Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Co-creation takes over at LEGO

One of the best recent examples of co-creation is LEGO, and its IDEAS website which allows customers to create new designs. The website was set up for LEGO enthusiasts who can both create, vote and give feedback on new projects. The projects that receive over 10,000 votes go into a review phase where senior LEGO employees decide if the product is viable for production. If the product is approved, the creator will receive 1% of the net sales of that product.

Source: http://lego.wikia.com/

Consumer insights are now a core part of the LEGO strategy that enables staff to make consumer led decisions. The ‘LEGO Friends’ play set was designed through the process of co-creation, and came from the insight that young girls prefer designs with bright colours and environments that have emotional connection. The Senior Director for insight generation, Laura Post, conducted 13 research studies over a four-year period, which involved their target market creating new products in collaboration with designers. The insight lead to one of the biggest commercial successes in LEGO history, with a new product range that attracted new customers that they had previously not been able to connect with. 

Co-creation is quickly becoming an established feature of marketing practice for many successful firms. It is a relatively new approach to innovation that allows customers to add value to an organisation. This enables companies to differentiate themselves from competitors by encouraging collaboration with customers by putting them at the core of the business. The value of the insights generated by co-creation can be beneficial for both the company and the customer. Today’s customers are better-informed and actively take interest in the companies that they desire to connect with. They are no longer passive consumers and have become active creators of content and opinions. With the popularity of social media and the increasing number of websites with feedback mechanisms, customer’s voices can be heard louder and clearer than ever before.

Source: http://www.starpowercomic.com/

One of the primary factors driving co-creation is the vast access to information that customers now have. Considerable pressure is being placed on organisations to reinvent themselves for the millennial generation by adapting their products and services. Co-creation is an opportunity for customers to become even more integral to the company by helping to shape its future business practices.

To gain the most meaningful insights, companies must play the important role of a moderator who can help to facilitate discussions rather than lead them. The customer may not always be right, but they should always be listened too. Opening up does involve some risk that must be managed, especially for big brands with valuable reputations to protect. Involving the customer into these areas will help to create brand loyalty and long lasting relationships between the company and its community. It will also allow companies to become more consumer-centric in their approach and easier to act upon customer feedback. New product development can be both costly and time consuming for companies, but successful co-creation can help speed up this process and bring products to market faster.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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