One brand, different platforms (Part 1) Danone builds on geographic diversity

The world is too fast, complex and networked for any company to have all the answers inside

Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth Of Networks

It is the mantra of open innovation advocates: go find outside what you’re unable to figure out by yourself. What started in the scientific field with success stories like InnoCentive or NineSigma, now spreads to product development and marketing. Companies source more and more ideas directly from consumers, with online platforms being the only intermediary, with the logical consequence of an explosion of web-based platforms. Today, distinctive positionings emerge within this new competitive landscape (which is a situation of healthy competition, I think) and brands don’t hesitate to leverage different platforms for different purposes.

This series of posts sheds light on a couple of brands that use that platforms’ in a complementary manner. This week, I take a look at Danone, for which I identified three different co-creation platforms.



The French brand Danone is one of the largest food companies in the world, developing, producing and marketing various products: dairy products, water, baby nutrition etc. Since the company is also marketing these brands, it leverages co-creation platforms for communication-purposes. The first initiative I’m aware of is a UGC-campaign for its yoghurt brand Fantasia on eYeka, in which the brand asked French creative consumers to add fantasy to everyday situations. Among all contributions, I love this video:



On a wider scale, similar campaigns for other (Danone) brands have since been held on this platform, like one call-for-entries for Actimel or this one for a water-based drink to be launched soon. These campaigns have on thing in common: they’re launched on a global scale, which is one of the strong points of this platform: a global community of consumers.


Danone has run a similar (but local) campaign on a Dutch platform called Brandfighters, asking consumers to make a follow-up commercial for its yoghurt Danio. The 16 submitted videos are all in Dutch, as the mandatory slogan at the end proves. Looking at the dates of this contest on BrandFighters (contest ended in August 2011), one could think that this user-generated content (UGC) serves as a way to animate a community specifically set up around the Danio brand in the Netherlands. This community is presented by InSites Consulting in the following (cool) video:



That was only a guess (maybe one of the readers of the blog can confirm/infirm this idea) but I know that UGC contests are more and more used to get authentic content to animate communities (facebook pages, brand forums etc.) and to foster activity around the brand. Anyway, another local contest for Danone was aired on Zooppa, and they’re asking their Italian members to come up with a logo + name for an Italian Danone brand community dedicated to healthy eating.





I also found an initiative meant to engage consumers in the product development of Fruchtzwerge (“fruit dwarfs”), a popular German yoghurt for kids. The campaign was ran by the Munich-based consultancy Hyve, which designed a configuration tool that allowed people (adults!) to design the ideal Fruchtzwerg for kids by choosing the taste, ingredients, benefit, packaging etc. This allowed Danone to explore consumers’ needs and to map their preferences, thus pointing Danone to promising directions for new product development. The campaign was only run in German, which means that it was directed towards German-speaking consumers only (markets like Gernay, Switzerland and/or Austria).



Image via


For deeper consumer engagement and insight discovery, probably nothing is better than being out on the field and meeting people. To refine communication around the Mizone brand (energy-drink, I don’t know if it’s still run by Danone) in Indonesia, the company asked Face Group to co-create activation concepts with consumers. I have this information from their website, and unfortunatelly they don’t give a lot of details about best ideas and results, but it seems pretty clear that the local focus was central.

In a nutshell: Danone seems to leverage geographic and task-specialization of the platforms. They choose platforms according to (1) the scope of the community and (2) the degree of specialization of the agency/community.

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