Why Online Consumer Co Creation?
Covid Normal has impacted the consumer led idea generation and Co Creation space. Tangibility is the life force of Co Creation – which always seems to be better in a group dynamic, with lots of stimulus to play with and a client fully engaged either within the session or watching close by.
However, despite the ongoing changes to how we work, it is not impossible to do great Consumer Co Creation online. Unmet needs can still be understood, ideas and concepts can be validated and optimised. Brand stretch can be realised with a few simple tools and rules. You can extend to broader geographies for deeper insight.
The key is, don’t let online Co Creation put you off. There are many benfits with a few simple rules.
The Rules for Online Co Creation
A couple of simple rules to get the most out of the online co creation sessions.
- 6 is OK but 4-5 respondents are ideal. This is not a time to be thinking of the more the merrier. You need to have deep and meaningful storytelling about needs, met and unmet and what would be awesome. You need time to allow for breakouts, private responses and discussions. The more you have the harder it is to both time control and quality control.
- No more than 2-hour sessions. This should be obvious, but screen fatigue is real and especially when people are co creating. Allow a bit of off camera work too, if possible set them an 2 minute drawing task or write a list they can then photograph and upload.
- Consider 6-8 sessions and make them iterative. Co creation benefits from iterative learning. It is best if you can have 2-3 early development sessions and then take strong ideas into the next groups so they can build on those ideas.
- Recruit passionate users wherever possible. Find highly involved consumers who have positive and negative opinions. You need the debate and the conflict. It is then possible to split the team into clear breakout sessions to debate how to co create a better product or service to either further enhance the experience or overcome the poor experiences.
- Bring homework into the groups. Get consumers shopping, using products and services, critiquing, and considering the problems they need solved and what would make this work better. Ensure they are familiar with services and how they would like to change them by experiencing or researching their needs prior to the groups – discovery is part of the experience.
- Product or idea placement – either with raw ideas or actual prototypes prior to the groups. Consumers have the experience and consider the ideas or draw /ideate prior to groups. The sessions can be used to ‘sell in’ ideas…Naturally all participants would need to sign legal disclaimers.
- Consider specialist missions – consumers interviewing family and friends or taking photos and videos and uploading to platform for commentary. There are many ways to bring this aspect of experience to life that can be shared within the online focus group and discussed as a team to examine the gaps, needs and problems that need to be solved.
The Tools to Improve your Online Co Creation Experience
Online conference tools like Zoom and Teams have great options such as break out rooms, chat functions and whiteboards for workshopping online. This may not have the spontaneity and flow of an actual face to face workshop, but it does allow clients to move forward with consumer led ideas which are still much better than ideas that come from internal naval gazing alone.
Also consider folding in tools like WhatsApp groups, Tiktok videos and other familiar fun tools to help the experience be more fruitful. VR platforms are also possible but can be pricey and problematic. Best to stick to the simple and familiar.
Whether it’s mood boards or written brand and product propositions, it is important to get people’s creative juices flowing. Consumers find paragraphs of description with a visual of the product idea way too dull and rigid to be inspiring. It also does not give them permission to criticise, propose alternative solutions or to encourage them to think deeply about the matter at hand.
It’s best to keep the stimulus in a co-creation session basic, simple, and easy to understand. By breaking down questions into smaller queries and ensuring that each visual only investigates one variable rather than an entire concept, consumers can process a vast amount of information. This may mean that you have quite a lot of stimuli – 20 pieces or more might make sense, but none of it needs to be fancy and slick. In fact, quite basic stimulus gives consumers permission to improve upon ideas and make them better.
Use of provocation statements, mood boards and even links to Tik Tok ideas and social media are all important tools in helping people to think, feel and create, so get creative with your stimulus and how people can help us create ideas for our clients.
Getting More out of Online Co Creation
The permission to play:
Everyone needs to feel free to play around with ideas, able to tear them down and put them back together or throw an idea away completely. Offline co-creation allows you this flexibility but for online co-creation it might take a bit longer to get into the groove, so use of break out rooms is critical to helping ‘teams’ play together in smaller groups.
Once they have co created in smaller groups, bring them back into the main room to let the discussion off the leash, allowing it to go wherever it needs to and letting the consumers change their mind as bounce off each other and ideas. If your aim is to create innovative solutions that were previously unthought of then this loose leash is vital to the experience.
The legal stuff:
Make sure you have legal disclaimers, consumer NDAs and any other forms you feel appropriate to ensuring ideas are protected. The platforms can assist with capture of downloads.
Businesses need to find ways to get consumers to help with co creation that can occur anywhere and anytime so they can create innovation roadmaps. This will help your team to further define their problems, think up ideas, and help them create highly workable and innovative market leading solutions using online or virtual tools. The most powerful way to do this is by creating true, dynamic online teamwork to generate the in-depth understanding with proven tools and platforms and using some simple rules to guide us.
Want to learn more about online Consumer Co-Creation and how it can help you to uncover more power in your brand? Drop us a line at email@example.com or visit our website at www.rubychacha.com.au or call us on 80946800.