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The Role of Co-creation in Product Innovation and Marketing

More and more companies embrace consumers as ‘co-creation’ partners in their innovation practices. Consumers, traditionally considered as value exchangers or extractors, are now considered a source of value creation and competitive advantage. Co-creative consumers collaborate with companies in order to empower themselves, exert influence, gain recognition and enjoy themselves. They are eager to voice their opinions about products and brands and are important influencers that can shape brand conversations worldwide. Remarkably, little is known about how co-creation practices influence consumers who are not directly involved in the co-creation process. It is unclear if co-creation influences their perceptions of a brand or a product in any way. It’s exactly this topic that Joyce van Dijk MSc is addressing in the master thesis (cum laude graduation) she conducted with the support of InSites Consulting. Find the results in the slidedeck below!

The Role Of Co-creation in Product Innovation and Marketing

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The impact on this consumer perception is meaningful to find out as this group concerns the vast majority of consumers, considering that only a small percentage of consumers actively co-create. Perceptions are important drivers of consumer behaviour and influence brand associations and relations, Joyce is claiming in the abstract of her thesis. This study therefore explores co-creation effects on consumer perceptions by finding answers to the following sub questions:

  • Are co-created brands perceived as more authentic and sincere?
  • Does co-creation affect the extent to which consumers relate to brands?
  • Does co-creation strengthen brand trust and commitment? Do consumers evaluate co-created products differently than non co-created products?
  • Does co-creation influence behavioural intentions toward a product?
  • Does showing evidence of the co-creation enhance effects on product and brand perceptions?
  • Do product/ brand involvement and familiarity moderate the effects of co-creation on product and brand perceptions

Results and conclusion

Joyce has found that awareness of co-creation indeed positively influences brand and product perceptions. Knowing that brands collaborated with consumers in new product development, especially enhanced respondents’ brand perceptions, relational aspects and brand partnership evaluations. This study herewith shows that co-creation changes how a brand is experienced and the value it provides for consumers. Evaluations with a focus on the product, showed to be less responsive to co-creation. Nevertheless, co-created products are considered significantly more attractive, innovative, unique and better suited to needs, compared to the same product that is presented as non co-created. Product evaluations are thus also influenced by associations and beliefs, besides purely product attributes and quality.

Providing visual proof to support the co-creation message results in a stronger co-creation effect for the well-known brand X, but only on the brand aspects ‘real/authentic’, ‘original’, ‘cheerful’, ‘accessible’, and product aspect ‘uniqueness’. Even though this is a small effect in this study, it shows the added value of elaborating on the co-creation further than merely providing textual information.

There was no significant interaction effect between treatments (brand x co-creation), so co-creation affected both brands the same way. The well-known brand X scored higher on all brand-related constructs. The brand treatment did not significantly influence the scores on the constructs of product evaluation, behavioural intentions, and price level.

This study shows that co-creating with consumers is not only useful as an innovation practice, but also as a strategic method to strengthen brand value and positively influence product perceptions. On behalf of InSites Consulting, I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Joyce with this interesting research!

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