As articles on Campaign disappear after a couple of days, being only available to paid subscribers, I thought I would do a blog post about Skoda’s latest co-creation/crowdsourcing initiative in China: the www.congmingzhuyi.com platform. It’s Campaign China that reports about this initiative, orchestrated by Leo Burnett Shanghai, that aims to gather consumer ideas about making driving, both inside and outside of the vehicle, more fun.
“This digital-social co-creation platform, which everyone can participate in, allows consumers to become part of the Skoda brand” (Barbara Lamprecht, director of brand management and strategy at Skoda China)
To achieve that, Skoda wants consumer insights (not consumer solutions) about driving, relying in the wisdom of the crowd to see insights emerge. In Chinese, Congming Zhuyi (聪明主义) indeed means “Clever Together.”
Rather than asking people to come up with ideas about the new car, we ask people for inspirations (Stefan Petzinger, general manager at Leo Burnett Shanghai)
The crowd of consumers is not leveraged as solution provider, but as insights provider. To participate, Chinese consumers will have to log into the website (which allows Skoda China to collect numerous leads, by the way) and submit inspiration or ideas about different topics such as travel and romance. Inspirations can be submitted with text and images, and these can serve as a springboard for other visitors to submit their ideas, from sketchpad on the site to images and videos.
It seems to be a very similar initiative than Volkswagen China’s “The People’s Car Project,” orchestrated by BBDO Proximity, which asked consumers to contribute ideas about the car of the future taking into consideration their natural environment (nature, city, typography etc.). The platform was just about ideas, and the agency then chose a winner and realized the following video, a video that buzzed quite a lot of the web:
What is the difference with the Skoda campaign? Campaign Asia cites an anonymous source:
Volkswagen would never have a car product based on ordinary people’s ideas, “as they have more engineers than NASA” (undisclosed source)
Would Skoda do it better? Nothing is sure! Besides, they seem to forget that Skoda is a brand of the Volkswagen Group, and the engineers who work on Volkswagen cars also work on Skoda cars (an I wrong?). Also, the reference to NASA is a bit wrong because NASA is pioneering open approaches to innovation, with open innovation and crowdsourcing used for both and marketing (see the TopCoder and Tongal sponor pages, for example).
Anyway, the platform has gone live 2 days ago and it is likely that it will receive tens of thousands of contributions, as it was the case for the Volkswagen project. Given the huge pool of internet users in China, that other brands leverages in the past, large numbers of participants will certainly be announced in a couple of months, when the initiative will end.
The ultimate aim is to end up with a catalogue of clever ideas thought up by Chinese consumers that are unique to China (Stefan Petzinger, Leo Burnett Shanghai)
When will it end? We don’t know, as Campaign China states: “Leo Burnett has not set a timeframe for the campaign.” Will it be a permanent platform like Dell IdeaStorm? Maybe not, as the agency says that it “hopes the process will help to build audiences for the brand and generate thousands of ideas, which will be showcased at the Shanghai Auto Exhibition next April.“ Hope to see what will come out of it!