As questions arise on the degree of interest a consumer has in a company or brand enough to ‘participate’, I guess the issue of customer participation needs to be addressed separately.
In an era where companies talk about the new form of value creation-Co-creation, where companies are moving away from a company and product centred value creation to an experience centred value creation (Prahlad,Ramaswamy), participation is becoming a desired ingredient. Objectives of co-creation include identifying the right customer set to interact and after identifying the requirements of this customer set, alter product offerings as per requirement of the same.
Some interesting observations from research (Prahlad,Ramaswamy) on Co-creation.
1.In the emerging economic model of value cocreation, consumers and companies routinely collaborate to create personalized value.
2. Cocreation, is not the transfer or outsourcing of activities to customers or a marginal customization of products and services. It isn’t scripting or staging of customer events around the company’s offerings. Those kinds of company-customer interactions no longer satisfy most consumers today.
IT IS THE CO-CREATION EXPERIENCE(NOT THE OFFERING) THAT IS THE BASIS OF VALUE FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL.
It is hence, this procedure of participation which is important.
Co-creation may require a dedicated approach from the management to allow consumers to not exactly take over the brand, but definitely have a larger voice share. However the high involvement opportunity it offers with substantial value growth drives commitment from organizational leadership.
Kraft’s use of co-creation
Consumers co-create 48 products they want to buyis a case in point.
There are consumers interested in getting involved in every stage of the Product life cycle from concept, through post launch and beyond. The bottomline is-there are passionate groups of involved customers willing to PARTICIPATE. It is upto the organizations to identify them, build relationships with them and leverage the immense power of the participating community for organizational growth.
“Participation” now strongly vies for space as the 5th P of marketing. Doesn’t it?