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    Date submitted
  • 17-Oct-2016

Protag

Abstract

Protag is a location-based mobile application where users interact by posting and fulfilling requests for help.

Using innovative systems of interaction presented in a quirky superhero-themed package, we aim to create an online environment that eliminates the social stress of asking for help and makes providing it addicting, rewarding, and fun.

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Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Protag's consumer demographic encompasses all mobile device users 18 years and up in the United States and Canada. (As of 2017, cell phones are now being used by 95% of adults in America, smartphones by 77%.) They are typically compassionate people with busy, involved lifestyles who value generosity, convenience, interpersonal connection, fun, boldness, creativity and forward-thinking solutions to everyday problems. They enjoy and participate in social media, pop culture, technology, social gatherings, full- and part-time work and studies, charity and community service. Our target market is hardworking people who gain personal satisfaction from lending a helping hand to others, but are limited by their work schedules and personal day-to-day struggles. Their lack of time coupled with a lack of convenient resources on the market makes it difficult for them to give back to their loved ones and communities. They also may feel too apprehensive or anxious to seek help when they need it themselves, in part due to current culture's emphasis on complete independence and the stigmatization of asking for favors. Protag provides a myriad of ways to extend and receive a helping hand in one fun, convenient application. The quirky characters, game-like atmosphere and mutually-beneficial system of in-app rewards are intended to alleviate customer anxiety by adding a layer of silliness to genuine expressions of human kindness. In addition to the interpersonal connection it provides, Protag makes it effortless to discover and participate in local volunteer opportunities, making it a valuable resource for students and young adults building their resumes as well as anyone who may simply be passionate about a cause.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Everyone knows that the market for mobile applications is growing at a rapid pace. With access to mobile devices becoming nearly universal in recent years, consumers seek the best applications to install on their devices in order to improve their quality of life, particularly in the realms of entertainment, convenience, and communication. Perhaps the biggest share of the mobile software industry belongs to social media applications, with nearly 2 billion users worldwide owning a profile on some type of social media platform. However, interpersonal relationships are in decline - the average American's number of close friends has taken a nosedive in the past 25 years, decreasing from 3 to 2. How can this be, with all of this technology that exists to keep us connected? Most social media applications are less social than you might think. Posting a photo to Instagram, composing a funny Tweet or sharing a link on Facebook: these are all acts of self-expression, where the “social” aspect is simply a surface-level exchange of feedback on these in the form of likes and brief comments. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing pieces of your life with your loved ones, there aren’t many ways online to make yourself a more significant part of theirs. What Protag brings to the market is a commitment to providing users with methods of genuine interpersonal connection and real-life interaction.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

The Protag application uses a system of in-app posts, rewards and purchases in order to incentivize users to engage in a constructive cycle of helping and being helped. By infusing the standard transactional system of a social network or mobile game with altruistic motives and prompting positive real-world results, Protag's model is both a familiar comfort and a breath of fresh air in cyberspace. We believe it even has the potential to reverse the damage other social media platforms have caused to modern relationships and the psyche. You might be thinking - while that all sounds nice, for it to work people have to actually want to use it. How, then, do we intend to market Protag to customers? Our idea is pretty simple: tell them it'll make them a superhero. No, we're not saying it will literally give them superpowers. Instead, we provide them with all the tools they need to be a hero in the lives of the people they know and love - and be rewarded for it in return. The idea that with the help of the app anyone can be a hero is the core theme running through Protag's user interface and promotional material, from users' cute and customizable superhero "avatars" to advertising campaigns that ask viewers to conduct quick and fun "missions" in real life. This isn't just a clever marketing ploy to appeal to as many millennials raised on Marvel and DC comics as possible. This is a calculated, deliberate design meant to mitigate the process of giving and receiving help. Disguised as their online superhero characters, users can reap all of the benefits of a good deed with none of the social anxiety or pressure that often follows. Painless, lighthearted, feel-good interaction is what we strive for — because everyone can use a hero.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Social networking platforms and other mobile applications frequently come under fire from the media for promoting self-centered, entitled, antisocial, and technology-dependent behavior. Protag offers a welcome change in this script: a community-based social networking experience that encourages face-to-face interaction and user empathy. Where current networking platforms have been proven to reduce face-to-face contact, Protag’s features are actually conducive to real-life interaction between friends. And long-distance emotional support with Protag is more than just a virtual heart on a screen - friends can share physical cards, gifts, and even entire meals. Essentially, Protag intends to take the very best of what social media has to offer and forge it into one engaging, positive experience for everyone.