Messages les plus consultés

dimanche 18 décembre 2011

Welcome Back Eepydybird: the Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket !

They are coming back! The Eepybird's heroes... 
Fritz Grobe (the short one) and Stephen Voltz (the tall one)

Five years after, yet another trick of genius viral advertising from EepyBird...But also, creativity, innovation and co-creation with "special" customers...

After years of work, their foolish engineers have harnessed the explosive power of Coke and Mentos and achieved human propulsion, building two Rocket Cars, Mark I & Mark II. These rocket cars were welded together by Nick Salvati with Big Dave Tardy and Mike Miclon. Nick and Mike built the Mark I on a utility trailer frame, along with the front end of a bicycle. Nick and Dave built the Mark II on a pedal car frame.

They tell us : "This is sheer power vs. refined aerodynamics. This is sheer stupidity vs. refined stupidity. It’s the Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car"..

How does this work?

"The Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car uses a piston mechanism: a six-foot long rod sits inside a six-foot long tube attached to each bottle of Coke Zero. When the Mentos drop into the soda, the pressure tries to push the rod out of the tube. With 54 or 108 rods all pushing at once, that gives us a lot of power. All that power is pushing against a solid wall -- so the wall won't move, the rocket car will. We get one big push for six feet, and then it’s all coasting from there"

Let's see below the first video: the "Mark I" powered by 108 bottles of Coke Zero and 648 Mentos mints.....Enjoy it !

...versus the Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket CarMark II, powered by 54 bottles of Coke Zero and 324 Mentos mints.

And the winner is?


lundi 5 décembre 2011

Marketing : What co-cocreation is, what co-creation is not. Back to basics.

Co-creation has been associated with two main approaches in marketing and strategy literature, ranging from customizable and/or experiential consumption (product or service) to innovation with customers or consumers.

The former occurs whenever consumers interact with companies or products and thereby have an active role in the shaping of their personal experience. The latter considers that co-creation is a form of collaborative creativity that is initiated by marketers to boost innovation with, rather than for, their consumers.


  • Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004) : co-creation, the locus of value creation and value extraction
Co-creation is evolution and transformation of customers from passive audiences to ‘active players’ in order to create additional value. The customer’s value creation process can be defined as a series of activities performed by the customer to achieve a particular goal. In a nutshell, co-creation occurs when a "customer personalize his or her experience through a product or service, in the life time ot its use, to a level that is best suited to get his job(s) done".

"Informed, networked, empowered, and active consumers are increasingly co-creating value with the firm. The interaction between the firm and the consumer is becoming the locus of value creation and value extraction. As value shifts to experiences, the market is becoming a forum for conversation and interactions between consumers, consumer communities, and firms. It is this dialogue, access, transparency, and understanding of risk/benefits that is central to the next practice in value creation."

First of all, don't confused "co-creation" with self-service or mass-customization !

Instead of this, you have to consider a joint creation of value with (rather simply for) the customer : creating a space of dialogue for understanding customer experiences. Secondly, the problem definition and problem solving are shared between the two stakeholders, not the exclusive property of the firm. And finally, remember that the consumer will never be your product manager, but must be considered as a source of competence. But harnessing the competences of the consumer is not an easy task...

Source : Prahalad C.K. & Ramaswamy V. (2004), Co-creation experiences: the next practices in value creation, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18, 3, 5-14.

  • Thomke &Von Hippel (2002) : co-creation with leading-edge customers
With a customer-as-innovators approach, co-creation encompasses three areas: design (ideation), building prototypes, testing products. Five steps are required for tunrning customers into innovators: 

1. Develop a user-friendly tool kit (now, via an internet platform to create a virtual customer environment), 
2. Increase the flexibility of the production processes,
3. Carefully select the right participants, prefer targeting leading-edge customers (ie. lead-user),
4. Evolve your tool kit continually and rapidly to satisfy your leading-edge customers,
5. Adapt your business practices accordingly. 

"Traditionally, suppliers have taken on most of the work-and responsibility of product development. The result has been costly and time consuming iterations between supplier and customer to reach a satisfactory solution. With the customers as-innovators approach, a supplier provides customers with tools so that they can design and develop the application specific part of a product on their own. This shifts the location of the supplier customer interface, and the trial-and-error iterations necessary for product development are now carried out by the customer only. The result is greatly increased speed and effectiveness".

Thomke S. et Von Hippel E. (2002), Customers as innovators : a new way to create value, Harvard Business Review, april, 80, 74-81.

Synthetis :   What a co-creation approach implies for marketing management and marketing resarch?

Co-creation is more than co-marketing, like viral or word-of-mouth marketing where customers are viewed as co-sales agents.
Clearly, individuals want to use interaction as a locus of value creation. Consumers and customers now demand to interact with marketing, as well as individual entities or members of (virtual) communities in order to co-create value that reflects their unsatisfied needs, rather than buying what marketing offers to them.

Co-creation aimed at putting the customer, and more generally the consumer, at the heart of the company. Consumers and customers provide ideas, suggestions on how to improve products/services or to generate the development of them.
The consumers are seen as a key resource of knowledge that goes much beyond the traditional scope of research in consumer behavior. More specifically, marketing managers must rethinking market research and "putting people back in". Observing, understanding, participating in order to create a value rich experience.

Interesting links :

lundi 24 octobre 2011

Engagement and skills in co-creation activities : Dealing with Lead users and Emergent Nature consumers (Part 2)

This post summarizes the results (part 2) of a research undertaken by Eric Vernette, Professor at the Center for Research in Management (CRM), University of Toulouse Capitole: "Assessing the role of Lead users and Emergent Nature consumers in co-creation activities: method and marketing attractiveness", October, 2011. The present study was carried out in a joint research program with eYeka. Respondents were drawn from the qualified database from a leading panel provider. The sample comprised 995 French (older than 16 years old) respondents selected following the quota method (age, region, gender and education level). Data analysis was realized by Eric Vernette and Linda Hamdi (PhD Student at the CRM, University of Toulouse Capitole).

Engagement in co-creation experience 

After defining thresholds for lead-userness and emergent nature in a previous post, we wanted to know if these consumers were more involved in co-creative activities or not. 

Customer’s engagement in co-creation experience was assessed with the following item “If a brand asked you to help her co-create a product/service with them, how would you react? ” on a five point-scale (1= I will strongly disagree and 5= I will strongly agree).

The means of customer engagement in co-creation experience were measured for each group “Non Lead users” vs “Lead users”, and between “Non Emergent Nature” vs “Emergent Nature”.
 If lead-users and emergent customers represent a small part of the population, they are highly willing to co-create with brands:
  1. Lead users are significantly (p < .0001) more ready to engage in co-creation activities (Mean = 4.60) than non lead users (3.89).
  2. Emergent nature consumers are significantly (p < .0001) more ready to engage in co-creation activities (Mean = 4.65) than Non Emergent nature consumers (3.88).

These two user populations more often post comments online or co-develop new products or services with a brand. Furthermore, we find that Lead users are more ready than Emergent Nature consumers to engage in most of the following co-creation activities: to post a comment online concerning a product or service, to take part to the promotion of a new product or service, to take part to a market study or to the development of a new product.

Respective skills in co-creation

Lead users and Emergent nature consumers are significantly (p <.001) more able to take part to creative activities than the mainstream consumers. They know how to realize and achieve their ideas and more often adapt product or services to meet their individual needs.

Lead users are more efficient than Emergent nature consumers on the following:

  1. They have precise ideas on how to improve/develop a product or a service; 
  2. They customize products or services to satisfy their individual needs; 
  3. Develop a complete fabrication of a product or service to meet their personal needs
  4.  Apply for a patent.

Co-creation and marketing strategy: How to identify Lead users and Emergent Nature Consumers? (Part 1)

This post summarizes the results of a research undertaken by Eric Vernette, Professor at the Center for Research in Management (CRM), University of Toulouse Capitole: "Assessing the role of Lead users and Emergent Nature consumers in co-creation activities: method and marketing attractiveness", October, 2011. The present study was carried out in a joint research program with eYeka. Respondents were drawn from the qualified database from a leading panel provider. The sample comprised 995 French (older than 16 years old) respondents selected following the quota method (age, region, gender and education level). Data analysis was realized by Eric Vernette and Linda Hamdi (PhD Student at the CRM, University of Toulouse Capitole)
In this first post we show how to screen the right consumers for co-creation via self-assessment scales. In a second one, we report results about the engagement in co-creation activities and respective skills of French consumers. 

 Who are these consumers?

Results of academic research suggest two kinds of consumers: 

(1) Consumers who are high in Emergent Nature (Hoffman et al., 2010), ie. have the unique capability to imagine or envision how concepts might be further developed so that they will be successful in the mainstream marketplace.

(2) Lead users (Von Hippel, 1986) are consumers who are (1) ahead of the general market trend, meaning that they experience needs that the rest of the market will face months or years later and who (2) “expect high benefits” from a solution to their advanced needs which may lead them to innovate. Generally, the lead user construct is supposed to be product-specific or domain-specific. In this research, it is not the case; we suggest a generalized construct “a user who faces needs before the other consumers and who has innovative ideas to obtain a solution to those needs”.

How to identify these key actors?

In this study, the “Emergent nature” construct was measured with an 8-item scale from Hoffman et al. (2010) rated on a five point-scale (1=strongly disagree and 5= strongly agree). 
1. When I hear about a new product or service idea, it is easy to imagine how it might be developed into an actual product or service.
 2. Even if I don’t see an immediate use for a new product or service, I like to think about how I might use it in the future.
 3. When I see a new product or service idea, it is easy to visualize how it might fit into the life of an average person in the future.
 4. If someone gave me a new product or service idea with no clear application, I could “fill in the blanks” so someone else would know what to do with it.
 5. Even if I don’t see an immediate use for a new product or service, I like to imagine how people in general might use it in the future.
 6. I like to experiment with new ideas for how to use products and services.
 7. I like to find patterns in complexity.
 8. I can picture how products and services of today could be improved to make them more appealing to the average person.

Consumer’s global lead userness was measured with four items adapted from Beji-Becheur, Goletty and Vernette’s scale (2011)— a measure initially developed to assess the product-specific lead userness— as following: 

1. I regularly have special expectations or needs on products or services that are still not offered by firms.
 2.  I already have had ideas on how to improve products or services that are now taken up by firms.
3. Today, I finally find products or services on the marketplace that meet the needs I have expressed for a long time.
4. If my ideas are innovating compared to current practices for new product or service development.

Score distribution among the French population
We have added up respondent's scores on each scale. Lead user and Emergent Nature Consumer are not dichotomous concepts (yes vs no), but are of varying intensity. So any particular range of values that we specify is necessarily arbitrary.

We have considered as lead users or high in emergent nature those who scored in the Top 10 % (ie. first decile), a number that is consistent with previous studies. The threshold scores are respectively of 16 and 33 points.


dimanche 2 octobre 2011

A Financial Metaphor : When money gets a woman with children

The claim of Bontrust Finance (a german financial institution) is effective : "Make your money multiply with us". But their viral advertisement is somewhat provocative... God made man, but Bontrust gets a woman with quadruplets. In the video below (you must be older 18 years), you will meet Mao, Abraham Lincoln and this mysterious woman.

Enjoy it or not !

Interview d'Andreas Pohl, Directeur de la création, de la société Optix qui a réalisé l'animation en 3D de cette publicité :

"Quand l'agence est venue nous voir avec l'idée de montrer la croissance monétaire sur le marché international comme si c'était des relations sexuelles, nous avons été séduits par l'idée. Pas de doute, nous devions la réaliser ! Le but était de créer un monde complètement construit en billets de banque avec des personnages explicites. On a donc passé de nombreuses journées et nuits à faire des recherches pour trouver les bons objets comme les bâtiments, les ponts, les paysages, les habits, etc. Cette procédure a été suivie par la création de patrons en 2D pour évoquer les bons sentiments, le ton et l'aspect du film, avec une approche spéciale pour l'aspect d'origami que l'on avait à l'esprit. Après est venue la phase de création de l'animation à proprement parler, on a commencé à préciser les personnages, aussi bien que les différents scénarios du spot publicitaire. Notre dernière tâche a consisté à finaliser toutes les scènes, les mouvements de caméra et les sons. Tous les personnages (Lincoln, Mao et la femme inconnue) ont été créés comme des personnages 3 D".

jeudi 15 septembre 2011

Market research : the power of visual Metaphors elicited by consumers

Drawings, pictures and photos tell us more than a long speech or a flow of figures. This is the  magical power of visual metaphors to explain complexity. Few years ago, we built a new method, "l'Album on Line" focused on this approach. See also our post on the small world (university, students and professor).

And sometimes, the financial services are more creative than the market research to communicate sophisticated facts and results. 

Just have a look at the drawing below, a surprising JP Morgan’s use of Lego. The question ? "Who should pay for current and future sovereign/bank bailouts?" Michael Cembalest, the JP Morgan's analyst is happy to enlist his 9-years old son, Peter, for help with visualizing this complex relationship.

Here you get a representation of the cirisis in the European Monetar Union with a co-creation between Peter, a naive boy and an expert, Michael. The Lego Minifigures are used as a medium, in fact they are real visual metaphors. The result is the slideshow below.

 The metaphors are explained by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon and reported by Synovate, a market research institute. 
  1. "The toreador in a floppy hat, and the F1 driver with his helmet, represent Spain, Italy and the rest of the Euro Periphery.
  2. The three men with helmets, shields, and medieval weaponry represent the CDU, CSU and FDP parties in Germany.
  3. The blue-and-white sailor boy is Finland. Obvs.
  4. The woman with an oversized carrot and her friend in overalls with a shovel represent the Social Democrats and Greens.
  5. Wotan represents the Bundesbank.
  6. The piggy bank is the IMF.
  7. The grey-haired Banque chap is the ECB.
  8. The chap in the red bib is Poland.
  9. The artists are France.
  10. The angry chef, the sweeper with a broom, the airline pilot, and the rest of the motley crew at bottom left, represent EU taxpayers in Core countries.
  11. The storm troopers are the EU Commission and Euro Group Finance Ministers, chaired by Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean- Claude Juncker.
  12. The monocled banker and his assistant are EU bondholders and shareholders."

Now, the financial translation of this drawing given by Michael Cembalest, JP Morgan’s expert (quotes). Take courage...If you need the complete report, click here.

"[1] Spain, Italy and the rest of the Euro Periphery believe the ECB should buy bonds, prevent spreads from rising and give them time to implement austerity plans. Italy is the flash point, with sovereign debt equal to 25% of GDP rolling in the next year, plus 100 bn in Italian bank debt. Italy has undergone austerity before (1990’s), but that was when the promise of EMU integration was the carrot. This promise has proven to be illusory; Italy grew faster before joining the EMU."
[2] The CDU, CSU and FDP are the 3 German parties which control the Bundestag and are against doing more than what Germany has already committed to. Minority factions within all 3 are against proposed EFSF expansion in size and scope. The CSU circulated a paper calling for an ‘insolvency procedure” for Eurozone sovereigns instead of an open-ended transfer union. The 3 parties seek greater labor and pension reforms in the Periphery, and are strongly opposed to premature introduction of Eurobonds. If more than 440 bn is needed, they would begrudgingly accept more ECB buying."
[3] By requiring collateral for its share of EFSF exposure to Greece, Finland raised the ante on France and Germany, whose banks have much more exposure to the Periphery. Finland wants the bailout to reflect actual exposure, rather than ECB capital weights. The Dutch now want the same treatment.
[4] The Social Democrats and Greens are opposition parties in the Bundestag, but if an early election were held today, polls suggest they would be in control. Both parties support expanding the EFSF beyond 440 bn if needed, and may accept fiscal federalization if necessary to preserve the EMU.
[5] The Bundesbank is the ultimate protector of German monetary and fiscal interests, and is very concerned with steps already taken to deal with the crisis. Their strong preference would be for EMU countries looking for aid to first implement austerity and pension and labor market reforms (i.e., German Reunification steps). Bondholder losses (“creditor participation”) should take place before shareholders are subsidized by taxpayers.
[6] The IMF has taken a mostly passive role, lending money and overseeing austerity plans in Greece that are failing miserably. Ken Rogoff at Harvard refers to their role as “sycophantic”. Comments on bank shareholder dilution by new IMF head LaGarde may suggest a change in attitude (hence the dotted line).
[7] The European Central Bank is purchasing Spanish and Italian bonds in the secondary market to bring yields down with the intention of facilitating better primary auctions. This did not work in Ireland, Greece or Portugal. Spain and Italy yields declined by 1% once the ECB began buying, but have since drifted higher. The ECB does not like its current role as fiscal agent, and believes that EU taxpayers should bear the cost of solving the crisis.

[8] Poland, after a long period of wanting to enter the EMU, is waiting for a clearer picture of who will bear the costs of the sovereign debt crisis. The Polish Finance Minster is calling for more ECB buying of sovereign debt, a much larger EFSF, and warned that Poland will not want to join the EMU until the Euro is earthquake-proof. ""The fundamental problem of the Eurozone is not an economic but a political one," he explained. "The choice is: much deeper macroeconomic integration in the Eurozone or its collapse. There is no third way."

[9] France is relying on the ECB to handle what the EFSF cannot. While France supports greater fiscal
federalization, if this were done via further EFSF enlargement, it could risk France’s AAA rating.
[10] EU taxpayers in Core countries would be affected by various efforts to federalize costs of the EMU sovereign debt crisis, either through EFSF expansion, or introduction of Eurobonds. Lots of arrows point in this general direction.
[11] The EU Commission and Euro Group Finance Ministers, chaired by Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean-Claude Juncker, support ECB bond buying and fiscal ederalization in a variety of forms. They oppose Franco-German incrementalism, but may not have enough power to change it.
[12] So far, EU bondholders and shareholders have been subsidized by the ECB and EU taxpayers. The atest EU bank stress tests called for an additional Eur 2.5 billion of capital. This is not a misprint."

mercredi 14 septembre 2011

A small world : university, student and professor

A deep and caustic look inside the academic small world..

@biomatushiq (Matus Sotak)

For more readings and adventures inside this marvelous small world, see David Lodge's trilogy: Small Word,  Changing Places, How Far Can You Go?,

samedi 10 septembre 2011

Effects of positive & negative Word of Mouth

What is the impact of Word-of-Mouth (WOM) on brand purchase probability ?

Robert East, Kathy Hammond and Wendy Lomax, (2008), Measuring the impact of positive and negative word of mouth on brand purchase probability International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25, 215–224

The authors use two methods, three measures of impact, based on 15 product and service categories to evaluate this impact.

 "Word of mouth (WOM) is informal advice passed between consumers. It is usually interactive, swift, and lacking in commercial bias".

Main results

1 - The effect of Positive WOM is generally greater than Negative WOM.  

Positive WOM is 76% more influential than negative WOM.
Overall, 64% customers claim that positive WOM affected their buying decisions, and 48% customers tell that negative WOM affected their choices.
If you received a positive WOM, the average positive shift for probability of brand purchase is:  + 20%
If you received a negative WOM, the average positive shift  for probability of brand purchase is:  - 11%

Warning ! The effect of WOM depends on the product category. For instance, for a restaurant, a positive WOM increases the purchase probability up to 39 points, a negative WOM decreases this probability from 47 points. For an hair colorant : positive WOM = + 19 pts, negative WOM = - 8 pts.

source : East, Hammond and Lomax, (2008), International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25, 215–224

2. The impact of both Positive WOM and Negative WOM depends on the initial level of pre-WOM probability of purchase, the strength of expression of the WOM, and whether the WOM is about the respondent's preferred brand.

3. Resistance: Consumers resist negative WOM on brands they are very likely to choose, and resist positive WOM on brands they are very unlikely to choose.
source : East, Hammond and Lomax, (2008), International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25, 215–2
Pre WOM probability of purchase : the probability of brand choice before receiving a word of mouth advice about brand
NWOM = negative Word-of-mouth (reversed signs) ; PWOM = positive Word-of-Mouth

What are the main sources of information when choosing brands ?

In a prevoius research based on 23 products and services categories, the authors show that the percentage of brand choice that related to recommendation (WOM) is 31 %. This is over twice the amount attributable to advertising (14 % ) and is also more than the amount assigned to personal search (21 %). 

Clearly, recommendation (WOM) appears to be the strongest basis of brand choice.

Source : Robert East,  Kathy Hammond, Wendy Lomax and Helen Robinson (2005), What is the Effect of a Recommendation? The Marketing Review, 5, 145-157


samedi 6 août 2011

An old viral concept : the USB Wine

Zs2 is an Europe-based Company focused on providing services and films for television production. Zs2 Creative — a subsidiary of this group— is an agency specialising in the creation of corporate communication strategies.

In 2007, Zs2 Creative produces a creative viral concept: The USB Wine. This key allows you to download wine from home and straight from the vineyard. An imaginary virtual store "The Wine Store" offers more than 1200 different wines....

Cheers !
483 169 Views on You Tube 
(Launch : November 29th, 2007)
Produced by Zs2 Creative - 

samedi 30 juillet 2011

Nostalgia, nostalgia: Diet Coke + Mentos = 1st huge e-WOM

Remember, remember...

Five years ago, in early summer, the first huge viral effet began on You Tube, thanks to Diet Coke & Mentos. A simple soda (eg. Diet Coke) combined with a candy (eg. Mentos) causes a reaction of carbonated beverage that leads to a geyser. 

According to Wikipedia: "The numerous small pores on the candy's surface catalyze the release of carbon dioxide gas from the soda, resulting in the rapid expulsion of copious amounts of foam. The bottle's narrow neck increases the pressure of the contents, causing a geyser-like effect."

Coca-Cola marketing was slow, if not reluctant, to embrace the idea that a viral effect could run with such a phenomena. But the marketers of Mentos had no such qualms. They quickly invited  two guys (Grobe and Stephen Voltz) from Eepybird.coma website devoted to "Entertainment for curious mind" — to make fountains with Mentos-Diet Coke, near the company's North American headquarters in Erlanger.

In few months, a dozen of backyard experiments became an international cultural phenomenon.  Look at what happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints! Grobe and Stephen Voltz are the guys behind this famous video.

To date, 14 051 850 people have seen this video on You Tube. Fantastic ! 

 But, it's not the world record. A Guinness World Record of 2,865 simultaneous geysers was set on October 17, 2010, in an event organized by Perfetti Van Melle (Philippines) at the SM Mall of Asia Complex, in Manila, Philippines.

vendredi 15 juillet 2011

Marketing : Five Rules for a Successful Consumer Co-creation

1. Give a real power to the consumer

With co-creation, one must give the consumer a golden opportunity to express him or herself but also to get involved with all the different steps – like imagining new communication forms or participating in the development of a prototype of a product or service. Not only the opportunity to vote for a product idea or send some tweets or "likes". Practice and knowledge of online communities facilitate and increase the possibility of consumer participation.

2. Co-creating with masses of people does not work

It is wrong to think that it is possible to co-create with any old consumer. One must use methods that allow to identify and screen a specific target of consumers – those which anticipate trends and thrive in co-creation : the lead-users. Being able to pinpoint and describe these individuals – who can foresee market needs and provide the best solutions for brands is an outstanding challenge for marketing research.

Clearly, only this small number of people are inventive and in tune with market desires. It defeats the purpose to carry out co-creation projects with masses of people who will produce varied results, leaving interesting ideas as difficult to locate as a needle in a haystack. Five groups of methods exist in order to identify lead-users.

3. Do not forget: it is the company who leads the innovation process

The main risk is in forgetting that it is above all the company – in particular the research and development (R&D) department – that is responsible for product innovation. You must not think that the consumer can replace this function. Engineers must keep the leadership of innovation. Co-creation stimulates innovation, but does not replace it.

Ideally, good co-creation is a symbiotic relationship with synergy between marketing and R&D departments and the consumer. Co-creation is the source of ideas which nourish the innovation process, which in-turn must continue to be run by the company.

4. Co-creation seen strictly as a trend to follow is inevitably going to fail

Today, some marketing managers are excited not only about the fact that consumers have ideas, but that they are also capable of co-producing, to make well-performing ads, or even develop products. However, certain companies are joining the co-creation movement simply because it is the latest managerial trend: this fad is a little scary. 

If a company is just going to take part because it is trendy, co-creation will not work. On the other hand, if there is a real approach, if there is an exchange with a group of consumers and not just any group of consumers, then it’s really a win-win situation. 

For companies, the 4 important questions to ask are: 
  • How do you choose “good” co-producers? 
  • How do you integrate co-creation into management? 
  • How could co-creation renew the value chain? 
  • How can you share value from co-creation with different stakeholders?

5. Start progressively

Companies that want to get started with co-creation have every reason to do a first test just to experiment and learn from this new strategic process. Before dedicating oneself entirely, these companies should associate themselves with experts in the field, like marketing consultants – and also turn to academic researchers who work on the subject. They can start progressively by doing a first test and then, after correcting the aim, go for the kill!

Excerpts from an Eric Vernette's interview conduct by Indre Liepuoniute and posted on July 11, 2011, e-Yeka

lundi 11 juillet 2011

Marketing : Imagine Better Product Concept with Lead-user or Emergent nature consumer ?

From the rise of "Lead-user" concept...

The Eric Von Hippel's (1986) concept of "lead-user" is clearly innovative and represents a powerful target for marketing. First of all, lead-user “live in the future” relative to representative target-market users, and so "experiencing today what representative users will experience months or years later". Consequently, idea generation studies must identify lead users and learn from them, both within and well beyond intended target markets : "Lead users found outside of a target market often encounter even more extreme conditions on a trend relevant to that target market. They may, therefore, be forced to develop solutions that are novel enough to represent “breakthroughs” when applied to the target market".

A well-known article "Performance Assessment of the Lead User Idea-Generation Process for New Product Development" from G. Lilien, P. Morrison, K. Searls, M. Sonnack and E. Von Hippel has been published in Marketing Science in 2002. It reports authors experience in 3M company. Results show that the lead-user process involves substantial profits for the company. "Annual sales of LU product ideas generated by the average LU project at 3M are conservatively projected to be $146 million after five years—more than eight times higher than forecast sales for the average contemporaneously conducted “traditional” project. Each funded LU project is projected to create a new major product line for a 3M division".

For the idenfication of a lead-user, five methods exist. Unfortunately, research can't determine if they are convergent or divergent. A great challenge for market researcher ! the birth of "Emergent Nature" Consumer

Recently, D. Hoffman, P. Kopalle and Novak T. have proposed in Journal of Marketing Research (2010) a new status for consumer : "Emergent Nature", defined as the "unique capability to imagine or envision how concepts might be developed so that they will be successful in the mainstream marketplace".

Authors distinguished the emergent nature construct from domain-specific lead user status and the dispositional innovativeness trait, as well as related personality traits and information-processing styles, such as openness to new experiences, reflection, verbal and visual processing styles, experiential and rational thinking styles, creativity, and optimism. 

How to identify them ? See our post on this topic.

The concept to improve is a SmartBox, depicted in the left drawing. Four mutually exclusive groups were created : a high emergent nature, an innovativeness, a lead user status and a control group. A total of 24 respondents completed the study. 

Respondents had to read following instructions: 
"Regardless of whether it’s laundry, dry cleaning, groceries, or most anything else, the SmartBox should make home pickup and delivery secure and convenient even if noone is home. Presuming you had a choice of many styles, sizes, and installation locations, please imagine that a device similar to this is on, by, or close to your home—or, if you live in an apartment, that a cluster of them is by your building. Suppose that FedEx, UPS, and the Postal Service as well as grocers, dry cleaners, and anyone else you want to authorize could use it to make secure pickups and deliveries. Built-inintelligence enables authorized deliveries only and sends notification to both consumer and merchant whenever a delivery is made".

631 consumers were randomly selected from a global online panel to evaluate the four concepts. The high emergent concept (M = 1.77) were the more highly rated concept, followed by the high lead user (M = 1.19), high innovativeness (M = –.61), and control group (M = –1.27) concepts.

Results suggest that consumers high in 'emergent nature' are right consumers to use.

Why ? 

These kind of consumer had specific traits and competences, like openness to new experiences, reflection, verbal and visual processing styles, experiential and rational thinking styles, creativity, and optimism. And, as a result, such people "are able to engage both in a process of successful idea generation to enhance original concepts and in logical analysis to refine and develop concepts further". In another words, their intuition and instictive vision lead them to a powerful understanding of new concepts, by visualizing latent uses through a sequence of affective and associative perceptions, and they also engage in logical and analytical efforts to evaluate and refine the concepts.

Our comments

These results are challenging. Nevertheless the measure of lead-user concept used by Hoffman and his colleagues could raise some psychometrics questions.  So, it seriously differs from Franke & al (2006) scale which is considered like the most valide.

Secondly, the smart box concepts have been elicited by only one emergent consumer group and only one lead-user group. Can we generalize these results? Clearly not. To gain a substantial external validity, one needs replications of these studies.

samedi 2 juillet 2011

Pepsi vs Coca-Cola : humor & comparative ads

Tell me, what do you prefer : Pepsi, Coca or....nothing at all ?

Launch : 2008 November - 94 849 Views on You tube(July 2nd 2011)

Launch : 2006 October  - 2 426 295 Views on You tube  (July 2nd 2011)

 Launch : 2006 October - 770 799 Views on You tube (July 2nd 2011)

jeudi 30 juin 2011

Seeding Strategies for Viral Marketing: Targeting Opinion Leader or not ?

Viral marketing

Do you remember "The Tipping Point", Malcolm Gladwell's best-seller ? I'ts about how trends work. Gladwell writes : "In a given process or system, some people matter more than others". In other words, people like opinion leaders are the "spark behind any successful trend".

So, marketers argue that targeted viral campaigning is more effective than good old mass marketing. They spend a billon dollars a year targeting precious influentials.  Are Klout or PeerIndex our future tyrants? It is clear that word of mouth (WOM) have strong influences on the success of viral marketing campaigns. But, is it useful to target key people, like opinion leaders, (ie. two-step flow model hypothesis) or not ? Does a random process works as well (network model structure)? More precisely, what is the optimal seeding strategy?

 Two-step flow model             vs          Network model of influence

Watts and Dodds (2007) tell us that people most easily influenced have the highest  impact on the information diffusion. They recommend  targeting a critical mass of influenceable people, rather than influential. Their conclusion is "Under most conditions that we consider, we find that large cascades of influence are driven not by influentials but by a critical mass of easily influenced individuals. Although our results do not exclude the possibility that influentials can be important, they suggest that the influentials hypothesis requires more careful specification and testing than it has received

A forthcoming article from Hinz and his colleagues (*) revisits this question. They compare four seeding strategies through one field experiment (a social platform like Facebook) and one real-life viral marketing campaign involving more than 200,000 customers of a mobile phone service provider. They use a sociometric method for identification of opinion leaders, that is respondents are asked to name the people they turn to for advice.

What is the best seeding strategy ?

First of all, their empirical results show that the best seeding strategies is targeting central opinion leader ("hub"). It can be up to eight times more successful than other seeding strategies.

Secondly, peripherical leaders  (« bridges ») are a powerful second best, because their influence is higher than random seeding.

What is the process behind this phenomenon ?

Why ?

Central opinion leaders constitute attractive seeding points because they are more likely to participate in viral marketing campaigns.

Moreover, these highly connected individuals also actively use their higher reach (ie. message diffusion on a higher number of person)


Central opinion leaders do not have more influence on their peers (ie. to make others to participate) than do less well-connected individuals.

Managerial implications

Marketers can improve the effectiveness of their viral campaigns by targeting central or peripherical opinion leaders (via sociometric method). Hinz et al. add : "Adding metrics related to social positions to customer relationship management databases is likely to improve targeting models substantially"..

And now our question is : how to identify an opinion leader in a social network, like Twitter or Facebook ? Klout or Peer Index metrics ? Self-designating method ? Sociometric method ? Results from Iyengar, Van den Bulte and Valente tend to promote sociometrics rather than self-assessment methods.

But no researcher has yet compared Klout or Peer index with traditional method...

(*) Oliver Hinz, Bernd Skiera, Christian Barrot & Jan U. Becker, Seeding Strategies for Viral Marketing: An Empirical Comparison, Forthcoming: Journal of Marketing, scheduled: January 2012.

vendredi 24 juin 2011

Co-creation : Work with Lead-users (*)

 Who are they ?

Lead-users are interesting for co-creation projects,  because they have two main characteristics (Von Hippel, 1986):
  • Ahead of the trend. These consumers present strong needs will become general in a marketplace months or years in the future.
  • Expect high benefits from innovating. They attempt to fill the need they experience and they can provide new product concept and design data as well.

Recent studies include new attributes to the original lead-user definition, such as technical expertise (Lüthje, 2004), community-based resources (Franke et al., 2006), early adoption of new products (Jeppesen and Laursen, 2009), opinion leadership (e.g., Ozer, 2009) and motivation (Bilgram et al., 2008). 

Taken in combination, these attributes lead to varying conceptualizations and as a result, the construct might be differently measured. In terms of psychometrics, these evolutions raise serious problems for measuring a fluctuant concept.

How to identify them ? 

Nevertheless, five methods exist. Unfortunately, research can't determine if they are convergent or divergent, but many works are in progress towards this goal.

This process relies on the ability of people with a strong interest in a search topic to know of others who are more expert than themselves (Lilien et al., 2002; Von Hippel et al., 1999). This approach offers many benefits since it allows “to reach the top of the pyramid” with a reduction of 71.6% of the search effort relative to mass screening (Von Hippel et al., 2009). Furthermore, it gives the opportunity to incorporate learning at each step of the process and to cross domain-specific boundaries (Poetz and Prügl, 2010). However, this strategy is still laborious because it seems to be efficient only when a small group of people know each other well (reputational information is needed) and have knowledge and serious interest in the topic.

Broadcast search
Firms who want to solve R&D problems externally with an open invitation to participate in providing new ideas use this solution. Broadcast search relies on a self-selection of the solvers which allows an access to (1) “core” problem domain experts and (2) experts with varying fields of expertise (Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010). Weaknesses of this method are mainly the high search costs-because of the platform for enabling innovation and the awards for the best submissions- and the reliance on the self-assessment of the solvers.

Social networks and on-line communities
One must search consumers engaged in online communities.  Many consumers could engage in co-creation activities because they want to interact with other likeminded consumers  : "Blogs, bulletin boards, and joint collaboration spaces support interaction between participants. Community functionality enables participants to work jointly on problems and create solutions incorporating more than just the summation of each individual’s ideas and knowledge"(Füller, 2010).

Because lead-users were attracted by online environments for innovative activities and knowledge sharing (Füller et al., 2009; Jeppesen and Laursen, 2009), it's possible to obserserve and analyse these communities (Kozinets, 2002). Since there is an accumulation of lead-users within these environments, there is a growing interest in applying this solution for their identification (Belz and Bombach, 2010; Bilgram et al., 2008). However, even if netnography is a promising method, it relies on the researcher’s assessment (self-interpretation). Another limitation is linked to the missing part concerning the real-life acts of these users.

Screening via self-assessment
This method relies on the test of a large sample of users who self-assess themselves via questionnaires. Those who score highest are identified as lead-users. Several researchers have developed scales to screen a large and unknown population.  This strategy is generally preferred to the others for many reasons. Screening allows (1) easy access to the sample (via face-to-face, e-mail or telephone surveys), (2) rich data collection and analysis and (3) gain time. 

(*)  Post based on : Hamdi L et Vernette E. Identifying lead-users : validity evaluation of four self assessment scales, communication at the Open and User Innovation Workshop, Vienna, July 4th-6th, 2011.

References : See our selected Lead-user Bibliogaphy