Co-creation refers to the involvement of consumers in product innovation and development. It involves bringing end-users together to develop a product that caters to their own needs. It is a marketing approach to increase consumer engagement with the brand while building healthy relations and providing a better user experience. With the increasing focus on consumer-oriented marketing, the value generated by customer co-creation is at its peak. Having a say in production and company innovation brings a sense of belongingness in the consumers, which generates consumer loyalty and engagement.
The insights gained through such initiatives provide companies with the data to work on their products. This consumer-focused method of production increases the success rate of innovations as the needs of the customer are addressed from the start of the development process.
Ways of Consumer Co-creation:
There are multiple strategies developed to involve consumers in the marketing and production processes. Each technique offers a distinctive advantage, and we can use them in combination with one another. We discuss here the most popular ones.
We can organize workshops and brainstorming sessions either online or in-house to encourage consumers to provide ideas for product innovation and development. The major advantage of workshops is that the pace of idea generation is fast, plus it is easy to provide guidelines and an encouraging environment to stimulate engagement.
As the name suggests, crowdsourcing is a combination of ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. It involves getting people to take part in problem-solving, product innovation, design, and development. It requires providing an environment for engaging with a large number of consumers and/or developers to generate ideas on a large scale. Crowdsourcing enables interaction with a large group of consumers and generates good brand awareness. But it is challenging to provide a platform for such engagement to happen while ensuring open space for innovation.
Open-source means enabling developers and consumers to develop the product according to their own specific needs. This is very popular in IT products like Linux, Odoo, Python, Firefox, etc. The open-source model allows users to access the source files of the package and do customizations as per their individual requirements. High-end developers also suggest improvements in the current software, which helps in upgrading the product.
Mass customization enables a group of users to get a customized product to meet their niche demands. It involves catering to the needs of a small set of consumer groups by providing customized products for their needs. We earn profit by asking for a premium price for the product and by mass production for the target consumer group. Personalized apparel designs and shoes are very common examples of mass customization. We can break down mass customization into several levels depending upon the suitability.
User-generated content (UGC) is defined as “any form of content such as blogs, discussion forums, posts, tweets, podcasts, wikis, chats, digital images, audio files, video, advertisements and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites”.
User-generated content provides a huge surge of ideas and solutions and provides a high level of customer engagement, but it gets tricky to choose winners from the lot. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Slide share are popular examples of user-generated content.