Co-creation is the process of inviting your customers in to help create products and services. Interestingly, there has been some discussion about the meaning behind the term "engagement" in relation to companies getting involved in social media. Some say the term is meaningless and that users/consumers/peopel don't want to get involved with companies. I don't buy that.
I believe that co-creation is the ultimate form of customer engagement. Inviting the customer or constituent in to help make a product or make a service better allows you to achieve three things:
- Involve your customer in the brand at an "ownership" level
- Introduce innovation to your company from the outside-in
- Prove internally and externally that you really value your fans/customers and are willing to walk-the-walk of openness (yes, it takes more that a co-creation "stunt" but it's a start.
I posted before on 3 kinds of co-creation:
- Co-creation of marketing: inviting customers in to creat ads or marketing materials
- Co-creation of brand: that is like saying a dog wags his tail as brands are defined, ultimately, by the customer
- Co-creation of products and services: actually asking customers to help create the next "something"
Co-Creation Round Up
Here are some interesting co-creations over the past few weeks:
Netflix $1 million Recommendations System Overhaul:
As reported in the NYTimes:
"Netflix the popular online movie rental service, is planning to award $1 million to the first person who can improve the accuracy of movie recommendations based on personal preferences."
They are serious. You can check out the progress via a leaderbaord at their microsite. They have invited programming teams in to innovate on something that is near and dear to their users and to the future of their business. Could they afford a fleet of programmers jamming away on this? Probably. But they choose to look for innovation outside and invite users in (yes, I know, their core customer isn't a programmer but those guys talk...)
Harley Davidson's What's Your Creed
The great video, Live By It, takes Harley back to its defiant roots and is the video passed aorund in agencies this past month. Now they are encouraging others to create their own creeds and they can be found here. John Winsor has a simple wrap up of this co-creation (and lots of other great insights). Frankly, it's easy for Harley Davidson to do this as they have been very in touch with their customer for a while now. The actual activity of users posting their "beliefs" in text format is a low-lift, but there are some spectacular sentiments there. here's one I particularly like:
"At 14-years-old I rode my first motorcycle. At 15-years-old I rode my first Harley-Davidson. I am still riding a Harley-Davidson at 55. The feeling of freedom, the wind and the smell of cool rain in the desert has been in my blood for 41 years. I respect all of my brothers and sisters who share this passion with me. It is not just a hobby. We are the soldiers of the American way and the guardians of freedom. Never let them take that away. Ride Free, Live Free!"
Intel's SecondLife NYC Live Window
(Disclosure: we did this with Intel) This was a different form of co-creation. We had Versu Richelieu, a crack SL developer create a SL "world" while in a storefront window in NYC for 72 hours. It was an event and those who showed up inside SL became part fo the event and helped co-create as Versu-herself raced to complete her mission. Characters within the world showed up and carried signs - "Hello NYC" was one. As much as this was a "stunt" it created an experience that people could become a part of and contribute to. It also offered a rare "window" into SL for the average person.