The immediate future of businesses and brands lies in alliance models capable of creating value. The relationship between brands and people has long since ceased to be unidirectional and has become a two-way dialogue. Audiences are no longer moved by old stimuli based on the repetition and insistence of messages.

In the same way as in personal relationships, the links between brands and people are achieved by incorporating the latter into the equation, involving them and making them feel that they are an important part of a story. It is about understanding that each of the parties can bring their own point of view and a different area of experience in a process where collaboration between them is valuable and fundamental. And it is important to emphasize that in this formula the audiences can be wide and it is not just about thinking about customers, but it is important to open the collaboration to all those who feel identified with the brand, starting with the Company’s own employees.

Co-creation and branding

The power of co-creation in branding is that it makes it easier for brands to be more human and authentic. It fosters dialogue, can be a driver of innovation and, without a doubt, increases trust in the brand.

Social media has facilitated conversations with brands and has also opened the doors for brands to perceive their audiences as allies, beyond mere receivers. It is a change in culture that has completely transformed the links, facilitating collaboration and the creation of shared value, both inside and outside companies.

What does co-creation bring to the table?

In addition, unlike traditional market research systems, co-creation provides all kinds of information in real time, which is so valuable in today’s required framework of immediacy. It is a new approach to obtain from specific opinions on functional aspects to the expansion of the knowledge of the socio-demographic data of the audience. It is a great opportunity for brands in all kinds of sectors, as long as they understand that it is not a development tactic but a powerful strategy capable of integrating the brand into its own environment.

Thanks to co-creation, companies can increase their focus on innovation, a necessary driver to advance in the market. At the same time, integrating the power of creative thinking from employees, customers and other audiences is an opportunity to generate an open innovation model, detecting and developing powerful insights and generating strategies for businesses.

Examples of co-creation

A great example of co-creation was developed by Nestlé, which launched an internal social network, ideas4all Innovation Agora , which enabled the creation of new product developments in very mature categories. The participation figures spoke for themselves, with 1,500 registered users (25% of the workforce). In three and a half years they had gathered nearly 3,500 ideas, of which they studied 350 in depth, finally taking 80 of them to direct testing with the consumer.

Another great example, in this case of open innovation, is Nivea’s black-and-white deodorant, which integrated users into its development from concept to implementation. The idea was coined together with users through social media. The brand commented that it knew that its product could cause stains on clothes and asked for help and home remedies to avoid it. Users shared what kind of product was needed, what seemed to be the reason behind the stains, and how they could be prevented. The resulting black-and-white deodorant became the first deodorant on the market to prevent the appearance of white and yellow stains. Nivea admitting to problems in their product could have been seen as a sign of weakness, however, users were very active in the collaboration and the final product ended up being a huge success.

5 Keys to Successful Co-creation

How can brands successfully tackle co-creation? As always, there is no magic formula that fits all cases, but it is a process that should include the following as a starting point:

  1. It starts from within, transforming the way you understand business and manage your brands through an innovative and transformative brand culture.
  2. Integrate your stakeholders in an open dialogue process that will facilitate the obtaining of relevant information, which can be used to respond to their demands.
  3. Launch ideas and challenges, create opportunities through the most appropriate platforms, promote participation. Social networks are not always the ideal medium, technology today provides many solutions.
  4. And above all, be authentic: honest, real, transparent. Don’t forget that co-creation is a great vehicle for building trust.


Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock

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