Throughout history product and brand co-creation have been present and have been ever beneficial for both us as the customer, and [us again] as the marketer.
At the roots of co-creation is a desire for for value from both parties. In previous posts i’ve talked about creating web content that is valuable to customers[totally applicable here too].
Well what is co-creation? Simple. It’s all of your favorite products and brands. Here’s a few directly from co-creation:
Not to mention all of the brands that have used co-creation to provide greater value to consumers desires such as:
- Amazon’s review and recommendations service
- Dell’s computer customizer
- Ebay’s auction capabilities and reviews
- All of social media – Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter
To iterate how exactly each of these things are a direct result of co-creation we must understand things like open-source. For those unknowing, your favorite browser, Google Chrome of course [if it’s not your favorite I highly suggest you make it your favorite, and click that link..] and all of the other points in the first list were the result of successful product co-creation, or open-source as developers like to call it. By simply saying to every “Hey, we’re trying to build this great thing, and we would like your help” opens up doors and opportunities a business could have never thought on it’s own. What better way to find exactly what the customer wants then letting them say it themselves. The co-creation industry is only going to grow. As brands begin to understand consumer created content is both cheap and highly desirable, much of our media will be generated all by us.
The bottom list demonstrates a more content driven co-creation rather than code based. Ebay gave people the option to buy and sell online easily and efficiently, and it took off faster than any auction ever. Services like Dell’s computer customizer or Mini’s car customization have been majorly successful because it leaves the sacred ‘marketing mix’ to the costumers themselves. They specify their price, they specify their desired features, and become promotion vehicles for you; all while creating strong brand relationships. Finally we analyze social media, something not typically thought of as co-created by consumers. In reality almost everything we do on social media is created by others like us, Facebook and Twitter were merely smart enough to put it all in one easily accessible place.
The greatest part of co-creation is that everyone gets to play! Not only are customers creating their own products, but brands are finding users to accomplish business goals and objectives. One example of this is with the company called Innocentive. They more or less provide everyday people like you and I the opportunity to solve problems that a company has. The winner and solver of each case receives a cash prize from $5,000 to $1 Million dollars and the business gets a solution for far cheaper than months of R&D.
The reason that this symbiotic relationship of co-creation is so effective is based off the principle of synergy. This principle states that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts; meaning that when business professionals trapped ‘in the box’ invite others ‘outside of the box’ to participate, thinking will undoubtedly be done ‘outside of the box‘!
Tips on effective co-creation via Outlook
- Create Incentives – What is motivating people’s desire to create?
- Provide the right tools – Whatever the tool, leverage value and benefit to the customer
- Create clear objectives – Both the customer and the business should know what the underlying goal is
Here’s a growth curve of co-creation that i’m sure has doubled by now.