Customer-centricity is a marketing buzzword that will never get old. Being customer-centric is how you achieve product-market fit, but the journey is different for each organization, and there is no one ideal way to be customer-centric. For example, running experiments, creating customer personas, organizing focus groups, and leverage psychological research to bring new offerings or improve the existing ones. Still, co-creation is a quicker, overlooked path to success. Here are some ways social media makes co-creation easier than ever:
- Create a Competition or a Challenge
Many big brands are starting to unleash the power of social media challenges to co-create with their audiences. These activations have multiple effects on the brands that know how to execute them. First, the connection between your audience and your brand is consolidated because the customers and followers feel included in the company’s decision-making. Too often, consumers feel like the companies they interact with daily are unreachable giants. When you give consumers a seat at the table, the connection becomes personal and not only transactional. Second, the idea of competition creates excitement within the customers’ community. Lego took the co-creation concept to the next level by creating the Lego Ideas concept, a platform where they regularly crowdsource designs. For Lego, working with their audience to create the next exciting toy line has become part of their organizational culture. Finally, these campaigns attract a lot of social media buzz because the creators are excited to share their entries with their communities and often mobilize their friends to upvote their work to enter the final.
Figure 1. Product submitted by a Lego fan through the Lego Ideas platform was selected to be mass-produced by the company after receiving enough votes from the community.
- Let Them Vote
There are also instances where the company comes with pre-made options for a product launch, and fans decide which product should be released. One great example is Mattel’s WWE Ultimate Edition toy line that invited fans to vote which moments in wrestling history should be immortalized in WWE’s latest collection. Mattel designed the products, but fans and collectors were in control of the ring attire for the wrestling action figures to be released, which kept the pro-wrestling community buzzing for each release.
Figure 2. Illustration of the Mattel voting campaign that let fans choose their favorite Triple H moment they would like immortalized within their Ultimate Edition collection
Lay’s combined the idea of a challenge and invited their fans to vote for their favorite new chips flavors. After a long journey of collecting the most innovative and unconventional proposals for potato chip flavors through the “Do Us a Flavor” campaign, Lay’s selected three finalists and left it to the fans on Snapchat to decide on their favorites.
Figure 3. Example of finalists from Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” challenge. The fans came up with the flavors and then had the mission to vote which one “survived” past the campaign.
- Leverage Polling Functions
Now more than ever, social media platforms allow brands to ask short questions that millions of people can answer or vote for. In one of the projects I coordinated, “When It’s Over,” all of the platform’s content came from the follower base. Our value proposition was to create an Instagram feed full of hopes that people from all around the world had amidst the beginning of the global pandemic. We asked them to fill in the prompt’s gap by using the Questions function on Instagram stories. The page went viral within the first week of its existence in which thousands of people from all around the world found “When It’s Over,” an outlet to bond with others through shared hope.
Figure 4. Illustration of crowdsourced content for “When It’s Over” through Instagram Stories for a social media initiative that offered a platform for people to hope and bond over shared wishes
It can feel intimidating to let the consumers decide your organization’s fate, but the best results come when you learn how to ask the best questions. Consumers decide whether your value proposition is worth their resources. What better way to know what they need than to ask them directly? So bring a million folding chairs to the decision-making table, and be a brand that listens.
“I am an aspiring Digital Marketer with a big passion for Social Media and Community Engagement Strategy. My experience studying, living, and working in seven countries around the world helped me become more creative, adaptive, and curious.” https://www.cristidragan.com/