So your organization has decided to take its customer engagement strategy to new heights through customer participation, and is considering co-creation. Many congratulations!
While your ultimate goal might be along the lines of collaborative product design, customer experience improvements, or faster, and more meaningful consumer insight, there are plenty of other benefits that co-creation can bring along the way. Here are a few:
Access to Greater Creativity, Expertise and Passion
Co-creation is defined as the practice of collaborating directly as peers in the design and development of an innovation with a traditionally external group. The first benefit that co-creation brings is the wealth of creativity, expertise and passion that external groups can bring into an organization. Don’t get us wrong – we’re sure you have an amazing team of highly trained and talented individuals! I mean, we all know how much Jen brings to the table. But imagine the potential if you could also bring in a motivated external group of people with a wealth of ideas that your awesome team may have otherwise missed.
Depending on the type of group that you engage to join your co-creative community, external audiences could bring many unique ideas and skills to the table:
- Brand fans are passionate about your company and products/services, and want to be involved in your creations or innovations
- Suppliers or employees may feel directly impacted by the challenge at hand, therefore collaborating with them on solutions benefits everyone
- Experts may bring similar knowledge and skills to your team but contribute a much-needed outsider’s perspective
A Community Willing to Help and Participate
The co-creative process promotes democratization: the participants (whether they are part of the organization or outside of it) are creative peers. Compared to other open innovation methods, co-creation builds communities, in a “we” process as opposed to “us-them.” Because of this, all community members feel that they are equally part of the process to co-develop an optimal solution to the challenge at hand.
Having a community provides an opportunity for ongoing collaboration. Unlike idea contests or crowd innovation challenges, where crowds submit ideas and then disperse, the community is available to collaborate with the organization throughout the process, from ideation, to vetting, to go-to-market.
See also: community challenges.
While members are enticed by the opportunity to see ideas through from beginning to end, brands must also keep the community engaged through other activities in order to give them more reason to come back to the platform.
Opportunities for Further Engagement and Learning
Co-creative communities aren’t a quick one-and-done tool. Like we said, successful communities encourage their members to participate in activities in order to keep them engaged, even after the initial challenge is complete
These activities present opportunities of their own that can be beneficial to you and your brand. You can facilitate activities that help you gain further insights from the community that can be useful for the challenge at hand.
Have members help you vet even your wildest ideas. What do they like? What do they not like? Are there ideas that seemed good to your team but are not being received well by your fans? Activities that are either directly or indirectly related to the innovation process can yield information that you may not have accessed through traditional market research.
On the other hand, communities must also have activities that encourage members to flex their creative muscles. For example, the Rust-Oleum Creator’s Studio has a community café where users like to share their DIY craft projects with fellow crafters, builders and DIY enthusiasts. These activities do not directly affect the main purpose of the community, but it encourages members to come back and participate.
Keep an eye on these gathering places – you may discover valuable insights you didn’t even know you were searching for!
The Ability to Engage Directly and Enhance the Customer Experience
At Chaordix, we’ve helped major global brands reach their customers in ways that they had not always been able to in the past, helping them go far beyond the geographical areas where they historically put focus groups together. Massive organizations don’t often get the chance to interact directly with their end users. When that is the case, how can you not only ensure customer satisfaction, but also enhance the customer experience?
A co-creative community allows you to gather your biggest fans and learn why they love your brand, what they love about you, and how they use your products and services. You won’t get these answers through traditional surveys and questionnaires, that’s for sure! And, even if you have access to market trends or episodic data snapshots, those resources don’t make customers feel like they are really being heard, and they certainly don’t get to the ‘why’ behind the answers in the way you can when you’ve got an engaged community filled with customers and brand fans.
Co-creation transforms customer experience because it makes your fans feel like they’re involved and valued in the initiatives of their favorite brand: yours. They can see that their feedback and ideas are actually being received and reviewed, and that it might even influence future product improvements or innovation.
As a result, customers develop deep brand loyalty and become engaged advocates for your brand, extending the reach of your innovation efforts and likelihood of market launch success .
Ready to unleash the benefits of co-creation for your brand? Contact us for a demo of our Participation Platform!