Crowdsourcing: How Brands Can Stay Relevant

Some of the most vital pieces for brands’ social strategy are their content creation tactics. There are a variety of tactics but one that stands out is crowdsourcing content. “What is crowdsourcing? Crowdsourcing is basically putting questions or tasks out in the open to a large group to receive their input for the sake of innovation” (Planbox, 2020). Brands turn to the public to receive new ideas or products that the brands can then implement in their marketing to hopefully find resolution or generate brand awareness. So why is this tactic so beneficial to brands if done correctly? Keep reading to find out.

Crowdsourcing.

Utilizing crowdsourcing as a strategy requires brands to turn to large audiences. Even though keeping strategies internal serves businesses well, collaborating with different minds can greatly benefit brands. Crowdsourcing presents more inclusive practices and opportunities. An opportunity such as market research is fundamental in all lifecycle phases of a product or technology. Digital crowdsourcing platforms guarantee that people are able to work on your project from any place and at any time” (Thieringer, 2019). This is a huge advantage! Two other reasons why businesses should use crowdsourcing to generate ideas is 1. You’re offered unexpected solutions to tough problems and 2. There is a greater diversity of thinking.

“The most significant benefit of using crowdsourcing is the ability to find unexpected solutions. By involving a broader group of people in solving a problem, a company can gain access to hundreds or even thousands of different approaches to problem solving” (Fournier, 2019). Previous marketing and product issues are not only presented with a number of solutions, they’re also presented with a diverse pool of solutions. “By inviting a broader group of thinkers to participate in a problem solving exercise, a company can get access to a mixture of knowledge, experience, expertise, and contexts it wouldn’t have been able to otherwise” (Fournier, 2019). Crowdsourcing can change so much for a brand in the best way possible.

Whether you’re working for a small business or a large monopoly, crowdsourcing efforts can be relevant to anyone. Because large corporations have access to large groups of people, problem solving and generating ideas is more readily available. You may be wondering, “But Alexandra, when do brands even use this?” And let me tell you, crowdsourcing content is a lot more common than you think.

A couple of companies who are killing it with crowdsourcing are PepsiCo and Amazon. For PepsiCo, it’s not out of pocket to get input from consumers. An example of this is “the time they asked customers to share their favorite new potato chip flavor for the company’s Lay’s brand. This ‘Do Us a Flavor’ campaign debuted in 2012. An astonishing 14 million submissions were raked in. The winner? Cheesy Garlic Bread. An 8% increase in sales followed this clever crowdsourcing innovation campaign” (Planbox, 2020). For Amazon, it may seem like they are a company that is less likely to use outside ideas. But that generalization is false. Amazon Studios, a segment of Amazon,” has multiple points in its production funnel that turn to the crowd, including the top end where the company allows anybody to submit concept videos and scripts” (Planbox, 2020). “Amazon Studios’ plan was to option roughly one promising project from the user-generated pool per month for $10,000, and pay the creator $55–200k if it was picked up for a full budget TV series or film. To evaluate and find the best projects, Amazon Studios’ developed crowdsourced feedback mechanisms for evaluating scripts. Creators would post their ideas for open feedback, allowing for constant iteration and improvement. Amazon Studios could then simply look at the most popular ideas for development” (Chawla, 2018). The implementation of crowdsourcing for Amazon spiraled and Amazon Preview and Pilot Season began to utilize similar strategies for the benefit of content creation.

Amazon Studios.

Above all of the specific tactics these large brands use, it’s clear that crowdsourcing works. Brands like PepsiCo and Amazon can and should “more broadly utilize crowdsourcing to stay competitive in a trend-driven market” (Johnson, 2018). Crowdsourcing can do so much good to businesses byond problem solving and incorporating diversity of thought. If businesses are running out of ideas to stay relevant, outsourcing strategy development is the way to go.

Benefits of crowdsourcing.

Graduate student at the University of Florida