Fantastic Four motivations for co-creation

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Co-creation is a way to integrate real consumers in the development of companies’ new offers. Hence, these companies benefit from crucial input coming up from the market, as long as they’re able to organize and leverage communities of co-creators. Last year, Doug Williams from Forrester Research issued a report that revealed a stunning 61% of US adults being willing co-creators ! Williams highlights the opportunity that this represents for consumer product strategy (CPS) professionals, and promises to publish case studies of social co-creation in a near future. But what about the co-creators ? What drives their engagament in co-creation efforts ? We identify 4 different motivations: the 4 F’s.

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Screenshot from www.nike.com/.../id_nation

It has been proven that mass customization is beneficial for consumers as soon as product configuration is easy and the customized product fits the needs of the customer better. Nike is benchmarking in product configuration with Nike iD and now takes it even further to co-creation with Nike iD Nation. Nike has understood than you need more than a tool to configurate a product; you need a community that is willing to co-create (check it out here or click on the picture above). « A fantastic idea« , says Denis Hancock in his blog post, but what drives motivation on the customer side ? Our knowledge of community management allows us to give 4 drivers of creative co-creators: Fun, Fulfillment, Fame & Fortune.

  1. Fun : The fun-factor is crucial to the success of a co-creation campaign ! You probably won’t engage anyone if your subject is boring or if you have to heavilly incentivize each of the participants (it’s not a panel!). For example : would you co-create a formula for a new drink from scratch ? Where would you start ? What benefits would you prioritize ? VitaminWater recognized that they would have to design an attractive game to engage facebook users in their co-creation intitiative, and they created flavorcreator. « Fans could vote for their favorite flavor, play games and answer quizzes to help determine which ‘functional benefit’ the beverage should offer and even have their say on the design of the label« , says Mashable about the process that resulted in the creation of VitaminWater Connect.
  2. Fulfillment : The second most important motivation of creative co-creators is to perform something that has sense both for oneself and for society. Projects like the Refresh Project from Pepsi or GreenXchange from Nike & Best Buy are geared towards general welfare and not towards any brand-related subjects. It is much easier and much more legitimate to gather people around social projects – and its a lot more fulfilling for co-creators !
  3. Fame : Some creative customers have had their 15 minutes of fame, one could say : Jose Avila with FedEx furniture, Kina Grannis with Crash The Superbowl… but they were not real co-creators since their participation was not continuous (and, for Jose Avila, it wasn’t even initiated by the brand). More than actual ‘fame’, co-creators are motivated by recognition from both their peers and the brand. Nokia, for instance, regularly selected a contributor of the month on its Beta Labs platform highlighting her/his role in the community and her/his contributions. Why have they stopped since 2011, though… ?
  4. Fortune : There’s not much to gain being a co-creator… financially. However, the incentives to participate can’t only be goodwill or an unsatisfied need, therefore you have to offer some kind of financial reward anyway. This is what Johan Füller calls the ‘reward-driven’ co-creators in his highly interesting research paper about virtual co-creation (Füller, 2010). There are different ways to incentivize : early bird prizes, specific prizes (i.e. creativity), general prizes… but we must admit that it probably won’t lead to real fortune.

What do you think of these different factors ? Do you agree with us ? Maybe you work with communities that have very different motivations to participate in co-creation initiatives ? Let us know !

About Yannig

Yannig was Marketing Manager at eYeka, responsible for PR, communication and research. Interested in marketing, innovation and design-related topics, he also loves to free his head by cycling, running, reading or drawing. Yannig, who holds an MSc from ESSCA School of Management and a PhD from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, tweets under @YannigRoth and blogs at www.yannigroth.com
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11 Responses to Fantastic Four motivations for co-creation

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  3. Dennis H says:

    Hi,

    Nice blogpost. I have one question. Are your findings research based? or based from insights from consultancy?

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