What Is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining ideas about your business’s products and services from a large group of people – usually your customers. Crowdsourcing often takes place online, using social media and other online communities instead of enlisting the more traditional help sources, namely employees and other vendors.
As a business, you probably recognize that your customers know as much about your brand or brands as you do. Sometimes they may actually know more than you do about them. Crowdsourcing can help you gain meaningful and true insights from the users of your brands. Your customers can help you improve your existing products and could help you create new products that they want and will buy from you. They can help you generate buzz for new products and give you insights into new campaigns and advertising.
How Businesses Are Using It
Businesses are using crowdsourcing in a variety of ways to help increase product awareness or just simply to improve customer loyalty. Crowdsourcing is a great research tool as well, and when combined with a promotion campaign can also increase awareness of your brand. By leveraging the power of already loyal customers, businesses can educate themselves on their brand and learn where they should take the brand in the future.
Lays, for example, has become a leader in crowdsourcing with many campaigns designed to really connect with their customers. Their latest campaign, “Do Us a Flavor”, allowed their customers to create custom flavored chips and submit them online. The winner will not only get a new flavor of potato chips out of it, but also a $1 million dollar prize.
Starbucks has also engaged its customers with its “create a cup” contest. Their customers are encouraged to decorate cups and submit pictures of them. The winning cup will become a limited-edition printed cup sold in Starbucks everywhere.
Doritos has created a “boldness” campaign that encourages its customers to “live boldly” and prove it by sending in pictures of how they are living bold. They create various missions that their customers must fulfil for various rewards. This simple little campaign fits nicely with their business and allows them to increase brand awareness while learning exactly who is buying their brand.
The above examples demonstrate how powerful crowdsourcing truly can be. With one campaign, companies learn so much about how consumers feel about their products and what they believe the company should be doing, while at the same time generating excitement for their brand and growing their business.
With crowdsourcing, businesses can tap into their already established networks of loyal customers and leverage the power of that group in new and fresh ways.