Customer integration and alignment can lead to transformation that exceeds your expectations. The more your customers realize you are committed to listening and delivering their needs and requests, the more they want to be involved and the more they value your brand.
Today, customers have more know-how and request simple solutions more often. It is difficult for companies that operate isolated R&D departments to meet these innovative needs. It is the customer who is the one who will buy the product later and who knows best about what he wants, so it is only right that customers are part of a team that develops such ideas into products. Read on to find out how you can use co-creation to involve your customers in your innovative process.
Although advertising is the main way in which brands acquire buyers, sometimes customers become real fans of brands and they want to be part of the brand. Many customers love the topic of the brand itself, its futures, and the ability to be able to influence future change. Look at Lego, for example. Lego works with its followers with Lego Ideas. Any customer who has an idea can promote it to the community. If a submission is supported by over 10,000 members of the community, the idea is then produced and marketed once an internal examination takes place.
Another form of innovative customer community put to work by companies is a customer advisory council (a stiffer form of customer communities). Here a company selects customers to be in a community. These customers work to seek improvements and company change processes.
Innovation contests are a great way to use customer inclinations for your brand’s purposes. You can advertise in an innovation contest and your company will benefit twofold. Not only will you be generating brand awareness but you may also benefit from the following:
- New ideas submitted will show you where your customers are and where you can meet them.
- Your customers will generate content that you can distribute in the media, enabling you to position your company as a brand that truly cares about its customers and their problems.
- Innovation contests strengthen customer loyalty, giving them the opportunity to present their ideas publicly, which is a positive experience for all involved.
- You are also able to strengthen your innovation culture internally. Some employees feel challenged by external “competition” and will work harder to be the ones to problem solve.
Too many companies fail to regard the customer as the most important factor. Thankfully, today we are able to address this problem more readily due to digitalization. We no longer have to go door to door or mail out letters to hear back from our clients. Social media has opened the doors widely for us in this area. Any company who wants to be successful has no choice but to take customers more seriously and enabling them to be active parts of your company’s innovation processes.