Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Forefront of Co-Creation

How can we as marketers work with consumers to co-create brand innovation ideas?

Based on the S&P 500 index of leading US Companies, Professor Richard Foster from Yale University is of the understanding that the average lifespan of a company in today’s contemporary society has decreased more than 50 years in the past century. As a comparative, companies in the 1920’s saw a healthy average lifespan of 67+ years, opposed to today’s companies averaging on 15 years.

What we as marketers need to understand is that as consumers move more rapidly, businesses must become more agile to compete, or they will die. With this being said, businesses are now taking a conscious effort to understand just how important innovation is in order to survive in the marketplace.

Founder of Melbourne based company, Brandhook, Pip Stocks, is of the belief that innovation is the key to drive growth. With that being said, innovation itself needs to be anchored in the undiscovered needs or “pain points” of consumers, and the corresponding solutions need to then be rigorously tested. As barriers fall away between brands and consumers, Brandhook encourages their clients to commit to a co-creation program.

So how can businesses quickly gather insight in a cost effective way and still have the rigor needed to build confidence in the ideas generated?

Brandhook promotes the idea of spending time with your consumers in an “online community”, where you can “hang-out” with a good representation of people who buy your product or service. Over a period of time, you gain an understanding of your consumers' lives, their needs and their attitudes and perceptions to various brands and experiences. Through observing, probing and getting your consumers to undergo a variety of tasks, Pip believes you can quickly and cost effectively gain insight that will kick-off the innovation process.

Head of Category and Insights at H.J. Heinz Company says “ Understanding our Consumers helps us to ensure big innovation is successful, which provides a key platform to deliver sustainable category growth”.

As part of the Masters of Marketing program, the Contemporary Consumer Insights class has the pleasure of listening to the inspiring Managing Director of “House of Brands”, Bryony Ranford. A concept that was discussed was the importance of research in provoking information that will generate innovative ideas. Due to the influx of technology, engagement these days has become highly fragmented and saturated, so the ability to adapt is always paramount. A key factor that resonated with me was that good consumer insights was attained by having the ability to find touch points where someone is receptive to the message you are trying to convey. It is not so much as to the “what” in marketing anymore, but the “how” and “when”.

There is a menu of different approaches we can take to build consumer knowledge, however it’s the innovation, rigour and context we need in ensuring future success.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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