How Empowerment, Not Fear, Has Made Canary Mainstream
Elisabeth Brier and Jon Troutman

In a time where rogue killer clowns are an actual IRL thing and the princess of pop culture, Kim Kardashian is getting robbed at gunpoint, the desire for comprehensive security has never been stronger.

However, despite the probability of a Purge Night style apocalypse in 2017, it isn’t via fear that has propelled Canary to mainstream visibility.

The company that offers “a complete security system in a single device” has become a household name not through fear mongering, but rather, by empowering their users.

Through perpetuating a positive brand narrative and playful social voice, Canary’s innovative tech has been able to spread at a rapid rate and become part of countless home.

Canary’s co-founder, Jon Troutman explains the thinking behind this tactful brand story and offers advice to founders looking to dabble in new technology.

Though a primary function of Canary is security against potential intruders, the brand's perpetuated narrative doesn't seem to play on fear. What was the thinking behind this and what emotions instead does Canary appeal to in framing the brand?

Home security is certainly a primary function of Canary. However, our approach to home security—both through our product offering and our brand narrative—has always been different than traditional security companies which are notorious for playing on people's fears and anxieties to sell their services. We believe that true security comes from access to meaningful, actionable information which empowers people and actually removes fear. Our core message is one of empowerment, and that’s why our brand narrative isn’t scary, it’s refreshing and positive. We want to reinforce the positive emotions associated with home and family, and create the sense of empowerment that comes from always being “in the know.”

Canary boasts many different functions, a number of which are defined on the site. However, is there one particular function that is emphasized more than others in marketing the product?

It’s true that both of our products—our flagship all-in-one device, as well as our new weatherproof HD camera—are packed with a lot of technology and features. The primary function of both products is to provide you with a constant connection to your home. It’s incredible that we’re living in a time where we constantly have access to some much information, right at our fingertips, yet most people still don’t know what is happening at their homes when they aren’t there. Canary is designed primarily to bridge the gap between you and your home. You can open the Canary app and in seconds see a live stream of your kids getting home from school, your pets running around, the delivery man on your front porch—and the video is recorded so you can access it later. This function of connectivity is what we emphasize the most.

Functioning via an app and innovative tech, it appears as if Canary caters to somewhat younger generations. If this is the case, what sort of targeted marketing efforts go into getting younger people to care about security and see Canary as something they truly need?

Because the need for security is universal, we have a consumer-base that spans multiple generations and demographics. That being said, our targeted marketing efforts tend to focus on what we often refer to as the “me-to-we” crowd. People in their late 20’s and 30’s that are transitioning from a single mindset to the next stage in their lives—they’re getting married, having their first kids, getting a pet, those sorts of things. They naturally are thinking about connecting with and protecting their loved ones, and at the same time they are interested in products that will make their lives easier and fit seamlessly into their homes and routines. Tactically, we do a lot in digital, punctuated by larger campaigns that bridge online with IRL touchpoints.

How does the #CaughtByCanary initiative fit into Canary's overall branding and function to foster increased visibility?

#caughtbyCanary shows that a lot of interesting things happen in (and around) our homes! Our users post videos (with the #caughtbyCanary hashtag) of everything from kittens stealing Christmas stockings, to babies taking their first steps, to kids raiding the kitchen pantry, and a whole lot more. The fact that people are using our products to capture and post these videos demonstrates that Canary can be used as much more than a security camera to catch burglars.

What would you advise early stage startup founders attempting to market a new type of hardware consumers aren't yet familiar with?

You need to avoid getting caught up talking about tech specs and features. Explain the product through the lens of how it would fit into someone’s life and the benefits that it delivers. When you’re forging new ground with technology, whether hardware or software, there is a real tendency to lead with tech jargon rather than just talking about the problem that it solves and the value it delivers.

Anything new we can expect to see from Canary soon?

Once someone has a Canary in their home and they are using the app on their phone we believe that we can offer additional services that will enhance their experience even more. We’re already beginning to offer additional means to round out our security solution through our recent launch of Canary Membership. You can expect to see this increased focus on services continue over the coming year.