The last decade has seen a shift from a traditional form of marketing that is product centric to one that is more service centric. In the earlier form of marketing, the companies used to produce goods for mass consumption and then draw their marketing plans to sell those goods to the customers. The interaction between the firm and the customer used to take place only during point of sale. Today’s customer has many choices to pick from. He knows what he wants and is dissatisfied with the options available to him. He wants to be involved right from the inception of the product idea. A company that can tap this need of the customer and involve the customer in co-creating value while building a unique customer experience will win the “rat race”. The power of co-creation has become the winning mantra in this competitive market.
Co-creation holds enormous power as an emerging new wave of marketing, where customers and company interact with each and combines their knowledge and experience to co-create products and services. The product dominant logic is now slowly diminishing and the service dominant logic that entitles the customers with the power to be a “co-creator of value” is now the emerging reality. Companies have to understand the brand through customer perspective, position the customer as the co-creator of brand value and, finally, support customers’ co-creation. The process of co-creation is a complex model but possess immense power. It involves intense interaction between the customer and the company at various stages of the product life-cycle. These interactions help in building strong relationship between the company and the customer which are beneficial in the long run. The concept and power of co-creation if applied properly will help companies in differentiating themselves in the current competitive scenario.
The internet has proved to be a great platform of interaction and information sharing for the consumers and the companies. With various social networking forums such as Facebook and Twitter, companies have found mediums to touch base with the end consumers directly and in a very transparent manner. Earlier consumers had very few options to convey their feelings about a particular product to the companies but now the power of social media has made it possible to bridge the gap and it even aids consumers and companies to interact at various levels of product development.
One such fantastic example of co-creation is of Nike. Nike wanted to re-launch their sub brand Nike sportswear that focuses on fashion sports. Their opportunities came from the emergence of the Internet, which created new ways for Nike to engage with customer in co-creation activities. In the implementation phase they used the Internet for selecting and identifying the right customers. By studying different blogs and forums, Nike was able to identify cultural experts and communicate with them on a regular basis.
After Nike gained information and ideas from the online tools, they conducted the next step of value creation which is called “Co-creation workshop”. In this process, they brought cultural experts who are the decision makers and have expertise in design and marketing areas, to work as a team in co-designing iconic products and strategies.
To take its value of creation a step ahead, time and again Nike kept in touch with the consumers through forums and blogs and asked for their valuable feedback on the existing product design and new design possibilities. As a result of these necessary encounters, the company was able to choose material, designs and features which effectively matched the identity of the consumers.
The above examples prove the power of internet in today’s dynamic world and how it has totally changed the face of marketing. Digital social media are fiercely influencing and molding the relationship between the product and the society. It’s time we use this platform wisely and help build a stronger relationship between product and society through co-creation phenomena.