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Co-Creation

Customer Co-Creation For Greater Brand Outcomes

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Customer Co-creation Strategy

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from George, a Director of Marketing in San Francisco, California asks this about the customer co-creation process:

“Please describe the customer co-creation process and its benefits for building brands.”

Thanks for your question George. Customer Co-creation is all about developing new ideas, services and products directly with your customers. By working together, companies and their customers create something new – something better – that they all believe in. When it’s done right it’s a powerful way to get to market quicker with products and services that are immediately seen as valuable and differentiated.

“Why does customer co-creation give a better chance at success than other, more traditional forms of brand and product development?”

Customer Co-creation gives you a better chance because it starts at a better place.

Think for a moment about the last time you and your team became involved in launching a new brand or figuring out how to improve the experience with the brand you own. It probably began by doing some research (OK, maybe a lot of research) to look for that magical point where need and value and opportunity uniquely exist for your brand. I’m also guessing you didn’t find it. Or if you thought you found it, you quickly learned your closest competitor found the same thing because they looked for it the same way.

Our clients consistently tell us they have reams and reams of research yet have no idea where to start. That’s because they started in the wrong place.

What we’ve found is, the best place to start is right within the four walls of your organization, with the people who understand your customers best – your customer relationship experts and your product development designers. These are the people who listen and hear and ultimately deliver the brand experience you need to secure your brand’s future.

What’s exciting to watch is what happens when we bring these customer and product experts together in the same room with your customers. That’s where the real magic happens. Together, with the help of some great facilitation, these newly-formed partners uncover and define ideas for the brand which are amazing in their clarity, value and simplicity. What’s also amazing to watch is how they find unique opportunities in their work together that can provide innovative ways to think about and differentiate the brand.

“What’s the best way to do customer co-creation – workshops or online communities?”

Online communities have been used extensively over the past few years to gain new ideas for product development and enhancement. They have been shown to have the potential to uncover new and interesting approaches to new product design.

But there are real limitations with online communities. Customers and company representatives never actually work together, in real time and in real ways. Ideas are sent in, anonymously, and developers and designers sift through them, create some concepts and then send them back for review.

It’s a slow, impersonal and costly process. And it never gets you to a point where you go from “I hear you” to “I’m with you.”

Co-creating with your customers in a workshop environment creates a shared understanding and a common ground where trust is quickly created. People feel like they’re being listened to and taken seriously as equal partners. This sense of equality gives everyone the confidence to actively participate.

The development of this new, shared understanding notches up collaboration, empathy and insight. It drives powerful creativity and innovation and helps create solutions that are easier to operationalize.

Because consumers are involved at the beginning of the process, their knowledge and insights can be used to frame the problem, not just develop solutions. A stronger, more energized loyalty emerges among all involved. Customers enthusiastically act as brand ambassadors while brand managers openly and honestly advocate for customer-facing experiences they know will work.

It becomes a win-win for both. It increases speed-to-market and reduces errors and missteps. And it all happens during a 1 or 2-day process.

“Who should consider customer co-creation for their brand?”

Customer Co-creation is for anyone looking to gain insight into how to better position their brand, improve their brand experience or create new products and services. By involving stakeholders and customers at the beginning of the process, trust and empathy is quickly created. And with that comes speed and agility.

You simply get to a smarter answer, quicker when all the important players are part of the design right from the start.

Do you have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

The Blake Project Can HelpBrand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops, The Brand Positioning Workshop, and the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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