Many companies often struggle to connect with consumers on a personal level, this leads to a lack of understanding of the desires of their customers. The video game developer Bungie was a good example of this. Bungie developed the oh-so-popular game Halo, a first person shooter played on the Xbox and Xbox 360, for those of you who have lived under a rock for the past ten years. Recently the rights to continue making the Halo series were sold to 343 Studios. Who realized there was a growing market in the competitive gaming industry, because 343 is awesome they decided to gather input from the hardcore gamers out there so they could create a game that catered to a more competitive atmosphere. This is a perfect example of co-creation because they used the inevitable consumers of the product in development of the game. Making the gamers who, spend hours daily playing it, much happier. Knowing 343 studios took the time to listen to my needs, immediately swayed my preference to them, (over Bungie) within a matter of days. Talk about a good way to build customer loyalty!
Yet another version of co-creation in Halo is the ability to “forge” your own maps within the game. This makes the creators job a hundreds times easier because it A) supplemented Bungie’s inability to design a competitive map and B) helped to maintain the longevity of the game. It ingeniously allows for the gamers to tweak the gameplay to their liking while at the same time enabling the game to evolve without compromising the brand or mechanics of the game.
Okay maybe not always…
Nike recently released the Magista’s, a revolutionary new soccer boot. When designing this product they took into account the opinions of professionals like Andrés Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo. They felt they needed more comfort, touch and stability in their boot. Attaining these qualities simultaneously is not an easy feat. The rule of thumb with soccer shoes generally is, when lending more comfort and touch you are sacrificing stability, and vice versa. Au contraire soccer Gods! Nike, using technology previously used in their Kobe 9’s and FlyKnit Running Shoes, developed the most innovative, touch oriented, supportive boot the soccer world has ever seen. All because they listened to their customers.
Nike then released, as they always do before the World Cup , an epic commercial debuting the use of this new boot (this made footballers and content marketers alike giddy with excitement).
Co-creation methods like these make the games, content and/or products more enjoyable for the the target audience while at the same time making the creator’s job easier. By participating in such innovative techniques, both parties are creating a more valuable product than they could alone. This lends a new meaning to the phrase “customer loyalty”.
Co-creation isn’t limited to just product development but also product assembly. IKEA is a great example of this phenomenon, they rely on the customer to pickup and assemble their products in exchange for lower prices.
Co-creation is a way for a company to bring a customer the product they actually want while also building customer loyalty. The fact that a better deal is generally just a click away makes this an even more important concept.