Why Co-Creation is the future of branding
Description: Brands can no longer be defined solely by organizations – rather they are built out of a network of physical and digital relationships. This suggests that managers are no longer “brand guardians”, who can rigidly try to keep and preserve the purity of the brand identity, but are instead “conductors”, who integrate multiple stakeholder perspectives and reconcile diverse brand meanings. In this sense, co-creation is the future of branding. However, even if most managers recognize this, very few brands have embraced co-creation from a strategic perspective. Most of them use co-creation tactically, as an additional tool within their portfolio of qualitative and quantitative research methods to validate ideas that have already been conceived from inside the company. Nevertheless, some brands better understand the current competitive environment and have embraced a much more strategic view of co-creation. Managers of these brands use co-creation as a strategic resource to build competitive advantage. Customers are not seen just as validators of preconceived ideas, but also as creators. However, important reservations about sharing key information with the outside remain. Traditional cultures tend to be very guarded regarding their internal knowledge, and are wary of sharing it with outsiders. This means that managers interested in developing a strategic approach have to understand that they are essentially managing cultural change and that they need to build a much more open and participatory culture if they are to reap the full potential of co-creation.
Based on: Ind, N.; Iglesias, O.; Markovic, S. (2017): The co-creation continuum: from tactical market research tool to strategic collaborative innovation method. Journal of Brand Management, 24(4), 310-321.
Oriol Iglesias is an Associate Professor at the Marketing Department, ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. His research on brand management and co-creation has been published in journals such as California Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research and European Journal of Marketing. He has consulted and/or developed in company training for leading global brands such as Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nestlé, Sara Lee, PwC, SAP, Accenture and Orange. Before joining academia he worked first at the Marketing Department at Xerox, then as a consultant and finally he became an entrepreneur, founding 3 companies that he managed for an 8 years period until he completed his PhD and switched professional life.
Nicholas Ind is a Professor at Kristiania University College, Oslo. Previously he ran Icon Medialab’s brand consultancy arm in Sweden. Before he joined Icon, Nicholas was a partner in a branding consultancy and a director of a design group. Nicholas is the author of a number of research articles and twelve books including The Corporate Image, The Corporate Brand, Living the Brand and Brand Desire. He is the editor three books: Beyond Branding, Brands with a Conscience and Branding Inside Out. His books have been published in seven different languages. Nicholas has a PhD from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. He is a former Director of the Design Business Association (UK), sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Brand Management and Journal of Product and Brand Management and is Associate Editor of European Business Review. Nicholas is a Visiting Professor at Edinburgh Napier University and ESADE.
Stefan Markovic is an Associate Professor at the Department of Marketing at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). In addition, he is Chair of the Marketing Ethics Research Cluster, Co-chair of the Brand Meaning Research Cluster, and a Member of the Consumer Research Cluster at CBS. Apart from his involvement at CBS, Stefan is also an Associate Editor of Business Ethics: A European Review, and Co-chair of the permanent Special Interest Group on Branding at the European Marketing Academy Conference (EMAC). His research lies at various intersections between Brand Management, Innovation, and Ethics/CSR. He has published several articles in renowned international academic journals, including Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Brand Management, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.