I have been working recently on a marketing innovation project for an emerging brand. It was the first time that a truly diverse team of internal and agency stakeholders as well as experts from outside the brand had gotten together in one room to collaborate and leverage one another’s best practices and creative brains. At the end of the day there was one loud and clear implication: this brand also needsto leverage it’s target consumers to be a part of the definition of it’s brand essence and guide it’s communication strategy.
Open Source innovation is a driving force in emerging brand strategy practice: bringing outside inspiration from cross-functional teams within your company, consultants from outside as well as consumer points of view.
From experience in dealing with many a brand team, that the issue with co-creation is not necessarily intent, but budget. Who puts up the cash to make it happen? Is it a marketing spend? A market research spend? Who antes up from their budget to start engaging consumers from the beginning and then keep them involved as brand advocates as well as ongoing voice of customer? Especially with emerging brands, it’s a tough call to get funding before you can show sales volume. That is why co-creation is so important. what you can’t make up for with marketing spend, you need to supplement with insight, intuition, guts and creative collaboration.
It is pretty intuitive to most forward thinking marketers nowadays that the co-creation story is one that can turn your most influential consumers into ROI machines by virtue of word of mouth alone. To use a hot market research buzzword, they become “meme” spreaders who pass on your brand message with a strong sense of personal ownership and use whatever mediums are most relevant to them to spread the message.
The added value here is that not only can these open-source innovator consumers be a voice of inspiration and co-creation for your brand, but they can be a valuable marketing and PR asset, continue to participate in research to build and maintain the brand, and help both your marketing and market research teams stay relevant locally by keeping you connected on the ground and connecting more consumers to the cause to participate in further insight and innovation initiatives.
The first step, however, is for co-creation to start at home. Time for the research and marketing teams to join forces with a unified vision of open-source return-on-investment that starts with a shared budget! Isn’t it amazing how innovation can come from something as simple as accounting? 😉 I have seen this model work so well with clients from CPG sectors to B2B automotive. Collaboration needs to start with the budget spreadsheets. It’s exciting to see the new and innovative information and methodologies and unexpected good will that can come from shared initiatives….both within the company / brand teams itself and especially with your consumers.