Tapping the social web to perfect products, streamline business
Ah, if it were only that easy. In truth, companies are still paying lip service to the practice of “social co-creation,” or using social media to tap your customer base for innovative ideas, new research has found.According to Forrester, fewer than two out of every five companies surveyed were tapping their social media communities to develop new product ideas or improve on existing ones. Forrester’s Doug Williams focused on the early practitioners, rather than the disappointing figures. Here’s what he found:
Consumer product strategy professionals who are using social media assets to enable co-creation are doing one or more of the following:
- Engaging with fans on Facebook, Twitter, corporate blogs and public communities to generate ideas and opinions about products and services;
- Generating new ideas through dedicated ideation sites (like Ford’s “Your Ideas” site);
- Leveraging existing listening platforms to reveal product ideas from online conversations, either on the company’s own site or elsewhere on the Web
- Analyzing online product ratings and reviews to uncover areas of improvement or unmet needs in the marketplace; or
Using private online communities to create a dialog with a specific audience for product creation purposes.
Here at SMI we have reported throughout the year on the good and the bad in the area of co-creation. In the latter camp, we saw some gimmicky crowdsourcing gambits, i.e, using customers to introduce a new donut or softdrink flavor. We have seen crowdsourcing utilized in some innovative ways too. On the consumer side, Dell and Starbucks are leading the way with their innovative platforms to collect and act upon the best ideas from their customers with Dell Ideastorm and My Starbuck’s Idea. GE’s Ecomagination unit and PepsiCo, meanwhile, are tapping the public for ways to build a better planet.
Here’s hoping that 2011 will see big brands using their swelling communities for the purpose of innovation and improvement.