Co-creation means exactly what it says: creating something of value in cooperation with others. In business, the term co-creation is used to create value in cooperation with stakeholders. This co-creation of value can have two types of results:
– A physical result, such as an organization co-creating a fashion line with a celebrity
– A psychological result, such as employees and customers co-creating the atmosphere at Starbucks or another coffee shop.
For both types of co-creation results, the quality of the result depends on meaningful dialogue and interaction between the company and its stakeholders.
Other good examples of co-creation with a physical result include Build-a-bear, where customers create their own toy, or Trip Advisor, where vacation-goer ratings make up the majority of the site.
Recalling the definition of brand from the first post, the co-creation of brands always has a psychological result, even if the product was the result of co-creation (for example, if you built your own toy with materials purchased from the company). As a result of your experiences with a brand, you make associations and give meaning to the brand, that is, you co-create the meaning and value of the brand. The brand does not exist without people and human interaction, since it only exists in the minds of people.
To make it a bit more accessible, here are some examples of instances where you might be psychologically co-creating the brand:
– A friend tells you about her great experience with a company, highlighting the great service and making you associate the brand with great service.
– As a child you ate a specific brand of sweets, when you were rewarded or on special occasions. As an adult, you associate eating that brand of candy with rewards, special occasions, and a special treat.
– You read a negative review about a poor quality product, from your favorite blogger. The review makes you think twice before buying that product, and you associate the brand with poor quality.
– You see a funny ad on TV for a brand you don’t know. The ad makes you associate the brand with fun, joy, and humor.
The examples above have been exaggerated, but think about the brands you like and dislike and what meaning you give to these brands. Seeing a funny ad on TV doesn’t necessarily make you associate the brand with fun, especially if you don’t like the brand in the first place.