If you want to know the future, you will have to leave your Company. In a hyperconnected world, more and more organizations understand that in order to grow, it is necessary to place the customer at the center. And on this path there is no better way than to engage them in an effort to remain relevant to them. How can we use all this potential?

According to recent studies, customers are much more favorable to brands that make it easier for them to participate in the creation of their products. This process, known as co-creation, has a positive effect on customers’ perception, making them more inclined to interact with the brand and buy its products. Co-creation also makes it easier for brands to appear more aware and sensitized to society’s demands.

In the end, it is a concept that is not so new in itself since it has been part of our cultures since the beginning of time: societies have prospered from joining forces for a common good.

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What is co-creation?

In its essence, co-creation consists of involving a community outside a company in the ideation and development phase of new products or services. The participants include a global vision from different profiles of customers, suppliers, and the general public; although it is true that some companies have chosen to open up to the participation of members of the company itself, although this would be closer to crowdsourcing.

The future of innovation lies in collaboration, this implies a radical change in the perspective of how customers are viewed, better understanding their expectations and placing them at the center of the equation. At the same time, it is linked to the need for a change in the culture of the Organization, since the initiative must come from the Company itself and this change of mentality is often not easy to achieve in those that continue to be organized on the basis of independent silos.

A recent study found that an average of 57% of respondents said that co-creation had transformed the way their company approached innovation. This was particularly relevant in the automotive sector, where the figure reached up to 83%, an aspect that certainly affects trust in the brands in this sector, despite the scandals suffered by it.

BMW is one of the brands that has used co-creation in its innovation processes. In 2010 he developed what he called the “Co-creation Lab”, a virtual community where customers can offer their opinions on the firm’s designs, contribute their own designs and ideas, and are part of a community that participates throughout the entire process of creating vehicles, from start to finish. A real incentive for them, as well as a great tool to build trust towards the brand.

Benefits of co-creation

Collaborating with customers offers many advantages for companies. Here are some of them:

  1. It increases the rate of trust towards the brand by providing real value for customers. It’s a technique that really puts the customer at the center.
  2. It is a great demographic tool, it can provide more information than any traditional method of market research where, often, participants do not answer what they think but what they are expected to say.
  3. It works in real time, providing all kinds of insights that make it easier to focus on the most interesting ideas and therefore accelerates time to market.
  4. Facilitates cost savings:
  • Ideas brought in from the outside can be at no cost or significantly reduce the cost of an in-house team.
  • Time in innovation processes decreases.
  • Risks are reduced as the ideas under development have been subjected to a pluralistic vision.

BMW, IKEA, DHL, Lego, Nestlé…. There are already considerable companies that have been able to integrate co-creation and all of them have significantly increased the level of customer satisfaction, obtaining higher levels of retention. When consumers have good experiences with the brand, they will continue to buy and recommend it. Without a doubt, a great way to approach their future.


Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®


Photos: Shutterstock


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