Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Unilever Embraces Co-Creation

Crowdsourcing and open innovation initially started out as a lifeline for those small and medium enterprises, as well as aspiring individuals, looking to make their mark in their chosen field. From design to film making and even collaborative entrepreneurial ventures, crowdsourcing was the new kid on the block for the new kids on the block. Soon however, the big  names sat up and took notice. Aside from the cost advantage, crowdsourcing offered big brand names the opportunity to connect directly with their market demographics. One of the first of these multi-nationals to enter the foray of crowdsourcing was Unilever, behind such well known names as Ben and Jerry's ice cream, CiF cleaning liquid and the popular meaty snack Pepperami. Now Unilever are looking to enter another field of crowdsourcing, co-creation and from the 1st June 2013, began a partnership with eYeka, one of its leading service providers

In 2010 Unilever caused an uproar in the advertising industry by severing its long term relationship with agency Lowe and Partners. Instead of the traditional form of devising an advertising campaign, Unilever opted to run a crowdsourcing competition in search for a new campaign. The competition attracted over 1200 entries and netted its winners a $10,000 cash prize. The result was a successful and innovative campaign that reduced Unilever's costs by nearly 60% of its regular marketing budget. Crowdsourcing became the staple means by which Unilever would go on to market their products by connecting directly with potential customers, since those in the crowd who contribute ideas are also consumers. 

Clearly seeing the wisdom in using the crowd to source campaign ideas, Unilever would do the same with open innovation to source product ideas. Unilever launched an open innovation hub through which they sought the help of the crowd to innovate their existing products as well as search for new ones but focusing more on the environment, health and hygiene. Unilever are no strangers to co-creation having employed eYeka, the leading provider of co-creation services, working for an assortment of Unilever brands including Lux, Lipton, and Cornetto. 
The Unilever and eYeka partnership is a world-first because of its strategic nature and ambition. This is a strong signal that confirms that crowdsourcing is being recognised as a business accelerator. We have long advocated turning to consumers for ideas and content with consumers as a source of competitive advantage so we are thrilled to partner with Unilever to bring this approach to a new scale. - François Pétavy, Chief Executive Officer, eYeka
This new partnership will see Unilever implement co-creation on a much bigger scale, equal to that of previous crowdsourcing ventures. Since the partnership has gone live, eYeka's community of 250,000 members will not just be working on one or two products but generating innovative ideas across the company's entire brand spectrum covering international markets in Asia Pacific, South Africa and the Middle East. By tapping into eYeka's vast community resource, Unilever is looking for relevant and creative campaigns accelerated for a global market.

Image Credit; The HUB Network 

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