Co-Creation: Breaking The Divide Between Brand And Its Audiences

Intro Note: This post is a quick recap of my presentation that I gave at #BusinessRocks edition for Social media Week Singapore. You can also read the blog post titled – 5 Minutes with Jamshed Wadia where I share my insights with SMW Singapore team on social media strategies for both practitioners and brands.

I was on a flight back to Singapore from the US and as I was putting together my presentation for Business Rocks, and midway I decided to take a break to watch some in flight entertainment. I was really thrilled to find that they had a recorded Coldplay 2012 concert video and so I decided to watch it. Very soon it dawned on me, that the concert had become an inspiration and a starting point for my presentation on ‘co-creation’.
The concert recording had some accompanying commentary from Chris Martin the lead vocalist of Coldplay and there was one thing he said that made an emotional connection with me. He said that as a band their philosophy was to make sure that each and every member of its audience participates in the concert experience and that they not only encourage sing-along but also use technology to make sure their audience gets a chance to contribute to the concert. Before any Coldplay concert, the concert organizers distribute Xylo wristbands that are worn by its audiences and then switched on by a radio signal at appropriate parts of the concerts, hence making the audience as one giant LED display. To me it was an amazing execution how a band and its audience could become one body participating in the same experience. And I wondered how many Brands get that? How many brands actually see their customers as an extension of themselves and treat them as co-creators of their brand identity. In the slide share presentation embedded below I share six examples of brands that I felt have innovatively used their audiences as co-creators.

1)  7-Eleven Slurpee Bring Your Own Cup Day 2012

So on September 5th 2012, 7-Eleven stores across Australia held Slurpee ‘bring your own cup day’, where for  one day only customers could bring in their favorite cup and fill it up with their favorite Slurpee for just only $2.90! And the classification of a cup was left to the customer’s imagination and could vary from cowboy hats to yard glasses, to even watering cans. Prizes were distributed to the most original and innovative cups to show up on that day.  The result was that the fans created more content for the brand in one day than they had in the brands history. Check out more about the campaign below

2)  Intel Korea’s ‘Make Thumb Noise’ campaign with 2NE1

(Disclaimer: Author is Intel Employee)

2NE1 and producer Teddy Park partnered with Intel Korea for the project to create a song for their new category of personal computing called ‘Ultrabook™’. The ‘Make Thumb Noise’ project allowed fans to vote for their ideal song for the Ultrabook ™ computer. Fans voted in to choose their favorite instrumental for the track in Round 1, and picked their favorite song title in Round 2. Round 3 gave fans the chance to choose the song’s arrangement style, and in the final round, they picked the bridge for the track. Well the campaign results where outstanding, the collective views received for all videos on the project exceeded 7 Million and more than 1 Million fans participated in the voting process, but more than that the fans got themselves a stellar song ‘Be Mine’ from their favorite band 2NE1. Check out 2NE1′s music video for “Be Mine” below!

3) Hippo uses it customers on Twitter to take stock and help inventory crunch

Hippo Baked Munchies was successfully launched into the Indian snack market in 2010 and because of their simple but yet insightful philosophy of ‘Hunger is the root of all evil’, they hit a connection with consumers. Hippo soon became a runaway success, but its nascent sales and distribution network found it challenging to keep track of stock, identify and re-stock empty shelves across 400 thousand stores. In India, 90% to 95% of the snack market is unorganized and inventory tracking is usually a logistical nightmare. To help solve this, Hippo turned to its followers on Twitter and asked them to tweet whenever they couldn’t find the snack in store. The result was impressive participation from their customers that eventually lead to a 76% jump in their overall sales. Check out ET Now report on the campaign.

4) Dominos – The Ultimate Delivery Vehicle Project

The people at Domino’s are on their way to reinvent the way pizza is going to be delivered, and they are achieving this by partnering with Local Motors, an open-source automaker. Local Motors has activated their community ‘The Forge’ in action with end goal being to build a brand-new, purpose-built vehicle designed from the ground up with nothing but pizza delivery in mind. The winning design will earn its creator a good $50,000 US. The “design brief page” offers details about the competition, which encompasses five phases of design, packaging, interior, surfacing and rendering. Check out Domino’s Pizza Ultimate Delivery Vehicle Design Brief Video below.

5) Aviva Community Fund

Aviva Canada launched a competition to find innovative ideas that would change Canada for the better in 2009, and offered $1,000,000 to make them happen. Centered on an online portal and supported by Facebook and YouTube, entrants were encouraged to submit ideas and upload photos, images, and videos to help describe their idea and attract votes to their cause. Canadians were invited to vote on the 2,000 ideas submitted, with the most popular entries qualified for funding. Aviva also ensured that other great ideas also received the financial and practical help they needed to get off the ground. Hear more about the success of this program, the lessons learned, and how Aviva departments worked together to create this unique forum where individuals could come together to make a difference. Check out Aviva Community Fund 2011 Video Playlist

6) Memories for the Future – Google Japan

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan in early March 2011 caused unimaginable damage and heartbreak to many. In response, Google has created a website named “Mirai e no kioku”, meaning “Memories for the Future”. The website allows the people of Japan to share photos and videos of their cities in an effort to preserve the memories collected over generations that may have been lost during the disaster. Google has also provided thousands of miles of Street View imagery that includes “Before” and “After” comparisons of the hardest hit areas. Check out more on the project in the below video.

In conclusion, great brands know that there is a power in leveraging the collective intelligence of its customers and turn their ideas, content and conversations into marketing and business opportunities. Matter of fact in a recent Forbes article, ‘Brand Crowd Sourcing’ has been identified as one of the‘10 Brand Marketing Trends that will dominate 2013’.  I see co-creation and crowd-sourcing being actively leveraged in creating a shared experience, creating branded content, used in solving business problems, bring forth business innovation and making a collective difference in the communities we live in.