I am starting a new topic on this blog, called The Cooperation Lexicon. It aims at focussing on specific terms, explaining and discussing them, as well as providing examples.
Today, let’s study co-creation.
Co-creation is a process in which an organization creates, in a cooperative mode, with its partners or customers:
- a product or a service
- a marketing campaign
- new concepts
Co-creation is most visible at the time of innovation. When French bank Caisse d’Epargne gives a free hand to youngsters to imagine a new credit card design, co-creation operates in this way: the bank is setting up the contest, provides voting tools, while young people contribute online ; at the end of the day, there is a new product, a freshly designed credit card.
But co-creation can also be a part of a brand’s personality, not only during the creative process, but on a daily basis, because it is deeply rooted in its offer. Take Ikea, for instance. Their consumers co-create the store chain’s offer by getting their items themselves in the stock and bringing them home in their own cars, thus allowing lower prices. The same is true for Amazon: readers’ opinions and comments are one of the main key success factors of the site. Of course, competitors have copied Amazon, but the brand keeps improving the co-creation with the readers, just because it is part of the brand’s identity.
Co-creation does have limits. For a consumer, being a part of it takes time. It is crucial that the company provides the right tools, especially interactive tools, so that co-creation be a pleasant experience. It is also key that the questions asked to or the tasks requested from the customers be clear enough. Indeed, it is very difficult for a consumer to answer questions like: “what do you want ?” or “how should we design our next product?”. It is often more efficient to show consumers creative drafts to comment on. This is typically what French public transportation company RATP does with its participatory website. Another important issue is benefit sharing. When a consumer co-creates with a company, he/she brings their creativity and sometimes their work. It is just fair that the company acknowledges it some way or other, for instance with prizes or VIP events.