Is your Brand Leveraging the Power of the Crowd?

Alex Allwood Customer Experience

One of the biggest challenges marketers face in today’s highly competitive and disruptive market is providing engaging experiences that forge strong customer connection and foster advocacy.

Our customers today are global and super connected with everything at their fingertips. No longer happy to just consume, they want to participate and have a share of voice in their brand experiences, and they expect their interactions to be meaningful and authentic.

In my new book, Customer Experience is the Brand,I outline one of my ‘7 Pillars’ of customer experience strategy, Co-Creation, a customer experience strategy that’s increasingly being used by organisations to nurture deeper brand engagement and connection.

Co-creation or crowdsourcing has become an effective engagement strategy, enabling brands to tap into communities of people to provide knowledge, strategic insight, problem solving, feedback and ideas to drive innovation and marketing.

Connecting with crowds and leveraging their insight is a process in super charging brand innovation and marketing. The process of collective participation provides a voice for brand stakeholders in what gets developed, designed and created; the process delivering shared value for both the organisation and the individual. Co-creation initiatives help brands to think more broadly about their customer and their environments, enabling clarity from multiple perspectives by accessing thousands of individuals, customers and brand fans.

The world’s biggest brands have been increasingly leveraging the power of co-creation with their customers’ communities, with FMCG brands increasing their investments by 50% in 2014, (The State of Crowd Sourcing 2015). Crowdsourcing initiatives include: idea contests, collaborative communities for innovation, content co-creation and online platforms for idea generation.

The best initiatives have a number of elements that drive their success. Firstly, community management is critical for the community’s health; the brand’s voice is present, the ecosystem offers engagement variation to keep members returning and importantly, outcomes are implemented from the community’s efforts.

Customer collaboration is a brave step for brands, it means relinquishing control, but as we’ve seen with the likes of Coca-Cola, Lego, Burberry, and Unilever, when brands get it right magic happens, such as fresh user-generated content, product / service innovation, trend and market intelligence and new consumer insights.

In today’s experience economy the modern marketer’s playbook requires customer-centric strategies to unite, empower and evangelise their consumer communities behind the brand, and in doing so create experiences that they want the share with their network of peers.

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About the Author

Alex Allwood

Alex Allwood’s focus is connecting customer and culture to empower customer-centric growth. Working with B2B2C, Alex helps improve experiences that enhance customer value and distinctively differentiate. With a 20 year track record in leadership, operations and marketing, Alex’s strength is developing customer experience strategy: customer understanding and empathy, experience vision and guiding principles and the customer narrative to enable collaboration and alignment. Alex is principal of the customer experience consultancy, All Work Together; has authored the book Customer Experience is the Brand, regularly facilitates Customer Journey Mapping workshops and is a speaker on customer-centric transformation.