There has been a lot of buzz in the marketing world over the last year or so about consumer co-creation, but what is it, exactly, and how does it create value for your brand? If you’re interested in how this powerful marketing strategy tool works and what brands have used it – keep reading.

What is Consumer Co-Creation?

Consumer co-creation is a collaborative effort between a company and their audience. Effectively, you are encouraging your audience to generate valuable content for you just by interacting with your brand. Some of the biggest brands have used this idea to make remarkable strides in increasing their market reach. Major companies like Starbucks, LEGO, DHL, DeWalt, and even the Manchester City Football Club in the UK have all cashed in on this strategy by using their own audience to grow their brands.

Starbucks Uses Consumer Co-Creation to Generate New Ideas

Consumer Co-Creation and Starbucks

Starbucks has an entire website dedicated to consumer co-creation, which, since its launch, has seen widespread use and success. The main function of is to encourage and enable customers to submit ideas that would potentially help Starbucks franchises grow. Other customers can then rate these ideas and give their own feedback, so the ideas with the most potential for success are completely supported by the user base itself.

The ranking of ideas follow a Reddit-style system. If a user agrees with a particular idea, they simply “like” the submission, and it goes further up the rankings chain. A submitted idea can be something big, small, complex, or simple. It can be as simple as a 10% student discount, or it can be an entirely new product, like an orange mango smoothie (sounds good, right?).

The more likes a submission has, the better chance Starbucks would seriously consider using this idea and turning it into a reality. Starbucks has already used many of these ideas to develop their customer experiences in-store, making a major consumer co-creation success for the coffee empire.

LEGO Encourages Creativity with LEGO Ideas

LEGO Ideas Consumer Co-Creation Set - Women of NASA

LEGO knows the value of consumer co-creation as well. LEGO Ideas is an online community where members can discover unique creations by other fans, as well as submit their own designs for a completely new set. Just like MyStarbucksIdea, fans can vote on submissions and give feedback. If an idea amounts to over 10,000 votes, LEGO will look into it and consider turning it into a complete set that will be sold worldwide.

The consumer co-creator will then be rewarded by earning a percentage of the sales the set earns for LEGO. LEGO has done something here that will give a lasting impression of their brand – a co-creative relationship with their customers that encourages creativity and originality. The LEGO Ideas concept strengthens bonds with LEGO’s consumer base, celebrating their loyalty and rewarding them for their innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism.

Manchester City Football Club’s Fans Help Improve Website Experience

Manchester City FC Consumer Co-Creation Mural inspired by drawings of Junior Club Members

When you’re in the business of sports, the entire enterprise is supported by a fan base, or what other people like to call a “fandom.” The fans are the ones responsible for funding team expenses and players’ salaries. They pay for tickets to games, fill up stadiums or arenas, and buy team apparel and merchandise just to show their pride in and support the team they love.

Major sporting teams have always had some sort of co-creative process, even when it isn’t particularly a part of their marketing strategy. Manchester City Football Club in the UK is just one of many organizations that looks primarily towards consumer co-creation to improve their brand. They asked their fans to give them feedback about their website, so that Manchester City FC could implement a fully-integrated system that was more user-friendly and interactive.

The goal of the project was to gain insight on how they could create a more engaging experience for the fans. Plus, they gained an overall better web presence in the process. Since the implementation of the consumer co-creation program, Man City has seen exponential growth in both website traffic and online store activity, while sustaining the positive image of the football club all together.

Could Consumer Co-Creation Be Right for Your Brand?

In essence, consumer co-creation is a great way to cater to your audience while discovering new ways to develop your brand presence. There are so many different things you can find out about your company that you weren’t aware of beforehand that will help build your company’s brand.  A user-integrated environment is an absolute necessity for organizations that heavily depend on their own consumer base for revenue growth. What can you do to help establish a co-creative process for your company?


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