Co-creation: 5 examples of brands driving customer-driven innovation

Co-creation: 5 examples of brands driving customer-driven innovation

Co-creation as we know it today taps into the insights of the customers at the right point in the innovation process. A great majority of CEOs increasingly demand customer-driven innovation and want customers to help define the firm‰’s new products and services.

As this week‰’s reads show, there some global brands are already taking customer-driven innovation seriously using co-creation as a tool in the product innovation cycle. :

‰ ‰ 1. Coca-Cola uses co-creation and customization to remain relevant to Millennials.

One exciting innovation is the FreeStyle machine, a new generation of fountain dispenser. Offering over 100 products, it enables any kind of flavor mix, creating new and unique flavor combinations. It‰’s a big shift: out of manufacturing and into equipment innovation to enable consumer co-creation and customization. The individualized consumer experience with the products is a key Millennial expectation.

The new mobile app lets consumers save all their blends, so any Freestyle machine will know their favorite flavor combo. Data based on user feedback on the Freestyle, combined with technical monitoring which provides Coke with insight on product, consumer engagement and new dispenser opportunities. It is real-time consumer co-creation with the potential to develop completely new markets for the company. ‰ – Source: Avi Dan on Forbes

Tweet this!Tweet this: #Cocreation helps @CocaCola remain relevant to #Millennials. More in this @VisionCritical roundup:

  1. ‰ Microsoft drives customer-driven innovation to create award-winning ad formats.

Microsoft has worked with consumers to co-create ad formats that it says will be more engaging and provide better value than current online ads. Speaking to Marketing Week at Cannes Lions, Microsoft VP of advertising and online, Andy Hart said: ‰”We‰’re right to put people right at the heart [of advertising].‰”

Hart added Microsoft will continue to stand ‰”side by side‰” with consumers, researchers and user experience developers to discover how brands should develop their messages.

Microsoft asked the groups what role different technologies plays in their lives, how brands earn loyalty or irritate them and how technology pays a role in the decision making and purchase journey.

The company then used ‰”laddering‰” and other ethnographic techniques to determine points of friction in the buying process and then brainstormed how consumers would create better advertising using technology ‰ – such as Windows 8, Skype, MSN and Surface. ‰ – Source: Rosie Baker on MarketingWeek

Tweet this!Tweet this: Microsoft works with consumers to co-create engaging ad formats: part of @visioncritical #cocreation roundup:

  1. Top brands‰—from FedEx to General Electric‰—are taking crowdsourcing to a whole new level through customer-driven innovation. 

Co-creation is well suited to better deliver on customer needs, at lower product development costs and risks. Some notable examples of co-creation (as highlighted in the Harvard Business Review) include:


Problem: How to ensure on-time, zero-defect delivery of live tissues for organ donation.

Solution: With external medical staff and suppliers, FedEx developed a sophisticated logistics technology that manages key variables like location, temperature and pressure.

General Electric

Problem: How to extract Alberta‰’s heavy oil in an environmentally friendly, low-cost way.

Solution: GE, government officials and customers collaborated at a shared innovation centre to develop a new water filtration system that reduced water consumption.


Problem: How to improve the performance of a call centre.

Solution: Working with customers and call centre agents, Microsoft redesigned the customer experience to make it more personal and responsive. ‰ – Source: Mitchell Osak in the Financial Post

Tweet this!Tweet this: Top brands, including FedEx and GE, take crowdsourcing to a new level through #cocreation. See @VisionCritical roundup:

  1. Being customer-driven helps Lego adapt to the dynamic needs of consumers.

LEGO had always had been customer-driven, well-attuned to the mind of a 7-year-old boy or girl who liked to build. In one example of its faltering, [Brick by Brick author] Robertson shares how slowing sales and research led LEGO to target kids who wanted ‰”darker‰” tech, with gratification delivered faster and easier. So, LEGO changed its drive to a ‰”new‰” consumer that wasn‰’t actually a customer and, as it turned out, was never likely to be.

As Robertson recounts, one of the moves to entice this new set of customers was a character-driven product line ‰ – less buildable and more playable. Think GI Joe instead of bricks. Jack Stone, an oversized minifigure, stepped out in 2001 as LEGO‰’s new world hero‰Û_and failed miserably. The majority of kids didn‰’t care about a fabricated character without history or context. The pieces comprising the toy sets required expensive new injection molds, making it unprofitable to turn out. But the most egregious error? It alienated its core fans ‰ – adults and parents who grew up with LEGO bricks ‰ – for abandoning its classic play values: ‰”Joy of building, pride of creation.‰” ‰ – Source: Scott Davis in Forbes

Tweet this!Tweet this: Being customer-driven helps @LEGO build up from #innovation rumble. Read more in this @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Burberry demonstrates that customer-driven innovation is the real social-media revolution.

The scope of co-creation is not limited to the sales and service interaction. Customers can remotely participate in fashion shows and order items directly off the runway. They can suggest designs for the next trench coat. Most importantly, Burberry‰’s entire marketing is increasingly the aggregation of all these conversations between employees and customers‰ – a kind of bottom-up community marketing (although Burberry‰’s own voice remains powerful in influencing the community‰’s perception of the brand). In addition to monitoring everything that gets said about its brand, the firm pre-tests many aspects of its marketing and communication content through another piece of software called Buddy Media, making the brand itself increasingly co-developed with the community.

The social platform is a key enabler, but the ultimate power of the Burberry model resides in the co-creation forces it unleashes between the firm‰’s internal sales, service, and marketing people and the firm‰’s customers. Burberry is demonstrating that human co-creation is the true revolution. ‰ – Source: Francis Goillar, Harvard Business Review

Tweet this!Tweet this: The real #socialmedia revolution? It‰’s #cocreation, according to a @harvardbiz article. See @visioncritical roundup:

Seen a good article about co-creation and customer-driven innovation? We‰’d love to read it‰—please let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Merve Nazlioglu

Former Content Marketing Specialist