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Co-creation the key to boosting ‘Customer Engagement’.

By Wilfred Vivek 25th March 2019

Be it for a small or a large marketplace brand, customer alignment creates a significant impact on the positive side. The more the customer perceives the brand is listening and responding to them the more they are involved with the brand. Companies are now looking to get the customers “Involved in” and this is through Co-creation.

Co-creation is “the joint value creation by the customer and the company; driving the customer to co-construct the product/service experience to suit the context.” – Prahalad and Ramaswamy.

It helps in engaging your audience, build stronger relationships, create awareness and strengthen the loyalty with the brand. It can be implemented in any area of business be it marketing, design and communication. The goal is to partner with the strategic customer to jointly create value, solve a problem or improve performance.

People associate with brands, the chances that they choose a new variant of the existing brand as compared to a new brand is relatively high. People are loyal towards the brand they trust in, and though they are satisfied with the products from their trusted brand, there is always scope for improvement.

With the advent of social media, people nowadays especially the Millennials demand more from the products and services they utilise every day. They expect two-way communication with the brand they trust.

Let’s look at some of the reasons the Millennials associate with a brand.

  1. Representation:
    In a crowded world, people carry a brand to represent themselves. They look for brands with a similar character to what they aspire to be; they choose the brand. “I am what I buy”.
  2. A Sense of belonging:
    “Communities” drive the success of social sites. Social media is about connecting people and creating communities. People share, like or comment to show agreement or dislike with a community type.
  3. Rewards:
    Finally, people share or post about a brand to get something in return like discounts, vouchers etc.

With this in mind, let’s see a few examples of how brands drove customers to get “involved in” co-creation.


Lego’s Idea website attracted some genuine responses and is a success in the co-creation space. Each Idea posted on the site required 10,000 supporters to qualify for a review from Lego. After a successful review, the Ideas were implemented in their products.

Lego's co-creation strategy
Co-creation : Lego


Ikea “Home Tour Program”. IKEA made a video series where its employees closely worked with customers to create their dream homes. The series was successful, and about 210 video series has been streamed so far.

Ikea's co-creation strategy
Co-creation: Ikea


Nestle’s Maggi bounced back after the downfall with this campaign. When Maggi was banned in some regions, Maggi co-created a video series with their loyal customers on “How they miss this delicious snack”. The video series built up the hype in the market before it was even back in the shelves and the effects of the ban were minimal.

Nestle Maggi's co-creation strategy
Co-creation: Nestle Maggi

Five factors to be considered before implementing the co-creation plan.

  1. Objective: Before starting on the implementation plan, the aim should be clear. What do you want to achieve? Is it Idea generation for an existing product/service or is it a new product development?
  2. Channels: How is the implementation of the plan. Is it going to be digital or is it going to be physical? If digital, what are the mediums to target?
  3. Collaborators: Who are the people who are going to be invited to participate in this co-creation? Experts, everyday users or lead-users. The segment which is going to be involved in the strategic partnership for co-creation should be decided in prior.
  4. Tools:Tools help in facilitating co-creation. The tools that boost the productivity for co-creation. Which tools are people going to use to create the Ideas?
  5. Contracts: What do people get in return for their work? How to acknowledge co-creators?

Let’s take an example of an Online Clothing Marketplace

Online Clothing Marketplace:

Online Clothing Marketplace

Objective: To boost customer interactions in your marketplace. Creating a differentiation among your competitors. The goal is Idea generation. To create new designs for clothing (user-created designs)

Channels: It is going to be digital; users will create designs from the marketplace website itself.

Tools: Having an easy-to-use design Tool integrated into the website will garner more submissions. Customers will use these tools to create designs.

Contracts: Customers can upvote user-created designs, and the best among them will be chosen and put on for sale. A percentage of the sale value for that particular design will be a reward for the user.

In an era where business has to differentiate to achieve success, co-creation can be an important source of differentiation. In case of Online Marketplaces “Active user-sessions” is an important metric which determines the success of the company. Co-creation will help in boosting user engagement in the platform.

If you’re looking to build your online marketplace for clothing, food or services try Yelo, the easiest way to set up your marketplace.

If you enjoyed reading this, we’re sure you will also love checking out what we have in store on our Youtube channel. You can also head to our  home page for more info!

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