engaging can deliver innovation in the world of mobility marketing.