Crowdsourcing: Global Corporations Are Asking and Listening

Delivering the content desired by a brand’s target audience is a must in ensuring the success of advertising campaigns and the organization itself. Organizations go through great lengths to find out what the audience wants including polls, research, surveys, focus groups, and thorough analysis. Crowdsourcing is, put into simple words, the easiest and best way for an organization to base its next step entirely on what the audience would like to see. In crowdsourcing campaigns, organizations tap into the public’s intelligence and creativity revealing projects that the brand may not have thought of without this input. It is also a way to demonstrate that even global corporations are listening to their customers which can spark more appreciation, value, and loyalty towards the organization.

Crowdsourcing takes a few different forms. The first concept known as open innovation is a distributed, participatory approach to innovation recognizing that useful knowledge exists in a number of different places, including both within and outside a business. A form of open innovation, idea portals are places for fans and customers (and sometimes employees) to submit their suggestions for products and services. The third concept is co-creation which involves businesses or organizations working alongside private or public individuals (usually customers or hard-core fans) to develop ideas for new products, services, and systems. Because of this facilitation of expression from the audience to the organization, crowdsourcing reduces costs and time frames in the development of new ideas.

Also, the feedback received on social media crowdsourcing campaigns is not taken from a designated sample size as would other types of surveys. It is taken from the entire online audience which includes a wide range group of thinkers.

An application of the ideal portals concept is Lego’s Lego Ideas crowdsourcing campaign. This campaign invited users to post their ideas for potential Lego products by creating pages that outline the idea along with supporting images.

This page was then published on the platform for users to view and vote on ideas. Once an idea generated 10,000 views within a year’s time, it qualified for review by Lego and would eventually have the possibility to be produced into a real Lego kit. This campaign resulted in products such as the “Big Bang Theory’ living room model, and the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” model.

Given the success of Lego Ideas, this campaign was renewed for the third year in a row in 2020 where twenty-five product ideas qualified for the 2020 Lego Ideas review board. This crowdsourcing campaign’s set up also fomented the Lego fans community by having a page dedicated to it where members could scroll through a live feed on what projects are currently being created and liked. This is in its own way a platform dedicated just to this project where people can connect and build relationships with each other oriented around the Lego brand.

In another type of open innovation, the Ben & Jerry’s “Do the World A Flavor” campaign shines. This company is famous for whipping up innovative ice-cream flavors that fans sometimes become quite fanatical about. However, it is difficult to figure out the customers’ taste, so they deiced to ask them directly. In 2009, Ben & Jerry’s launched this campaign to crowdsource a new flavor of ice-cream that would be created entirely by online consumers.

The “Do the World a Flavor” campaign also operated as a contest to incite participation and motivation to really think outside of the box with one’s submission. The contest lasted three months long and to boost social media engagement with it, Ben & Jerry’s created a series of webisodes throughout. These short and informative videos were designed to help contestants in the creation of their personalized flavors by giving categories and tips.

These were a successful since forty percent of the “Do the World A Flavor” contestants shared their idea to their friends on Facebook, causing the number of Ben & Jerry Facebook fan page members to grow exponentially. This campaign was able to generate over 100,000 flavor suggestions worldwide through Facebook and the Ben and Jerry’s website. The winning combination, named Fairly Nuts, was produced and sent out to stores in March 2010 and was a huge success.

Creative non-fiction writer. UF Global Strategic Media graduate student trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA. An Italian with above average pizza making skills.