Crowdsourcing and Social Business

Hi my name is Sarah, I’m an intern @ FRANk and this is my first post.

Where do good ideas come from?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL[/youtube]

This video got me thinking… where do your best ideas come from? Sharing ideas and collaboration are not new concepts in creative industries, but as globalisation is no longer a buzz word, but a reality, crowdsourcing gains momentum as an online form of business collaboration.

Crowdsourcing involves outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed closer to home, by placing a call out to an undefined, online group or community (the ‘crowd’). The design community provides the best example of how this model has thrived. Websites such as 99designs or the Australian DesignCrowd provide an online marketplace for customers to engage freelance graphic designers. In turn they generate ideas or solutions to projects ranging from web design, company logos and corporate communication to product packaging. After the call-out is made, the crowd presents their work in response, attempting to secure the reward (often in monetary form) for to the best submission.

The beauty of this model is that it truly breaks down geographic boundaries, creating a global workplace where location or experience no longer matter. Crowdsourcing welcomes fresh blood into the organisation and along with it fresh ideas. With a global pool of talent at their fingertips, generating new ideas and fostering creativity, this collaborative approach opens virtual doors to whoever has the best idea or freshest take on the problem.

Taking the crowdsourcing model, to what extent can brands engage with their own advocate community to mutual benefit? The answer lies in three fundamental lessons we can take away:

  1. Open up to the potential of ‘the crowd’. Ask for input from ‘the crowd’ and you will immediately tap into fresh perspectives and willing contributors. Since customers today expect interaction, asking them open-ended questions will encourage active participation with your brand. The beauty of crowdsourcing lies in the endless source of inspiration and fresh ideas to be extracted from the online community. The same applies to your social media connections.

  2. Offer rewards.  Whether you offer prizes, money, naming rights or simply 5-minutes-of-fame, show that you appreciate the input of your fans and offer an exchange for their time and effort.
    Run competitions which encourage participants to share their involvement with your brand with friends via their own personal social media to spread the word further and generate conversation around your brand.

    Yesterday, Air New Zealand was named the world’s top airline by a global airline magazine who described them as “an industry trendsetter in a number of areas, including product innovation and social media”. Saquib Ahmed’s post on Socialmedianz outlines the innovative manner in which Air New Zealand successfully rewarded loyal customers through social media.

  3. Incorporate feedback and insights. If you are a savvy brand you will have begun to identify and better understand your influencers within your overall ‘likers and followers’. They are the gold and will want to be heard and respected (see 2012 resolution no. 4). Show your appreciation for their loyalty and insights and use the information your community gives you. It can be as simple as asking them for suggestions for new flavours or product modifications. The important thing is to use the market research at your fingertips. It would have been interesting to see what might have entailed if Vegemite had done so.

 

Do you have an example of what your business has done to successfully harness the collective knowledge and insights of your customers?FRANk Media - 'Crowdsourcing in Social Business'

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