How to engage users in co-creation

This post is sponsored by Beknown.

In a time where almost everyone is developing a project, and start-ups are a dime a dozen, what does it take to stand out from the crowd? Sure, anyone can garner funds for a big marketing budget, or tap into a web of contacts and connections to help sell and spread the word, but for a product to really thrive among users and consumers, we have to actually stop and listen to them.

Take LEGO for example. In the face of a tough financial situation in the early 2000s (think brand dilution and a lack of engagement with customers), the company took a step back and let its fans take charge in an open-source product development approach.

With the creation of LEGO Ideas, a crowdsourcing platform for LEGO’s customers, LEGO got its fans to start posting their proposed ideas for new LEGO products and voting for their favourites. In return, designs that received more than 10,000 votes would be considered for production, and if produced for sale, the proposer of the playset would receive 1% of new sales. 

This proved beneficial to both LEGO and its consumers – the brand gained a new-found relevance among customers, while fans got to see some of their ideas come to fruition.

This is the beauty of engaging customers in co-creation. Of course, co-creation can be tedious and it doesn’t work in every situation. It requires a lot of time, effort and commitment before results surface, and it can be intimidating to dive into head first. But if done successfully, it can help sustain and even grow brands amid the unpredictable sea of change.

So where do we start?

The easiest way is to begin by identifying a problem or a lack in society. It could be a big, complex issue such as climate change, or a relatively smaller, more straightforward one such as the accessibility of a particular device. For us at Beknown, we wanted to explore how we could turn mere opinions into concrete change.

Next, we should reach out to the communities that we aim to help, or that would benefit from our product or service – basically, crowdsource. What we want to do is to really listen to and hear from these communities, and to shape our products and services according to their wants and needs.

One of the most popular means of crowdsourcing is through a simple survey. Google Forms, Survey Monkey, Typeform, and OPPi are but some of the many platforms available online that can help to facilitate and gather the opinions of consumers. While each of these platforms has its own limitations, they are also distinct in meeting various needs.

Free-to-use with a simple interface, Google Forms is the ideal platform for fuss-free, one-off surveys for organisations that don’t require data analytics. For brands that do require basic analytics, but are on a tighter budget, Survey Monkey is a good option. 

For brands that prioritise aesthetics and ease of use, Typeform is the go-to platform. But for organisations that are looking for robust, real-time data analytics and a classic, clean interface, OPPi is the best choice – it sifts out common interests and opinions within a given community or pool of consumers, and is the only platform that adopts a circular design where user inputs are fed back immediately into the analytics system.

So now that you’ve heard from your consumers, it’s time to get organised with their feedback and pick out the ones that can help to direct the most meaningful change in your product or service. 

Sometimes, this involves reaching out to relevant authorities or organisations through collaborations. Other times, this could involve further internal conceptualisations of possible solutions and improvements. Either way, the implementation of feedback from users is a crucial part in the developmental process, as this could determine how well or poorly received a product or service will be in the market.

We know first-hand how difficult this can be, especially with the added stress of having to sell your product and create a reputation for it in the digital sphere. In times like these, there’s no shame in seeking help. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough work collectively to find the best solutions together.

Beknown offers exclusive user-research and communications strategy. We help connect you with your users and consumers to find out how your product can meet their needs, and with their opinions, we help you formulate solutions that will benefit both your brand and your consumers. In a world full of options, be known for being the best.