4 Times Big Business Used Crowd Wisdom

Here at Crowdholding we believe in the potential still to come from the Power of the Crowd (aka Crowd Wisdom or Crowd Intelligence).

Crowd Wisdom and Crowdsoucing

Seeking wisdom from the crowd is a sub-category of Crowdsourcing. The term “Crowdsourcing” has been around for over a decade, originally coined in 2006 by Wired writer Jeff Howe. He defined it as the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people. In other words, businesses tap into the “Power of the Crowd” rather than carrying out tasks themselves.

Crowdsourcing is frequently lumped into conversation alongside its partner in crime — crowdfunding. Often used interchangeably, these terms do have different meanings. Crowdsourcing represents the specific tool, talent or knowledge you need to complete a task, crowdfunding only concerns the capital that needs to be raised to accomplish a task / allow a product to be produced.

Although Crowdsourcing is still not a household term, there are numerous companies who have used to superbly to improve their brand, receive innovative feedback, cut marketing boost and boost sales. This article will focus on 4 times large businesses implemented crowdsourcing to create extremely successful campaigns.

Doritos — Crash the SuperBowl ad campaign

One of the first large companies to use the “Power of the Crowd” was Frito-Lays. The Crash the Super Bowl contest was an annual online commercial competition where consumers were invited to create their own Doritos ads and each year, at least one fan-made commercial was guaranteed to air during the Super Bowl. In later editions of the contest, Doritos offered bonus prizes ranging from $400,000 to $1,000,000. Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest were held between 2006 and 2016 and, during that time, fans submitted more than 36,000 entries.

In the first year of the contest according to the IPRA, the competition led to a 12% increase in sales of PepsiCo in January, 2007 and nearly one million people visited the Crash The Super Bowl website to view the submissions and vote for the finalists. Throughout the years, their adverts consistently were in the top 10 adverts of the year and allowed Doritos not only to increase profits, gain awareness through crowdsourced ads, but it created an approachable, relatable brand for Doritos.

Walkers / Lays — Do us a Flavour campaign

In 2008, Walkers (Lays in the rest of the world) crisps renewed customers interest in new flavours by revamping its traditional brand development process and getting consumers deeply involved in product development. The campaign was a huge success with over 1 million flavour suggestions, 4.3 million visits to the walkers.co.uk site (with four to nine minutes spent on site) and saw year on year sales growth increase by 68%. Building on this, Walkers decided to re-launch the campaign in 2014 with the eventual winner, winning a £1 million cash prize.

The success of this campaign has seen other companies adopt it as well as PepsiCo using the same competition rolled out in other countries.

Starbucks — White cup contest / My Starbucks idea

Starbucks is a innovative company that has used Crowdsourcing effectively and on numerous occasions. The two times that stand out are their White Cup Contest back in 2014 and their “My Starbucks Idea”

Baristas started noticing that Starbucks’ signature white cups were serving as blank canvases for designers and artists to scribble some sketches, so the idea to start a campaign around these simple designs was born. And in the spring of 2014, the White Cup Contest was born.

Customers were encouraged to decorate their Starbucks cup with an original design, take a photo, and submit it on social media with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. Over the course of a few months, nearly 4,000 unique submissions were received. The winning design was submitted by Pittsburgh art student Brita Lynn Thompson, and her image was then used on the limited edition reusable cup for 2014. This was a genius move, because Starbucks created a reusable cup that was available for purchase to their customers. As an incentive to reduce waste, the customers received a 10 cent discount each time you used the cup. This is all a part of the company’s continued efforts to encourage customers to go green and prioritize environmentally-friendly products, and it was a great way to integrate itself in the community by shining the light on new artists.

Howard Schultz launched “My Starbucks Idea” back in 2008 to help increase the company’s focus on the customer and what they want. The company strives to emulate the coffee shop barista experience online by engaging with customers and building relationships. On My Starbucks Idea, Starbucks gives customers insight into what the company is doing and makes them feel like an insider. My Starbucks Idea has had tremendous success and has been the source of ideas such as Cake Pops, Hazelnut Macchiato, and free Wi-Fi to name a few. At the five-year anniversary of the site launch (2013), My Starbucks Idea had generated more than 150,000 ideas and the company had implemented 277 of those ideas. To this day, you can submit your idea to Starbucks!

LEGO crowdsourcing

Lego — LEGO Ideas

LEGO has created an online community of nearly one million members and is using crowdsourcing both to select new product ideas and provide their most loyal supporters an outlet to share their creations.

In recent years the company launched its Lego Ideas Platform which is giving its biggest fans a say in the future of their play. The Ideas Platform allows users to join an online community of nearly one million fans. After becoming a member of the community, users can submit their own ideas. They can also choose to vote for ideas that have been posted by other community members. If an idea receives over 10,000 supporters, it is assessed by the Lego Review Board and may be produced into a real Lego set to be sold to the public.

Lego incentives participation by giving the creator 1% of the royalties on worldwide sales of their design. In addition to being identified in the set materials as the product’s creator. The LEGO Group achieved nearly $6B of revenue in 2017 (up nearly 40% since 2013), showing that Crowdsourcing can reignite a love for a brand as the consumer makes it his / her own.

Crowdsourcing has huge potential, not just for large corporations, but for new innovative startups that have the ability to pivot and match niches for rapid growth. We are looking to be the innovation, co-creation platform for all startups to grow, flourish and involve the crowd. We are stronger in numbers.

You can see how Crowdholding has impacted startups by reading our Community Reports and our Case Studies.

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