Cocreation, in theory, is every marketers dream. It enables consumers to be engaged in the creation of the new product, which allows innovation at a very low cost. Consumers are able and willing to provide ideas and input for goods or services that have not yet been met by that particular market. It creates an open dialogue of that will hopefully lead to improvement on the existing offerings. Companies not only engage consumers at the creation of a product, they also can engage them throughout the entire product development life cycle.
When was the last time your favorite brand asked YOU what you desired from their product? The value of co-creation rises form the unique and personalized experience for the consumer. It makes the consumer feel as thought the brand actually cares about what they think as well as what they have to say. It incorporates a new, deeper relationship with the consumer. Not only are they a customer, they were a part of the creation, which overall generates more loyalty to the brand or product.
Before a firm can cocreate there are a few aspects to consider. How exactly do they plan on implementing this social interaction with consumers and at what stages do they want the consumer to be involved in. A few advantages to cocreation according to Consumer Cocreation in New Product Development, “consumer-firm interaction allows the firm to strengthen its relationship with its end consumers, monitor their experiences to improve its product and the associated marketing strategy, and save money in areas such as advertising and product support.” Listening to consumers makes the world of new product development much easier. Monitoring what they have to say about the product on various social media forums allows firms to understand the flaws of their products and what the consumers actually want.
Before we get too excited about cocreation, there are certainly some downsides to this entire concept. According to Understand the perils of Co-creation, “these programs are hard to run. Some customers “hijack” them—instead of offering real ideas, they seize the chance to ridicule the company. Such hijacking is one of the biggest challenges companies face. Prior research suggests that about half of co-creation campaigns fail.” Cocreation also creates an environment of complete transparency on behalf of the firm. Concerns about secrecy of the product have become an issue. There are also issues with ownership of intellectual property, which can lead to a debate with the issues behind this. This could also potentially lead to legal issues. Considering you are asking your entire population of consumers for input, this can also lead to an information overload. Also, many product ideas are sometimes entirely beyond the company’s realistic capabilities.
But really, the idea behind cocreation still has a lot of kinks to work out before companies can really appreciate the input of their most valuable asset, the consumer. If a company can find an efficient way to cocreate, then it is an invaluable edge to the future of new product development.