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Crowdsourcing As A Way to Get Creative Ideas and Content – #SEMPL15

5 November 2013

Click to see article (PDF)Any Slovenian-speaking readers of this blog? If yes, the click on the image left to read “Množičenje kot način pridobivanja kreativnih idej in vsebin,” which could be translated into “Crowdsourcing as a way to get creative ideas and content,” published in the Slovenian Marketing Magazin before SEMPL15, where I’ll speak about crowdsourcing in video advertising at the end of this month.

Simona Kruhar Gaberšček told me that crowdsourcing doesn’t have a translation in Slovenian, and that they chose to call it množičenje, a word that is almost unknown by Google Search, even though Google Translate tells me it’s close to the Slovenian for Dowel. Anyway. For those of you who don’t talk Slovenian, here’s the translation of the interview (links have been added by myself).

Yannig Roth, Research Fellow at eYeka, an online co-creating platform, which connects creatives with companies and brands, is certain that crowdsourcing will have a big role in all creative disciplines, from design and advertising to brand positioning. He will talk about this trend at forthcoming conference SEMPL.

Yannig Roth is a young French researcher, most interested in contemporary phenomena in marketing and innovation, such as crowsourcing and co-creation. He is also responsible for research and communication at creative online community eYeka, which enables brands and their agencies to get relevant ideas and content with a help of 250.000 talented creative individuals from 150 countries. Roth thinks that crowdsourcing, which is getting mainstream in innovation and marketing departments, will soon become an integral part of companies’ marketing strategies. Among its benefits he underlines the speed of getting fresh ideas, their variety and global perspective. He will speak about the advantages of creative online communities at this year’s SEMPL conference, held on 28th and 29th of November in Portorož, Slovenia.

Yannig Roth is a PhD student at Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Reserach Fellow at creative online community eYeka, which helps brands solve business problems using crowdsourcing. His main research interest are creativity, crowdsourcing and co-creating, and in broader terms marketing, innovation and design.

You are leading research and communication at eYeka, the co-creation community. What are its benefits for the creatives as well as for the brands? Do you have any information how many creative ideas that people contributed the brands actually realized?

For creatives, the benefits on participating in creative crowdsourcing contests are manyfold: they get to express their creativity on real-world business problems, they beef up their portfolios, they can meet other fellow creatives and/or brand managers and, of course, they can earn some money.

I’m willingly putting this last because money is not a prime motivator for participants, it’s always a “nice-to-have” if their idea is rewarded… Which does not mean that you can crowdsource ideas or content for free! Not offering prizes is sending a wrong message, especially when a big brand or a major company is behind the contest. There should be a fair amount of prizes, but the contest should be open and challenging enough for people to get something out of their participation, even if they don’t win. For the brands, crowdsourcing ideas and content allows them to get lots of ideas or content in a fast and cost-effective manner. By running creative contests, brands can get creatives from across the globe to work on their very business problem, and get authentic and diverse solutions to these issues, which has a lot of value for them.

But beware, crowdsourcing in innovation and marketing is not a substitute for existing methods, it just opens new possibilities. For innovation, for example, companies still have to select the best ideas bast on their knowledge of the market and their technical capabilities, they have to test and refine the ideas, find a way to market them etc. In 1963, HBS Professor Theodore Levitt wrote an article called “Creativity is no enough” where he criticizes people who glorify creativity. Innovation is the succesfull implementation of creativity, and it’s the same for crowdsourcing: crowdsourced innovation is the succesfull implementation of crowdsourced creativity, ideation alone is not enough. As to implementation by brands, this is difficult to say, simply because we’re still in an early phase of crowdsourcing and most of the information relates to individual cases, not overviews that would represent on a broader scale. I’d love to give an answer to that one, but I’m afraid it’s still too soon to be able to tell.

Do you think that companies gain more creative ideas with the help of such co-creation communities as they would if they hire a creative agency (or seek for them in-house)? Why?

Certainly. You get a much broader and more diverse set of ideas when you crowdsource than when you outsource to an agency, which is the traditional way of doing things. “When we do this well, we get films from over 100 countries. It’s amazing how much we learn about the brand” Paul Edwards, GM’s executive director of global marketing strategy recently said about a currently running contest for the Chevrolet brand. However, these ideas can be of very high variation in terms of quality, brand relevance or richness.

A recent study, which has not been published in a journal but has been presented in several innovation conferences, showed that crowdsourcing generates many ideas, much faster than a design school or a design consultancy. However, the ideas presented by professionals or students were more researched, easier to implement and generated more learning effects for the company. So it really depends what your looking for; crowdsourcing is good to have many different choices.

What are brands usually searching for when using the help of eYeka community – new logo, slogans, headlines, packaging…?

Brands come for a variety of things, all related to marketing and innovation in a way. Some are looking for new product/service ideas (What innovative online cooking service can I offer?), some are looking for designs (How do I redesign my packaging to make it more attractive to young and active women?), some are looking for inspiration to refine their brand proposition (How should I position my new drink to engage teens?) and others need creative content to feed their social content strategies (Create videos that show what you can do with Samsung’s S-Pen!).

You see that it covers a variety of topics that are all related to companies’ needs to be faster and more relevant in their offering. The particularity of eYeka is that it’s the only creative crowdsourcing platform to offer such a broad crowdsourcing offer (many competitors are specialized in ideas only, or videos only) and to leverage a global community. This allows brands to leverage creative crowdsourcing for many subjects, on a global scale, in a matter of weeks.

One of the statement in eYeka website says that it “guarantees the ROI of your co-creation project”. Can you explain how and why can companies profit from co-creation projects?

We found that after the early hype, as crowdsourcing is getting mainstream in innovation and marketing departments, companies are increasingly looking to prove its ROI. One of the reasons is that managers are now asked to use crowdsourcing strategically by the top management (before it was often a gimmick) and this strategic use of crowdsourcing logically comes with a desire to prove its efficiency. We found out that the ROI can take different forms.

The paper that I previously talked about describes the example of a French telco provider, SFR, who was looking to get concepts of “edutainment” to target young audiences. By crowdsourcing the ideas, they got the same level of ideas in 3 weeks than with the design school or the design consultancy, which took several months; so speed is one way to prove the ROI of crowdsourcing. On the other end of the process, I mean advertising, we found that videos created by eYeka’s talented community members had much higher CTRs and VTRs than those created by an agency, which improved the brand’s return-on-media-investment significantly. We’ll need to get more of these examples in the future, because this shows that creative crowdsourcing is not only interesting to try, but also useful to implement as a business practice.

In your opinion, is the crowdsourcing the future of marketing and innovation or is it just a tool that the companies should use only occasionally?

It’s definitely a tool, but a tool that will be part of the future. I mean, crowdsourcing won’t replace the need for market research to source insights, nor the designers who work in internal product development teams, nor will it supplement advertising agencies that are so important to define brand strategies. However, all these people will have to integrate crowdsourcing in their offer as it has many advantages. The mere fact that crowdsourcing platforms’ clients are the world’s most recognized brands will help shape this trend. Whether it is for design, positioning, advertising or any other discipline in which creativity is needed, crowdsourcing will continue playing a role.

Click to access the the Sempl15 website

Added on November 5th:

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