The emergence of crowdsourcing platforms transformed the market dynamics. Companies begin to understand that there is a new trend in marketing and are starting to leverage innovative environments where consumers can express themselves and co-create value. The fundamental shift is that companies start to value consumer creativity, and customers take on active roles, evolving “from merely buyers to co-designers, co-marketers, and co-sellers”. Veronica Mart, recently graduated marketing student from King’s College in London, noticed that eYeka is one of these platforms, operating « as an interface between some of the world best-known companies and consumers, » she says. « Finding out what motivates these creative consumers was the focus of my Masters thesis, » she explains; and this blog post presents some results of Veronica’s brilliant work.
In Veronica’s Masters thesis, interviews with community members and a content analysis of an eYeka contest as well as the community blog allowed for the investigation of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. The former indicate internal motivations to participate in co-creation activities, while the latter come from outside the individual and consider the reward distinct from the task itself. The types of motivations exhibited by eYeka users, as identified by Veronica, are briefly detailed below.
Intrinsic Motivations To Engage In Online Co-creation
- Having Creative Freedom: eYeka is seen as a non-restrictive environment where ideas and creativity are rewarded. Creatives can join and show their skills without being forced to compromise on their less conventional ideas. Interview participants considered the contests as an opportunity to explore creativity and to produce original work by using their personal working style and ideas. When participants take on a project, it often becomes a serious task in which they invest a lot of time and energy. Participants consider the various competitions as challenges for their own creativity and physical limits.
- Being in Charge: Previous experience is not needed on eYeka, therefore the contests rely on everyone who can express their creativity and convey it through video animations, graphic design, film etc. For eYeka members, participating in contests offers the opportunity to build their confidence and become more independent. The platform is not only a place where members can express their own ideas but also one where they are in charge by having their own schedules and control over how much effort to invest in a certain contest.
- Feeling Valued: The primary motivation of some eYeka users is to give meaning to their work by participating in projects where their skills could be very effective. Participating in the contests comes with experiencing a variety of feelings. What is more interesting is that the relationship with eYeka may become very personal, as some of the interviewees have explained.
- Having Fun : For some participants, the challenge to engage in innovation contests is an adventure that is worthwhile in itself making the experience on eYeka enjoyable. Even the waiting for the final results, which can take several weeks, becomes an exciting time for some of the contestants.
Extrinsic Motivations of eYeka Users To Engage In Online Co-creation
- Win Monetary Rewards: eYeka members consider that the amount of time and talent invested in collaborative projects should be commensurate with the rewards they receive. They sometimes carefully assess whether a project is worth entering, partly because of the amount and/or number of prizes. However, because the chances to win the grand prize are slim, because of the increasing number of talented professionals that are attracted by the platform, some participants would prefer the number of prizes to increase so that more people could gain something tangible.
- Learning: Developing new skills and increasing their own competencies in the field of creative arts are among the main reasons for which eYeka members participate in the contests. Curiosity drives most respondents to learn new things on their own and try them on the platform. Participants broadened their understanding of different skills in the creative arts, while some have developed their area of competency by participating in contests.
- Receiving Recognition: Creative consumers show a deep attachment to the brands they choose to create for. Participants who choose to enter a contest and show off their skills on eYeka are mesmerized by the high caliber brands that challenge them (Coca Cola, Heineken, Danone, Nestle, Unilever, etc.) to find creative solutions. The brands’ notoriety is still a powerful motivating factor for them to engage in a contest. If they win, eYeka creatives could associate their work with well-known brands and this helps increase their self-esteem. Sometimes, peer recognition is far more important than the monetary value of the prizes at stake.
- Increasing Reputation: eYeka members are aware of their limited resources to create value for such big clients but they trust their ideas and innovative approaches. Encouraged to express their point of view in a creative way, they feel empowered to innovate. Some users see their participation on eYeka as a valuable addition for their resumes or portfolios, which offers them more credibility. Having a more varied portfolio may in turn help them reach new levels of professionalism and bring future economic advantages.
Veronica’s study suggests that monetary incentives are not always the best way to motivate the contributing users and that other intangible factors such as learning new things are also crucial motivators! This completely falls in line with with academic literature as well as with our own findings reflected in our 4Fs framework of community motivations: Fun, Fulfillment, Fame and Fortune are drivers that we consistently identify as drivers for participation in co-creation contests.
The question that Veronica brings up is the following: Should eYeka consider the social expectations of its members and transform its platform so that it (1) enhances user learning, (2) offers new possibilities to showcase different works that are not always winning pieces, (3) promotes entrepreneurial behavior and (4) adapts to increase playability among members? These are all excellent suggestions, Veronica, and for us the answer is YES. We’re actively working on improving the community website, as a recent blog post for the community indicates, and will take both your and the community’s advice into consideration.
Mart, V. M. (2012). Open Innovation Platforms and The Value Creation Network: eYeka – a Case Study on The Motivations of Consumers to Engage in Online Co-creation. Masters Thesis surpervised by Christian Heath, for graduation at the Master of Science in International Marketing at King’s College London.