Co-creation; skill in management and moderation

20Aug09

This is a copy of a discussion from the LinkedIn group Strategic Planning Professionals.

The question raised by Richard Watkinson
Creative Brand Planning Director – Insight & Innovation at project x global:

Co-creation in the hands of moderators or the inexperienced just ends up like focus groups – since when has your researcher been creative? Comments that are executional must be ignored from the consumer – instead go down paths that are interesting for the brand – so that new doors are opened. Develop touch points for future consumer engagement can be developed in real Co Creation for your brand. Who does Co Creation really good?

My response

The fundamental: Co-creation is best developed and managed by people who have a passion for the subject and creation space they are responsible for. In effect, professional fans of a genre.

Imagine a soccer social network and fantasy league managed by people who don’t love soccer? Or a wiki on legal cases managed by someone who is disinterested in the law or making information easily cross-referable?

A good moderator is one that loves what they moderate. As well as someone who possesses the skills to do the job.

Who works well in the co-creation space?

At the creative end (requiring technical skill from co-creators): Linden Lab.
At the social engagement and participation end – Coca-Cola.
At the library end – Wikipedia

Sapient Nitro, Digital Outlook, Carlson and Razorfish are agencies that have some excellent case studies.

Co-creation allows consumers to be more in control and more creative. It allows them to participate, be sociable, and be entertained in a space your brand provides. Over time this leads to a positive shift in perception about the brand involved. Sometimes the activity also directly builds commercial value.

But the brand owner has to be willing to let co-creators have control, far more control than they will feel comfortable with. Otherwise the consumers end-up as little more than lab rats; rather than empowered, creative and expressive individuals that go on to link with, recommend and further endorse the brand.

Co-creation is more subtle and complex than advertising or direct marketing. It feels alien to anyone who believes a brand’s relationship or dialogue with consumers is most relevant when they ask ‘would you like to buy this now?’ and expects to be able to measure sales immediately.

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