We have to risk being "fools" both as marketers and young lovers because that is what offers all the risk and all the reward of being real and in a relationship.
Admittedly I’ve never had much use for the GAP, other than the fact it inspired some of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits (“Lay off me I’m starving”). But its newly designed logo seems to be leaving branding experts and fans alike starving for a bit more.
Music has played an integral role in branding since commercial radio welcomed product advertisements in the early 1920s. During the past two decades, popular music has evoked consumer emotions around brands and, more recently, has been used to reach specific market segments. When executed smartly, music can truly change the way consumers view brands and products. However, when used willy-nilly, music can expose a brand’s confused and clumsy search for self.
Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.
IBM has been experimenting with such “enterprise crowdfunding,” where the company gives its employees a small budget and encourages them to commit it to each others’ proposed projects.
The impact of this new way to source work and ideas has been significant. As crowdsourcing becomes a staple in cutting-edge marketing practices, it has come to represent a fierce challenge to the traditional agency model and the marketing industry in general.
The whole world seems to have woken up to the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Exhibit A is the effort to write a new constitution in Iceland where the surge of crowdsourcing, mass collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation initiatives is seeking to channel those ideas and leverage that talent in every realm of endeavor. But when it comes to taking those ideas and turning them into a comprehensive view of the future, a compelling set of priorities, and a genuinely involving and ongoing collaboration with a community of stakeholders, there aren't many instructive models.
Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Launched in the mid-Seventies, it was a blind taste test, heavily used in Pepsi's TV advertising, in which participants invariably would pick Pepsi over Coke as the better-tasting cola. It spoke directly to relevant brand equities that helped Pepsi-Cola mount a rising challenge to Coca-Cola over subsequent decades. Well, there’s a new Pepsi Challenge in town. But it has nothing to do with taste-testing, cola or even Pepsi per se. As part of PepsiCo’s ever-expansive Pepsi Refresh community-revitalization project, Pepsi Challenge is now the name of an online activity that encourages users to submit ideas and weigh in with solutions.
Ning Li is Made.com's 28-year-old CEO, and we are at the company's London office, on the 11th floor of an unremarkable Notting Hill office block. Made.com is an online-only furniture retailer, so there's no danger that customers will drop by. The company is six months old and already approaching profitability, with revenue doubling month on month, despite relying on word of mouth rather than marketing. The Union Jack Piggy Bag from Made.com. The company imports 80% of stock from China, and sources 20% in the UK. But this is a furniture business with no warehouse - and no inventory. Instead, products are "crowdsourced".
Once a year, there is a mass migration of the intelligentsia to Long Beach, Calif. here, inside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, a block from the Pacific Ocean, they gather for four days to share ideas and score gift bags at the TED Conference. Sold out a year in advance, the conference has scholars, scientists, musicians as speakers. They are boldface names: Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Jane Goodall. And as for any A-list party, an invitation is required. The price to get in: $6,000. Unable to meet the growing demand for access to TED, its organizers decided to democratize. They imagined a new conference that was TED but not TED, organized by local groups like schools, businesses, neighborhoods, even friends — at an unTED-like price: free.
Last year, MIT professor Andrew McAfee published a landmark book on the business use and impact of social software platforms titled Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. The book is a collection of McAfee's research since the spring of 2006 when he coined the phrase Enterprise 2.0. Shorthand for enterprise social software, Enterprise 2.0 is the strategic integration of Web 2.0 technologies into an organization's intranet, extranet, and business processes. Those technologies, including wikis, blogs, prediction markets, social networks, microblogging, and RSS, have in turn been adopted by government agencies, a phenomenon that falls under the mantle of Gov 2.0. As the use of such technology has grown, Congress is now considering the risks and rewards of Web 2.0 for federal agencies.
We’ve heard a lot about listening over the past several years as marketers have sought to make the most of the social web. But are we really listening? Former President Calvin Coolidge once remarked that, “No one ever listened themselves out of a job.” Customer feedback today is easier than ever to come by, and experts and observers have encouraged companies to engage in a real dialogue with customers instead of just talking customers’ ears off. As Umair Haque of the Havas Media Lab wrote back in 2008, “listening beats talking.” Companies claimed to have gotten the message, unveiling elaborate listening programs, such as Starbucks’ mystarbucksidea website. More recently, the Wall Street Journal has taken note that business “are listening” to customer reviews and other feedback on sites like Yelp, City Search, and Urban Spoon.
I am watching the reinvigoration of the Buick Regal name with some interest. This is a brand name that is being essentially relaunched to reach a younger demographic, with a heavy focus on the 35-40 age group, moving away from the traditional Buick target market, usually double that age bracket. There are two ads: Autobahn and Discover Beauty that essentially position the car as an American BMW, since much is being made of the car's German engineering.
Sometimes Google takes a break from its mission of organizing all the world's information and decides to embark upon an artsy project that encapsulates...organizing all the world's information. Late on Tuesday, the search giant posted an entry to the Official Google Blog announcing the creation of "Life In A Day," a film project that solicits video submissions from YouTube users around the world--the criteria is that they must capture some kind of moment filmed on July 24.
Typically, a brand event is at least months in the planning -- or if not, likely requires hyper mode by the agencies handling it. But while seat-of-the-pants activation may be inadvisable for most events, a 30-day, 69-city "grassroots" promotion tour that was part of Mountain Dew's year-long "DEWmocracy 2" campaign may point to an alternative worth considering.
Audi is inviting the public to submit ideas for electric car designs through July 31, following Fiat's recent user-generated contest inviting consumers to participate in developing a new car. It's the latest high-profile crowdsourcing exercise, which used to be restricted to startups and smaller companies. Now, it's much more common among bigger brands. Pepsi's doing it, while Starbucks has generated over 21,000 ideas from coffee-lovers for new drinks. Dell's three-year-old IdeaStorm has received over 10,000 suggestions from consumers, and claims to have implemented almost 400 of those ideas. Last year, Netflix paid $1 million for a new idea for a movie recommendation system.
YouTube is looking to ramp up engagement between viewers and content creators through the integration of Google Moderator, the search giant’s crowdsourcing and feedback product. Google Moderator, which launched in 2008, is one of the company’s lesser-known products. It allows a person to manage feedback and questions from large groups of people. Users submit their suggestions or questions via Moderator, and can then vote specific questions or suggestions up or down to bring the best ideas to the top.
Mountain Dew took three new Dew flavors to fans, asking for feedback on placing ad media buys. The move represents the latest in a series of attempts through Dew Labs to turn over the entire product development cycle and marketing process to consumers who love the brand most.
Amid the recent rash of Pampers diapers social-media stories, a new conversational project by rival brand Huggies has gotten somewhat lost in the mix. Which is a shame, because Pampers has demonstrated the need to listen and adapt to customer conversations in response to a crisis. But Huggies is embracing social-media research, community building, and collaboration in a manner that shows social media's positive potential rather than its liability.
Beginning on May 3rd, Volkswagen will launch an “App My Ride” contest where designers, programmers, developers and interested users can submit an idea for a new in-car infotainment application. Inspired by the innovative application development process and ‘app stores’ of Google and Apple, VW will become the first car manufacturer to use the idea of open innovation for the development of its products.
Spend a few days around the world stopping over in Shenzen, Shanghai, Mumbai and Seoul and you know what’s really happening out there. Companies are getting desperate and now reaching out to suppliers and customers for ideas. Some even go to the extreme of sourcing ideas from the everyone - the crowd. There’s this naive belief that the crowd is smarter than individual. This is a dangerous theory. Engaging suppliers, advanced users and front-end employees are good practices, but not letting them do your job.
The business of marketing is in the midst of a massive cultural shift. While buzzwords like co-creation, mass-collaboration and crowdsourcing are all the rage, there’s actually a much bigger and deeper change going on with the way work gets done. Three disruptive forces: the expectation of transparency, the further digitization of the workforce and the rise of the curator class, all coupled with the current macro-economic conditions, have changed the world of marketing forever. Like it or not, from professional creatives to consumers, people want to be involved with your brand.
Some of the most exciting new ideas in organizations are based on harnessing the collective intelligence of crowds and communities. Think of user-generated content platforms, open source software, crowdsourcing, and knowledge markets — just a few examples of ways that large numbers of loosely networked users are invited to create or evaluate products, content or ideas. This is the “social web,” the interlinked virtual universe that to so many executives seems to offer the irresistible promise of providing something — ideas, work, decisions — for (almost) nothing, if only they could manage it right.
In July 2008, Unilever executives convened 16 regular young men and women from around the world at a meeting in New York. Why? To tap them for ideas for a new global fragrance for Axe, a brand of men's body spray, antiperspirant, and shower gel. The company had previously experimented with consumer-driven product development for local launches, but never for one on such a large scale.
French beauty marketer Clarins Fragrance Group is launching a major global campaign Monday that's missing one major thing: the product. That's because the unusual push for Clarins' Thierry Mugler perfume brand, rather than touting a new scent or the brand itself, is marketing an online media platform dubbed "Womanity," on which the public can come up with the next big products that will hit the shelves.
As the first project in its new GeoBranding Center, the CMO Council (CMOC) is partnering with South Africa to measure the impacts of the country's branding efforts and co-sponsor a crowd-sourcing advertising contest leading up to the FIFA World Cup tournament this summer. The council is forming the GeoBranding Center as a global knowledge resource center dedicated to the marketing of countries, destinations, places of origin, attractions, venues and locations. Geobranding experts and marketers will be invited to contribute insights, opinions, case studies and best practices, and a series of research initiatives will explore the impact of campaigns using B-to-C and B-to-B digital and traditional advertising and marketing campaigns. The center's microsite will launch March 15.
Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.
There certainly will be advertising winners (and losers) on Super Bowl Sunday but let's hope that the Monday morning quarterback chatter doesn't obscure the larger shift at hand for marketers this year. 2010 will be the year of the "platform" for advertisers. Unlike a website, banner, Facebook application or 30-second spot, a platform is an always-on digital environment that allows brands to run specific or multiple programs. The goal is to meaningfully engage consumers on multiple levels.
Social media marketing campaigns are proving to be goldmines rich with customer engagement and insight that companies wouldn’t likely have otherwise. Companies like PepsiCo are going to extensive lengths to foster this type of collaboration with fans, and the payoff has been big. The company’s Mountain Dew division is several stages into its DEWmocracy campaign — a plan to launch a new Mountain Dew flavor with the public’s involvement at all levels of the process, and PepsiCo also just launched the Pepsi Refresh Project on January 13th. Rather than spending money on Super Bowl television ads this year, the company is spending $20 million on a social media campaign.
The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.
We’ve reported before on the use of contests in naming. The maker of Crayola products, for instance, urged crayon enthusiasts to help rename an old color, and name suggestions poured in. For the first time in its history, Boeing encouraged people around the world to name its newest airplane. In the process, the firm reaped a public relations windfall. After tallying 500,000 votes in more than 160 countries, Boeing announced the winner at the Paris Air Show in June 2003: “Dreamliner” will be the name of the Boeing 7E7 aircraft.
Pepsi has begun promotions for an expanded, "evolved" 2010 iteration of the "Refresh Everything" initiative first implemented last year, now rechristened the "Pepsi Refresh Project." This year, Pepsi has earmarked more than $20 million to fund ideas for new community projects submitted by members of the public. The projects to be funded will also be chosen by the public, via online voting. Over the course of 2010, Pepsi Refresh will fund thousands of "innovative, optimistic" ideas for community improvement projects spanning six categories (health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, and neighborhoods and education).
When Vitamin Water decided to let Facebook users create a new flavor we had no idea that the final product would pay homage to Facebook in so many ways. The new flavor, announced today, is called “Connect” (as in Facebook Connect?) and even carries the Facebook logo on the bottle label.
In 2009, digital marketing experienced major shifts in opportunities, budgets and attitude. Twenty ten will see the hype calming around Facebook apps, Twitter campaigns and ROI models for social media. The following five trends point up what marketers can expect as the new decade opens.
Facebook's begun testing a system that's in vogue at the moment: Using its own users as a data-crunching system. Nothing terribly new there--except that Facebook's using its crowd to actually moderate the rest of the crowd and stamp out the nasty bits, which is a whole new ethically-intriguing level It's called the "Facebook Community Council" and according to the group's motto it exists to "harness the power and intelligence of Facebook users to support us in keeping Facebook a trusted and vibrant community." This all sounds very lofty, very un-dictatorial and much more hippyish, power-to-the-people than Facebook sometimes seems, with moves like its blanket decisions on user-privacy.
At year’s end, I have an unhappy thought, that some of the creative professionals who rose to prominence in the first decade of the 21st century will be eclipsed by the end of the decade coming, that the first decade of the 21st century will be, for some creative professionals, a brief moment in the sun. This suspicion turns on three propositions.
Brand experience is rapidly becoming the new frontier for innovation. Such brand experiences authentically embed the product into deep content or services, stretching the footprint of the brand far beyond where it is used. This type of innovation is becoming a mandate for growth across a number of consumer categories, particularly in package goods. Not to be confused with the lifestyle marketing approach of Patagonia, North Face, Disney and the like, experience-led innovation is all about serving up rich, differentiated experiences that encourage consumer involvement and collaboration. As CMOs look to capitalize on this emerging opportunity, they must take several prerequisite steps.
Imagine crowd-sourcing the entire world before launching a product and not spending one penny for a marketing campaign. You could gain insight from reporters, analysts and consumers about the types of services that would and wouldn't work. The online audience segment you address could become your buyers. You might even determine a fair market price for the product, or gain insight into the continent where the product should launch first. And if the product happened to be a mobile phone, you could even determine the best carrier to bundle services. Even if the phone doesn't exist now, Google has proven that the market is ripe for the company to jump on in. And to think it all started with a blog post and a few Twitter tweets from Google employees.
In the marketing world, as in most other industries, there are two types of people. There are the complicators. And there are the simplifiers. The complicators can make even the simplest marketing concept sound like something akin to mapping the genome. They throw around buzzwords like "target market archetypes," "crowdsourcing," "brand-based consumer insight" and "habituated conversations" the way a sailor spews profanity. The simplifiers? They're the ones that usually cut through the crapola, boil the problem down to its simplest terms, then solve it. No muss, no fuss, no references to "cross-platform fluency."
As a marketer, PepsiCo appears lost. As a company, it might be in trouble. While there is something to be said for experimentation, PepsiCo has canned more marketing misses than hits in the last year. In an effort to continually target the next generation, it seems to have forgotten how to be a business. In fact, if it wasn't for its salty snack holdings being considered a staple, we suspect its fizzy drink section might start to dry up. In some ways, it has. In October, PepsiCo Americas Beverages unit reported a 6 percent drop in volume and a 9 percent revenue decline. According to some analysts, the result reflects a change in buying habits as consumers shifted toward juices and teas and away from soft drinks. That might be true, but 6 percent is twice the drop experienced by Coca-Cola.
If it seems like you’ve been hearing a lot about crowdsourcing lately, it’s because you have. Crowdsourcing is one of those buzz words, like synergy or viral that people are throwing around now to cover just about anything. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined in a June 2006 Wired magazine article by Jeff Howe. My first experience with the concept came when I participated in The Beast, the Alternate Reality Game tied to the Steven Spielberg movie, A.I., back in 2001. As a member of the 6,000+ strong Cloudmakers group, I joined fans from across the world to solve puzzles and interact within this fantastic fictional world. We worked together to create a ‘collective detective’ that competed against the puzzle makers, not against each other, and it was brilliant. And now crowdsourcing is very much in vogue.
It's come to this: Ad agencies, in a push to get hip with the kids, lower their price points, and produce better ideas, seem to be piling onto the crowdsourcing bandwagon. But can crowdsourcing produce anything more than mediocre work? Evangelists for the trend say that crowdsourcing opens the competitive field, to talent that would otherwise go overlooked. Typically, you offer a prize, open the gates, and let the best idea win. You get more ideas, so some of them are bound to be good, right?
Victors & Spoils launched today, touting itself as the “world’s first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles.” The agency’s crowdsourced approach stems from identifying the need for companies, brands and agencies to be radically transparent, to address the consumer’s demand to be more involved and from a growing cost consciousness regarding clients’ budgets. Recognizing that the crowdsourcing paradigm can feel a bit unruly for most clients, Victors & Spoils will face the daunting challenge of identifying an array of possible crowdsourced solutions and keeping them on-strategy for their clients.
Last August, the people who putatively run Twitter — the small crew that three years ago launched the world’s fastest-growing communications medium — announced a relatively minor change in the way the site functions. The tweak would have a small effect on retweeting, the convention by which Twitter users repost someone else’s informative or amusing message to their own Twitter followers. Retweets start with RT, for “retweet,” and usually cite the first author by user ID. And, importantly, retweeters often add a word or two of commentary about the repeated content. But there was a problem: Twitter itself didn’t invent retweeting; it was created by Twitter users. In a blog post explaining the changes to retweets, the company’s second-in-command, Biz Stone, called them “a great example of Twitter teaching us what it wants to be.”
Five years ago, we launched a conference based on a simple idea, and that idea grew into a movement. The original Web 2.0 Conference ( now the Web 2.0 Summit ) was designed to restore confidence in an industry that had lost its way after the dotcom bust. The Web was far from done, we argued. In fact, it was on its way to becoming a robust platform for a culture-changing generation of computer applications and services. In our first program, we asked why some companies survived the dotcom bust, while others had failed so miserably. We also studied a burgeoning group of startups and asked why they were growing so quickly. The answers helped us understand the rules of business on this new platform.
As loyal Search Insider readers know, I've been fleshing out marketing lessons learned from Google for three consecutive columns as a precursor to a book I'm writing -- Everything I Need to Know About Marketing I Learned From Google. I figure it's never too early to start working on a sequel so, today, I'd like to focus on lessons learned from Google about product development. The Google corporate site outlines "Ten things we know to be true." (Wish I'd seen these before I set out to capture my last twenty lessons!) These "core principals" can certainly be applied to many facets of business but I think, more than anything, they provide a blueprint for successful product development.
It doesn't really surprise me that the iSnack 2.0 product name for the new cheesy Vegemite product was pulled, leading some pundits to say that even if the (admittedly terrible) iSnack 2.0 name was a marketing gimmick, it might have done harm to the brand. Kraft, the makers of Vegemite, has had plenty of media attention over the last couple of weeks, but unfortunately, most of it has been negative. Lots of bloggers are even getting sick of the iSnack naming hoopla. Amazingly, Kraft went back to consumers and held another online competition and this time around "Cheesybite" was the name that came out on top, which is a big improvement.
The rage Australians feel today has reached us here in Minneapolis and cannot be ignored. Seems that Kraft's iconic Vegemite brand name down under has been, er, upgraded into a new format of the product and named, wait for it, iSnack 2.0. This is not a joke. This is happening. There is really no American equivalent to Vegemite, a pre-war spread made from "yeast products" ...um... suffice to say that this is really an Australian thing. Nonetheless, it is an iconic brand name and this update, which is decades in the making, has prompted one blogger to dub it iSuck 2.0. In fact, it's such a silly name that some feel this must be a hoax designed to create instant buzz around a staid product.
Innovation is no longer the product of a singular “a-ha” moment. It has evolved into a field that can be both studied and predicted, according to Judith Rodin, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation. At the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday, Rodin suggested three systematic innovation processes that can be applied to social sector issues like global warming and malnutrition.
As the digital age seeps into the kitchen, it’s time to reconsider whether too many cooks spoil the broth. Crowd-sourcing recipes — corralling a group of strangers on the Internet to create and edit a bank of recipes — is gaining popularity and investors. The idea is that a thousand cooks can come up with a better recipe than any single chef. Some cooks argue that the collective process strips recipes of their personality and their provenance. But backers believe they are creating a new authority for cooking: the Wikipedia of recipes.
To make an electronics company, you need a lot of people: executives, managers, accountants, marketing, manufacturing, and on and on. But somewhere inside that cloud of administration, there are always a few anonymous geniuses, the heart of the company, the ones who keep the whole thing going: the people who actually come up with the ideas. How do they do it? How do they come up with enough new features to keep us excited, year after year? I don’t know how they usually do it, but I know how they should do it: by crowdsourcing.
Fiat is going to build and promote its 2010 Mio concept car based on ideas of consumers submitted via social media. The company's website asks "In the future we're building, what should a car have that makes it mine, while still working for others?" It has prompted 1,700 ideas and more than 40,000 comments, mostly about things like putting bamboo on seats, or providing an outlet to charge laptops. The company plans to ask for branding and marketing ideas next. Fiat has yet to decide whether it will ever build or sell the thing for real. Phew. At best, it's a stupid marketing stunt.
Formula 50 is the Vitamin Water flavor co-created by 50 Cent, a top seller, and a personal favorite of yours-truly. As good as the flavor is, sometimes I think I could concoct something just a bit better. Vitamin Water, no strangers to social media marketing, agrees, so their handing over the keys to their flavor creator lab and tapping into the Facebook community for flavor innovation.
Motivating collective creativity among a group of loosely connected individuals with a shared interest requires more than just an offer of prize money. Brands can harness social and personal desires to inspire crowds to come together for collaborative endeavors.
Every few days, I get an email asking this question: “I have this awesome idea to help X, but I’m not sure what direction to take. Do I open things up to the crowd to collaborate and target a mass audience? Or do I put everything together myself and target a specific group?” This is a question everyone from the biggest brand to the smallest start-up is asking: should you go with the crowd or should you go niche?
While it was once regarded primarily as a private activity, innovation has increasingly become a process that encourages participation by an organization’s employees, prospects, customers and partners. This system of external or open innovation creates a community that looks very much like a social network. In fact, open innovation communities are simply a specific example of social networking.
Fiat Brazil has launched an online social media initiative to gather ideas from the public for a new concept car called the ‘Mio’ which will be presented at the 2010 Brazil Auto Show. The format is less design focused than say Peugot’s long running contest, Fiat is looking for ideas that make a car personal.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the latest marketer in China to invite consumers to create an ad campaign, but the brewer has one rule: The commercial must feature ants. The U.S. beer giant is partnering with Tudou.com, a Chinese video-sharing site like YouTube, in a contest that lets consumers pitch ideas for a Bud TV spot that will run during the Chinese New Year in February 2010.
HP and Amazon's latest ad campaigns may use crowdsourcing to generate advertisements, but the concept is far from new. Dorito's "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, launched in 2006, has been one of the more successful campaigns of this type.
Unilever is offering $10,000 in a competition to find ideas for its next TV campaign for snack food brand Peperami, using its quirky Animal character, as it decides to drop its ad agency of 16 years and turn to crowdsourcing for creative ideas. The company, which has worked with Lowe on the Peperami brand since 1993, is looking for ideas from people that are a cut above the user-generated content level competitions run by Pringles and Doritos last year.
The Netflix Prize, a remarkable crowdsourcing experiment, refuses to die: Runner-up teams have joined forces to overtake the leader to qualify for a $1 million payday by coming up with a movie recommendation system at least 10 percent better than the company’s own technology.
The fashion magazines Vogue, InStyle and Lucky may rule the newsstand racks. But online, they are also-rans, overlooked by the fashion-conscious in favor of Polyvore, an upstart Web site far from Fifth Avenue.
Few concepts in business have been as popular and appealing in recent years as the emerging discipline of “open innovation.” The overarching notion is that the Internet opens the door to a new world of democratic idea generation and collaborative production. Early triumphs like the Linux operating system and the Wikipedia Web encyclopedia are seen as harbingers. But a look at recent cases and new research suggests that open-innovation models succeed only when carefully designed for a particular task and when the incentives are tailored to attract the most effective collaborators.
For small businesses looking for advice, the Internet provides an ideal consultant: the consumer. All sorts of start-ups and small companies are using the Internet to involve customers in decisions on everything from what to sell, how products look and work, how much they cost, and even how the company operates, like what hours a store should be open or how its floor space should be laid out.
At last month's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Hiroki Ono of Japan walked away a winner. But he didn't take home a Grand Prix or Golden Lion. Ono, a 23-year-old aspiring filmmaker, placed first for "Feel the Globe."
Involving community and customers in providing feedback about your products isn’t the only way to innovate your company. In the future, especially around public facing jobs at companies, we should expect brands to involve the community in defining what those roles should be.
PSFK recently asked our global network of experts, The Purple List for their thoughts on the future of journalism. We received answers that imagine a variety of possible scenarios, though a common theme emerged which points to a system that combines crowd-sourcing with some kind of editorial curation and professional reporting.
At the excellent MarketingProfs B2B Forum a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending “Marketing 2.0: Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix” a session hosted by IBM’s Sandy Carter. Carter’s presentation offered a variety of valuable social media insights and strategies on three interesting projects at IBM. The lessons learned from one case study in particular stuck out as worth sharing.
A soured economy has prompted a boom in crowdsourcing, but this is a creative, efficient trend that will outlast the recession?
Say goodbye to surfin' dudes and babes, the amoral party that is Hollywood, and any fashion or legislative references that might imply peace, love, or pukka shells. California is rebranding itself. Yesterday, its Supreme Court upheld the voter-passed ban on same-sex marriage by a 6-1 margin. The state has a seriously (and frighteningly) direct, participatory democracy thing going on, which allows the ballot box to directly set legislation and regulations (they decided they didn't want to pay too much in property taxes a while back, for instance, so a referendum made it so). It turns out that a simple ballot initiative can also make verbatim changes to its constitution. California has been crowdsourcing its government for years.
Bill Gates once derided open source advocates with the worst epithet a capitalist can muster. These folks, he said, were a "new modern-day sort of communists," a malevolent force bent on destroying the monopolistic incentive that helps support the American dream. Gates was wrong: Open source zealots are more likely to be libertarians than commie pinkos. Yet there is some truth to his allegation. The frantic global rush to connect everyone to everyone, all the time, is quietly giving rise to a revised version of socialism.
At a time when many companies’ investments in innovation are being cut, technology and media companies are showing that there can be advantages in harnessing the ideas of customers or even competitors.
It’s one of the most important concepts on the web today—perhaps the most important for social media—but it’s one of the least understood. When James Surowiecki wrote The Wisdom of Crowds in 2004, he explored the stock market and other classic social psychology examples, but “web 2.0” was still nascent. It’s time to connect his ideas to the social web, where they can reach their full potential.
Best Buy plans to expand significantly its private label technology products business, believing that customer feedback in its stores will let it make simple improvements that the big name brands might miss. Such vertical integration might be torn right from Capitalism 101, but I'm not sure that I buy it.
Fronteer Strategy, an Amsterdam-based management strategy consulting firm, has published a short (6-page) paper on co-creation, in which they argue that there are four types of co-creation and five guiding principles to any successful Co-creation venture.
Much has been made of savvy marketers using "crowdsourcing" to connect their brands with customers, and plenty of pixels have been published on the success of crowdsourced programs like Dell's IdeaStorm, Starbucks' MyStarbucksIdea, The Netflix Prize and Lego's invite-only community. But quite recently a much different discussion has emerged, as crowdsourcing is starting to change the very way we think about creativity, both online and off.
Fosters in Australia teamed up with the Taboo Group to create a beer based on the tastes of thousands of creative minds (and their tongues). Nelson beer has been brewed in Melbourne and is the product of user feedback. They held gatherings and parties and then gathered feedback from almost a thousand “creative types” regarding the look, taste, and possible names for the beer.
I've been excited lately to see that the idea of crowdsourcing has caused such a stir. You know a paradigm is about to shift when lines start getting drawn in the sand. When I was writing about co-creation in Beyond the Brand back in 2003 I couldn’t even imagine how the open source movement would radically change so many businesses.
Ten brains are better than one, right? Crowdsourcing will always make projects go faster. That's why The Energy Crowd, a crowd-sourced based Web site for renewable energy technologies, is moving so quickly with its first project.
Campbell Soup Co. has created a new Web site called “Campbell’s Ideas for Innovation” where scientists, entrepreneurs and inventors can easily submit their ideas for evaluation.
The blowback from President Obama's interactive town hall has been intense and widespread. It's all terribly interesting, though not for any of the reasons people think. The incident signifies the end of one, increasingly troubled stage in the courtship between the President and social media, and — we can only hope — the beginning of another, more realistic and mature stage. At this critical juncture I'd like to offer some relationship counseling.
Everyone's (or no one's) favorite redesigned brands, Tropicana and Facebook, came up yet again at this weekend's Y Conference as Liz Danzico, chair of the new Interaction Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts, focused on the concept of "designing in real time." She thinks redesign recalls are about to get a lot more common as designers are more likely to launch alpha or beta versions of experiences and then monitor user behavior to get feedback.
The wisdom of the crowds has already been put to work to improve product design, provide personal style advice and resolve marital disputes, so why not use it to tackle the economy, too? In Ireland, a new grassroots initiative is aiming to do just that through a campaign to solicit ideas for economic recovery.
Crowdsourcing, by its very name, encourages a comparison to outsourcing. But when Wired first published the article that entered the term into the popular lexicon, it was far from clear whether the phenomenon would realize its disruptive potential. Three years later, it seems increasingly obvious that it will. Aided by a new generation of sophisticated startups, ever cheaper creative tools and — most of all — a recession that is forcing cost-saving measures on businesses, crowdsourcing is rapidly migrating from the fringe to the mainstream.