Power to the People

03 Dec 2009|Added Value

people powerWe hear every day how digital technology is changing business, but what’s the impact for marketing, and specifically for insight and innovation? A big subject, but we thought we’d gather some brain-food on how organisations are reaching out to harness the opinions and  imagination of consumers and creative thinkers in digitally empowered ways:

Starting at the macro level: Yochai Benkler, the ‘leading intellectual of the information age’, reckons that for the first time since the Industrial Revolution the most important means of value creation are in the hands of the people: digital technology, combined with human intelligence and creativity, allows for what he calls “social production” – groups of people coming together to produce the likes of Linux and Wikipedia.  (Watch his TED talk on Open Source Economics)

Thinking about innovation more specifically, Charles Leadbeater uses examples such as the $58 billion mountain bike market to talk about a new era, based on “collaborative creativity”. Rather than the “old, corporate-backed model” delivering a pipeline of solutions to a passive consumer, we should be looking to work with communities of “pro-am consumers.” You may be aware of the ‘distributed co-creation’ approach: this goes further, embracing all the participants in the value chain.  (See Charles’ talk on the subject here.)

P&G is probably the benchmark corporation here, and in the Harvard Business Review Larry Huston, VP Innovation & Knowledge and Nabil Sakkab, Senior VP Corporate R&D give an inside view. The Connect & Develop programme produces more than 35% of the company’s innovations and billions of dollars of revenue. Using Pringles as an example, they explain why the old innovation model only provides incremental changes – nowhere near enough for a mature business in an intensely competitive environment

How to exploit technology in concept and messaging evaluation?  P&G’s Tremor spin-off not only evaluates, but goes a step further into campaign execution. As well validating with a community of 400,000 Connector mums with social networks 5-6 times larger than the norm, Tremor subsequently uses the power of word-of-mouth as part of the mix for the marketplace solution.

Even in Creative, we’re seeing new business models emerge to challenge existing marketing practice. Unilever recently decided to drop ad agency of 16 years – Lowe – on their Peperami brand and turned instead to crowdsourcing platform Idea Bounty to find creative ideas for their next TV campaign.

So how are we at Added Value responding to the digital challenge? One of the things we’ve done is to design a proprietary digital platform that leverages the principles of social networking to help companies explore, develop and refine ideas in real time. It’s called AV-id.  (Click to see a short video of the offer).

We work with communities of leading-edge and mainstream consumers; we have a global database of over 3,000 experts; and we also work with communities of internal client teams. The goal is to develop deep, vivid insight and generate innovation & positioning ideas. And we do it on both an ad hoc and continuous basis.

 If you’d like to hear more about AV-id or discuss how we can help you take advantage of the digital revolution, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Jonathan Hall
CEO, Added Value France

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