The 6 Best Global Brands use creative crowdsourcing

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Open innovation and co-creation are getting bigger and bigger. InnoCentive just released a whitepaper about Open Innovation (go here to download it) and eYeka is about to release one about online co-creation (stay tuned here). In this post, we want to show how the world’s strongest brands are applying this new paradigm of openness in their marketing and innovation strategies. So let’s take Interbrand’s ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands and have a look at the top ones!

We might have missed some initiatives, that’s why we eagerly invite you to contribute with your knowledge and experience. Why list all these crowdsourcing initiatives? We would like this post to be another way to show how big creative crowdsourcing is getting in marketing and innovation – we hope you like it. And again, please share the creative crowdsourcing initiatives (contests, engagement platforms, challenges etc.) that we missed – thanks!

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1) Coca-Cola: I extensively covered Coke’s co-creative initiatives here, among which I cited a video/animation contest for Coke Zero (eYeka), which was held in 2009 and open to Singaporean creatives only. Another contest for the brand Coca-Cola was held about two years later, but this time it was global (eYeka). As this video shows, it received a huge number of creations from all over the world, and this shorter video shows that this response allowed the brand to crack a major positioning problem.

Another crowdsourcing contest was being spnsored by the German branch of Coca-Cola: it was a contest to redesign the Coca-Cola cradle (Jovoto).  There is also a great video available on their website, where you can see and hear David Butler, Coca-Cola’s global VP of Design, talking about crowdsourcing and its value for a company like Coca-Cola: “This is the future because we live in a reality of more transparency and connectivity than ever before. What we’re doing in Germany is indicative of the future, it is part of how we will operate going forward.

“This is just the beginning of how we will design in the future”

Finally, I also found that Coca-Cola seems to have used a Brazilian platform (YouCreate), because there’s a quite of  Coca-Cola’s CMO for Brazil in the “customers” section. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a project attached to it.

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2) IBM: The company is very famous for its Jams, which are big internal crowdsourcing events in a way, and which have been launched in 2001. The 2006 Innovation Jam was the largest IBM online brainstorming session ever held, gathering more than 150,000 people from 104 countries and 67 companies.  Today, there are Jams for everything (innovation, security, energy…) and targeted towards various internal and external contributors (employees, students, academics…). This video about Jams looks a little bit outdated, but its name (A Decade of Jamming) suggests that its rather recent. You can see and hear Liam Cleaver from IBM’s Jams and Collaborative Innovation program office discuss Jams and how they can transform an enterprise, industry or ecosystem.

“Jams serve as a spark, really a catalyst for change within an organization. It’s a way to really harness the creativity and innovation of a group of people”

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3) Microsoft: Last year, Microsoft started a blog to act as point of dialogue between the company’s developers working on Windows 8 and the general public. Memeburn called it a “crowdsourcing blog” but it’s actually no more than a blog with possibility to comment… But Microsoft did some creative crowdsourcing to get content about  Microsoft’s products for teachers throughout the world both as documentaries (eYeka) and teacher interviews (eYeka). They also did a contest on the same platform to promote technology as a way to bring families together (eYeka), thanking the participants with a video.

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4) Google: Google launched quite a lot of creative crowdsourcing initiatives. For a company that makes money with peoples’ activity on the web, they have the DNA for it! For example, in 2009 they did a video contest to promote Google Chrome in Brazil (Zooppa) and another one to create a video of people building the Google Chrome icon (Google).  In 2010, they launched the Google Demo Slam for creative writers to make videos featuring Google tools for the chance to be promoted by the company. Google even crowdsources internally, as the Googley Art Wall contest shows (see here). There was also that design contest in France to ask people to redesign the “eating”, “drinking” and “going out” pins for Google Maps (eYeka), and on the same platform, in 2011, a video contest was held ask French people to tell a story using Google tools (eYeka). Also, let’s talk about that fantastic crowdsourced movie Life in a Day (YouTube), produced by Ridley Scott with about 1,000 clips (chosen from 80,000 submissions from 192 countries). Prizes.org is a whole platform that Google provides so that people can set up contests themselves – virtually anything.

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5) GE: I mentioned GE’s open innovation engagement already. The most famous example is probably GE’s Ecoimagination challenge that they launched in 2010 to gather eco-friendly business ideas that GE would fund (BrightIdea). The second edition of the challenge saw the birth of a “little sister” challenge: Healthymagination with which GE has similar objectives, but with ideas to fight cancer (Brightidea). In 2011, they did run a contest an Instagram photo contest, won by a Wisconsin-based photographer and pilot whose photo you can see here. Also, there’s a currently live video competition asking people to make a three-minute movie about people or organizations that had positive impact on humanity (Cinelan).

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6) McDonald’s: Back in 2007, McDonalds held a “Global Casting” contest to get images of real people to be used on all cups and bags (see the Electronic Press Kit). They received 13,000 entries and chose 24 faces to be rolled out on all packagings worldwide, starting with the United States and Canada. The same year, in Australia, McDonald’s asked local consumers to create and name a burger when “burger naming legend” Ken Thomas retired from McDonald’s Autralia. They finally chose McOZ (“Aussie“), but the burger is not being sold anymore, says Wikipedia.

In France the McDonald’s logo is green! This is a sign to show the company’s sustainability efforts, and this positioning was also the topic of a graphic design and photo contest held in France in 2010, by which the company wanted to know how to best communicate its sustainability policy (eYeka). Recently, McDonald’s has had huge success crowdsourcing new burger ideas with its initiative Mein Burger (“My Burger“) in Germany. People could come up with ideas and design their own burger via McDonalds.de, where a visual product configurator was available to play with. They got over 116,000 submitted burgers and 1,5 million votes on the page, and received a lot of praise from the specialized marketing press! Finally, let’s highlight a contest held recently by Mc Donald’s USA, which sponsored a video contest to illustrate the expression “on-the-go” to promote its new Chicken McBites (Tongal). You can see the top 10 entries here.

Crowdsourcing creativity is being increasingly used by brands to build engagement and source authentic insights from consumers. This post highlights a couple of initiatives from the 6 Best Global Brands, which all use creative crowdsourcing in a way. In the next weeks, you’ll find more brands and creative crowdsourcing examples on Yannig’s blog, and if you have ideas to contribute, we’d love to hear from you!


About Yannig

Yannig is PhD student at La Sorbonne (Paris) and Research Fellow at eYeka, responsible for community research and communication. Interested in marketing, innovation and design-related topics, he also loves to free his head by cycling, running, reading or drawing. Yannig tweets under @YannigRoth and blogs at http://www.yannigroth.com
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11 Responses to The 6 Best Global Brands use creative crowdsourcing

  1. sankar says:

    Great compilation of useful sites, Yanning. Thank you very much!

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  6. Thanks for every other informative blog. Where else may I get that kind of information written in such an ideal means? I have a project that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

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  8. James Wilson says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the share.It is great to know about the six best global brands.

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  10. I very rarely comment on these posts, but I assumed this on deserved a thumb up

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