Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Co-creation: A strong topic in marketing

The concept has been around for quite a while, but it's still a big topic in marketing.

People who know me are familiar with how I feel about the use of jargon - throwing a current word into a conversation with little clarity about what they mean by it. It's a little embarrassing to know of a training organisation that praises its students on their "use of industry jargon" but none that I associate myself with.

I do like clarity when people use words in marketing. A key rookie mistake is when someone says that "one of the great things about product x is convenience". You can expect a very quick "and what do you mean by that?".

So "Co-creation: what do you mean by that?".
In a very general sense it's when the customer and the person selling to them work together to make something. It's best that I point out some specifics:

Co-creation of customer value
If the customer is very clear about what they need and make it easy for the company to provide it. A person who customises their order on a website is particpating in the creation of value for themself.

Co-creation of user experience
Especially in services when customers know how to keep the wheels rolling to make the system work well. My experience at an airport is always better when the other customers don't dither - they have their documents ready, they move to the counter quickly, they all their gear into the trays before they get in the scanner queue, and that's before they even get to the gate.

Don't get me started on "amateur travellers" I'm sure that's why airlines have business class - to reduce the number of seat bumps, tray slams and early recliners in the section.

Co-creation of brand meaning
When a brand accumulates a community of users who feel a sense of ownership. For instance, Apple computers help define what the "personality" of the Apple brand is.

Content Co-creation
Social media has allowed eveyone to become a reporter. My kids probably get 50% of their screen viewing from other users - video grabs of other people's game play, people putting Mentos into bottles of Coke, their entire Facebook feed. My buddies who run a skydiving centre benefit from the uploaded photos that tag them - each week.

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