Co- creation refers to the involvement of consumers in product innovation and development. Co-creation involves bringing end-users together to develop the product to cater to their own needs. It is a management initiative to increase consumer engagement with the brand while building healthy consumer relations and providing 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 in turn generates consumer loyalty and engagement.
The insights gained through such initiatives provide companies with the data to work on its 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 they can be used in combination with one another. The most popular ones are discussed here.
Workshops and brainstorming sessions can be organized either online or in-house to encourage consumers to provide ideas for product innovation and development. The main 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 in the process.
Crowdsourcing is a combination ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. It involves getting people to participate in problem solving, product innovation, designing and development. It requires providing an environment for engaging with a large number of consumers and/or developers to generate ideas in a large scale over a period of time. 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 providing a user-friendly 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. 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 upgradation of 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 small set of consumer groups by providing customized product for their needs. The profits are generated 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. Mass customization can be broken down into several different levels depending upon the suitability in different situations.
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 huge surge of ideas and solutions and provides high level of customer engagement but at times it gets tricky to select the appropriate ideas from the entire lot. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Slide share are popular examples of user-generated content.