Here’s a riddle for you.
What currency that has never depreciated, and in fact, has only appreciated over the last decade. It’s the single most coveted currency used in friendships and love stories, from politics to social media. It forms the foundation of every decision we make.
That currency is trust. And while you cant pay with it in a store or trade it in the foreign exchange market, it holds incredible value for your brand.
Trust as your most valued currency.
Trust involves taking a leap and placing confidence in someone or something. This is how your consumers make their purchasing decisions. So how do you establish trust and more importantly, how do you build it without spending millions of dollars? It’s like a marriage, its built on the basis of a mutually beneficial relationship.
The Challenge faced today by brands.
Brands both big and small, face shared challenges in today's economy. Big corporations are seen as evil, small businesses are seen as disreputable and essentially consumers are struggling with whom to buy from. The challenges faced include:
- Loss of brand loyalty
- A disconnect between the businesses and their consumers
- Loss of privacy
- Influencers having less sway
- Fake reviews
Co-Creation as a solution.
What is Co-creation? It refers to the idea of inviting your customers to participate in ideas for your next product and sometimes even participating in the design. There are some incredibly successful stories around how large brands turned to co-creation to completely turn around their R&D process. This concept can give you access to a relationship with your customer that is far more valuable than anything money could buy.
Two examples of Co-creation success:
While everyone thinks of lego as a creative organization, even a recognized brand such as theirs, needed to turn things around. A change in leadership in 2004 led them to a fresh approach for idea development and the result was the creation of Lego ideas.
Why would someone share their brilliant idea with a giant like Lego? If you submit an idea and it receives 10,000 votes, the experts at Lego review the idea. Then you have an opportuity to collaborate with the Lego team to finalize the product and are recognized for being the “idea master” behind the product.
Why would a behemoth like Coca-Cola need any outside ideas? Every market place is different and who knows better what a market desires than the people in that marketplace. This concept led to the development of the Co-Creation Experiment in 2018 in South East Asia because Coca-Cola wanted the new products to truly reflect the tastes of Southeast Asia.
“The world is changing. Consumers are changing. It is very difficult to keep (and) to hold people’s attention,” said Andrea Bracho Poirier, manager of marketing and commercial insights at Coca-Cola in South East Asia. Innovations don’t just begin in the boardroom, they can begin in the minds of the consumer that they are targetting.
But the idea of c-creation is only effective if you can reach a critical mass. Brands like Starbucks learned early on that they needed 1000-7000 participants to help them with the co-creation of a single product.
Put your wallets away
Worried this will cost more than you can afford? Surprisingly, the motivation behind co-creation is not always compensation. A study conducted by McKinsey found the following results: “Based on 10 co-creation projects found that the largest percentage of participants (28%) were driven by curiosity and a desire to learn. This was closely followed by entertainment and social play (26 percent), and an interest in building skills (26 percent). Some 20 percent were driven by recognition and rewards.”
While you might have a sophisticated R&D team who is well paid to deliver the best and most thought out ideas, turning to your target audience who you hope will buy your future product, almost guarantees a sense of pride in the consumer and a personal endorsement by that consumer in your brand. Where is the value in that? As a company built solely on the basis of co-creation with our own community, the results have been the growth of a 150,000 member community ready to weigh in at anytime on the latest and greatest products coming through our door. They have become our own endorsement of the validity of our company, and there are no dollars we could have paid for that trust based relationship.