Big brands are using co-creation to instigate change differently. Discover how they’re using it to improve business models, engagement, transformation, innovation and influence.

Business 

Some brands employ co-creation as an integral part of their business model. A quick browse through Kickstarter will reveal many examples of this. In its early days, Kickstarter was a platform for individuals to bring their ideas and projects to life through monetary support from the public. These days, more and more established brands are using the platform to achieve the same thing.

But is this really co-creation? Isn’t it just crowdsourcing? The lines are blurred. If there was no consumer engagement other than slapping down some cash, then, yes, merely crowdsourcing. However, what you see on Kickstarter is consumers actively engaging with creators, offering suggestions and ideas during each campaign that changes the final product. It's what gives the platform its lasting appeal. It’s co-creation that guarantees happy customers – because they’ve been involved in the product’s design journey.

 

Engagement 

Lego was facing bankruptcy until it asked its fans exactly what they wanted, and more importantly, listened to what they had to say. The insights the brand received led Jorgen Vid Knudstorp, Lego CEO at the time, to say:

“Your most valued customers will tell you what can be done with the brand.”

By learning to actively engage with their customers through co-creation, Lego’s recovery became the stuff of legend. This engagement continues today through Lego Ideas – a platform for Lego customers to submit their own creations, with the ones winning the most votes getting officially produced.

 

Transformation

The automotive industry, more than any other, has undergone a radical transformation by using co-creation techniques, recently shown in this report by Hitachi.

BMW is a prime example of a car-manufacturing brand that has used co-creation to drive sales. BMW developed a Co-Creation Lab in 2010 – a virtual community that encourages customer opinions on new car concepts that are still in the design stage, and even invites them to submit their own ideas. This results in a higher propensity to then buy the final vehicle, because customers have been involved in the process from design all the way through to completion.

 

Innovation

If your brand wants to truly innovate and come up with ideas that have a profound impact on your business, then it seems co-creation should be your first port of call. Innovation can be a Catch-22, either you go too far (damned if you do) or you don’t go far enough (damned if you don’t). How does co-creation solve this? By finding the Goldilocks way – innovation that’s just right.

Starbucks discovered this when they launched the My Starbucks co-creation community - an online platform where customers can submit their ideas. The brand has received over 150,000 of them and implementing more than 300!

Some of these innovations are high-profile creations – such as the introduction of ‘skinny’ drinks and free wi-fi in the cafés.

 

Influence

This year, influencer marketing has become the top strategy for content distribution. One brand that really harnesses the power of customer influence is Airbnb, because it understands that if you allow your customers to create, tell and share their own stories, they will ultimately tell your brand story by default. And with it, a deeper, more meaningful customer-brand can relationship can flourish.

Airbnb Stories is co-creation where the customers talk to customers with seemingly no brand involvement at all. It makes the marketing authentic, relevant, engaging. Airbnb have democratised their brand to their customer base, and its impact has made it a global giant in the travel and leisure sector.

 

One game-changing process. Five areas it can improve your business. Zero excuses not to put it to the test for your brand.

 


Alex Allston

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter