7 posts categorized "Cocreation"


Inspiration from Open Ideo

Open Ideo is a great co-creation platform. The big difference between Open Ideo and other crowdsourcing online platform is its focus on collaboration rather than on solitary responses to the briefs. The co-creators can get inspired and they can inspire each other through the initial Inspiration stage where all the relevant contextual material is collected and reviewed. This openness is possible mainly because Open Ideo deals with non-profit projects. To achieve the same degree of openness is difficult for business co-creation as the competition amongst the co-creators is inevitably higher and there is also a general - though in my opinion unnecessary - need for secrecy. We are hoping to learn from Open Ideo as much as we can!


Unilever goes crowdsourcing

via www.guardian.co.uk

"We believe Peperami is a brand that deserves radical creative solutions and are confident taking our brief out to thousands rather than a small team of creatives will provide us with the best possible idea and take our advertising to the next level," said the Peperami marketing manager, Noam Buchalter (from an article in the Guardian).

I think that Noam is right. I used to think that the crowd can only give you a direction for creative development but, after a first-hand experience with crowdsourcing, I believe that the creative could come from the crowd, given that the crowd is big and diverse enough.

Does it mean that the world has become our creative department and the big ad agencies can be closed down? I think it does, except for the planning department, that should stay open - the planners will connect the crowd with the brand.


Sum total of all the misunderstandings

I have listened to an interview with the writer Philip Roth on a BBC podcast (podcasts are great!) Roth has talked about fame and he quoted R.M. Rilke: "Fame is finally only the sum total of all the misunderstandings that can gather around a new name."

What we have here is a clear definition of a modern brand by Rilke: "Brand is finally only the sum total of all the misunderstandings that can gather around a (new) name." It is a definition that emphasizes the role of consumer co-creation in the brand development process (i.e. the sum total of all the misunderstandings). Rilke's name could have become big in the world of marketing if he had dropped the gloomy positioning and had been a bit more of a team-player.

Rilke's problem is not that of skills but of attitude. For instance, he also said something along these lines: "who would speak of victory, survival is all!". It is a very Eastern European thing to say. It is because of this defeatist attitude that we, Eastern Europeans, tend not to get to the top positions in marketing at multinational firms. Rilke might be right in a long run but I don't recommend to anybody to use this quote during a job interview for a brand managerial position. However, one can co-create with Rilke, change the sentence slightly and say with a winning smile "who would speak of survival, it is victory that is all!". Such statement will make a huge impression on the HR person present at the interview. Rilke


Esomar Innovate Conference, Copenhagen (2 out 2)

I write this partly as a response to the comment from Matt Hart - and I will come back to Matt's points shortly.

I did two presentations at the Esomar Innovate conference in Copenhagen - one with Evert Bos from Brainjuicer and the second with Andrew Needham of Face. I did the second presentation on behalf of Ana Medeiros,  my colleague in Unilever. Ana works closely with Andrew on the co-creation for Axe and she has done great job driving and promoting co-creation within Unilever.  Here are the 2 presentations (Andrew Needham and John Kearon have kindly agreed to publish the presentations on this blog):

Both methodologies - Brainjuicer's creative 6-ers and the approach of Face - have at their heart co-creation of new ideas/concepts with people  (so-called creative consumers) and each of them are advocating a completely different approach.

Lets try to explore some aspects of the two approaches while looking at the questions raised by Matt:

Recruiting and profiling: Brainjuicer uses the screener for "creatives", described in the presentation.  Similar screener is used in case of the Supergroups (used by Márta for the co-creation on Tic Tac).  The " Stuffed Toy Elephant question" (see slide 15 of the Brainjuicer presentation) is one the key question for recruitment of creatives for both Brainjuicer creatives and the Supergroupers.

Educating the respondents: Face has their panel of consumers (Headbox) from which they draw creative consumers.  These consumers are often young designers/students of marketing and I think that this is a great advantage, i.e. rather than being dependent (only) on a questionnaire we can hire young people who are not only creative and bright but also educated in our field. (It becomes much easier to explain to them what the brands stands for,  what are the objectives etc.)

We worked with the young creative consumers on Axe/Lynx and we had long debates about whether to use older creative consumers when co-creating ideas for more "older" brands.  My feeling is that the offline and intense co-creation sessions are more suited to younger people who already know a bit about advertsing, design and marketing. Márta and her team used this approach for the work on the site for Tic Tac  - they have recruited young guys to design a site for middle aged people.

The creative consumers recruited by Brainjuicer create ideas online and in isolation. I think that the Brainjuicer approach is most useful when one needs to generate many ideas in a short time.  The ideas from the Brainjuicer creative 6-ers will come out in rough shapes and, in most cases,  will need to be fine tuned in an offline session. The ideas for deodorants (described in the presentation for Esomar) that were generated by the creative 6-ers  became one of the key sources for the Wildfire project (which is a c0-creation process).

Incentives:  I think that we have used the right mixture of incentives for the people who work on the new Axe variant (it is described in the Face presentation). That mixture included money but was not about money only - we had to create an engaging environment for the consumers to work in,  provide a real experience of learning and doing, take them seriously and share with them the final results of the co-creation (the finished product or advertising).


Esomar Innovate Conference, Copenhagen (1 of 2)

I attended the Esomar Innovate Conference in Copenhagen  (16-18 June) but I wasn't able to see all the presentations. Here is a handful of thoughts and observations about the bits I did see:

* The giant step that market research could take to help innovation everywhere hasn't yet happened. We're still waiting for the moment when the representatives of the big research factories arrive on  stage and acknowledge that they are running on empty, that it is becoming harder for them to sell the dream of certainty even to the weakest of clients and,  that after helping to deliver mediocre products and communication and helping to kill the many dreams of enthusiastic brand managers, planners  and creatives, they are closing their factories down.

* The majority of speakers came from the UK, western Europe and the US. The majority of people in the audience came from the developing world.  Either there is nothing very innovative happening in the developing world or those of us from the developing world cannot write very good papers (the 20-page-long variety that Esomar requires for entry).  My feeling is that the problem is with the papers themselves and the dominant, Western rules of discourse.  The people who judge the papers are from the West and they will naturally prefer a style and thinking process that is close to their own style and thinking.  The problem with the Esomar papers is similar to the problems with most of research reports: they tend to get out of hand and dilute insights and issues in an avalanche of words.

* Gregg Fraley was the keynote speaker and  I really enjoyed his speech  while I was watching it. I am trying to remember now what he was talking about. I recall a picture of the iPod. And a picture of Steve Jobs.  And a slide saying "Starbucks is dead".  Watching the speech was  like watching a good Hollywood movie - enjoyable but without providing a lasting experience that could really touch your life.

*The presentation of Márta Hoffman (RI, Hungary) and István Kozári (Initiative) was the highlight of the conference for me, and and not just because it was the only presentation from the developing world.



In a nutshell, Márta and István have changed the way in which Tic Tac connects with consumers online in Hungary.  In the past Tic Tac had a reasonably good but very static site. The site celebrated the brand but was not particularly useful for consumers.  Márta and her agency found gifted young people and co-created with them a concept for new online community for Tic Tac. 

The community is based on a strong insight into Hungarian society (not only) that the  research  uncovered and that lead to the "Networks of Favours" idea:


The  "Network of Favours"  is the concept for the Tic Tac community. People join the site to exchange little favours : walking a dog, watering plants, and such things. 

It ticks several boxes:

  1. It is useful to people and doesn't celebrate the glory of the brand (and being useful is a must if a brand wants to join an online conversation);
  2. The scope is  bigger and more important to people than the category and related territories e.g. "freshness", and;
  3. It is the right territory for Tic Tac.

The role of research in the development of the community was crucial: Márta and her agency found the right people to co-create with. They didn't just utilize creative consumers but included people from agencies and the client's company. They created an engaging environment for them. They facilitated,  moderated and interpreted the sessions in an informed way that was  in-line with the thinking on the brand. All of this led to the insight, ideas and real results.  And it was fast and affordable. This is what good research should do.

For everything else (technical innovations in market research) there is Google and Facebook. Ironically, it seems easier for the researchers lacking the intuition needed for doing the research job properly to displace the issue and create the need for a new, high-tech, silver bullet research methodology that will deliver pre-packaged ideas for innovations to clients' desktops.

I think that we need more case studies like the one on Tic Tac to dispel the "silver bullet" myth.

I work on Sure/Rexona and one of our key tasks at the moment is to find a way for the brand to join (get a permission to join)  the relevant conversations that are already taking place, online and off. The case that Márta and István presented was an inspiration for me, worth much more than the general discussions about innovation (with inevitable calls to actions, figures of percentages of innovations failing in the market and pictures of  iPods and Steve Jobs).

Here is the presentation that Marta has kindly shared with me:

(I have copied the photo of Márta and István from Henrik Hall's article.)


Charlie vs. Dead White Men

Charlie has been born out of web 2.0, in 2007. Ten years before Charlie, in 1997, Richard Barbrook says "that the rapid spread of personal computing and now the Net are the technological expressions of the desire of many people to escape from the petty controls of the shopfloor and the office". He continues: “Despite the insecurity of short-term contracts, they want to recover the independence of craft labour which was lost during the process of industrialisation. Because of rapid technological innovation, skilled workers within the hypermedia and computing industries are precisely those best able to assert this desire for autonomy”.

Ten years later Web 2.0 seemed to be the yellow brick road leading off from the path of the boredom of the shopfloor and the office. And not just for those working within the hypermedia and computing industries but for the many researchers, account people, planners working in agencies named after Dead White Men. These men may have originally had strong visions, but these visions aren't necessarily shared by people working in agencies today.

Let’s take the market research industry as an example. Many creative and entrepreneurial researchers began leaving big research agencies before Web 2.0.  After leaving they tried to establish smaller versions of big agencies, using the same hierarchies and structures but with fewer people. Eventually, they started to send their junior people to clients for presentations while sitting back and supervising and perhaps retiring all together. Structures and people – whether in the field department or the coding department – were needed to get jobs done.

Then along came Web 2.0 and the word is spreading that the emperor really is “naked:” the market research industry might not be much of an industry any more. Who needs a field department when there are global online research panels or even Facebook? Who needs the latest breakthrough research concept testing methodology when you can work with creative people, not on a concept test, but on developing a real product or service?

We (the clients) need creative people (complete with faces, talent and knowladge) not market research agencies. We are already following the good people, to their own agencies and we will continue to follow them even if they move from one big agency named after a dead guy to another agency named after two dead guys. This is the push. The pull is the desire for autonomy, the need to be free and fulfill one's own vision  – and the need for genuine collaboration with other people.

It is less lonely out there than it used to be. Web 2.0 connects the creative researchers online and builds connections that can be then taken off-line, whether to a café or a workshop. As it turns out, collaboration and friendship can replace structures and hierarchies. 


Lego and rules of cocreation

This video is a couple of years old but I think that the "do's and donts'" of cocreation are still spot on:

  • Understand what is consumers' perception of value
  • Interact frequently; be open and honest
  • Sound like yourself and admit mistakes
  • Encourage conversations amongst consumers
  • Find your advocates and invite them inside
  • Formalize what can be formalized
  • Participate: you get what you give
  • Inspire, don't manage your community
  • Don't sell; show your passion and share passion
  • It is ok to say "I don't know"