Let’s face it: customers know what they want and when they want it. But… you’re not a mind reader, so how will you be able to give your customers exactly what they want when they want it? Have you ever thought of asking them? Companies are using techniques, like crowdsourcing, to interact with their customers to gain insight into what customers want in order to develop new product ideas, product features and much, much more. The information you gain from your crowd can probably even impact your company’s ability to remain a competing force within your industry. When you give customers the opportunity to have a say, it makes it easier for you to consistently hit home runs with your crowd when you launch new products and more.
There’s more to a company than the products it produces. A recent Co.Exist article, “The Brands That Survive Will Be The Brands That Make Life Better,” by Morgan Clendaniel talks about meaningful brands and how impacting a customer’s life is becoming an increasingly important for brand survival:
The most tangible outcome of this is that the Meaningful Brands survey—which spoke to 50,000 consumers in France, Spain, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan, India, and the U.S.—found that only 20% of the brands they interact with have a positive impact on their lives. And they feel that 70% of brands could disappear entirely without them noticing.
What’s the trick to making a brand meaningful? Focus on outcomes, not outputs. The criteria, says Haque, are simple: “Did this brand make you fitter, wiser, smarter, closer? Did it improve your personal outcomes? Did it improve your community outcomes? Did it pollute the environment? We’re trying to get beyond “did this company make a slightly better product” to the more resonant, meaningful question: Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting, and positive way?”
The main takeaway from the article is that people are looking for companies – and products – that impact their lives. The questions listed in the above quote need to be addressed in order to achieve success in today’s business world.
Crowdsourcing Can Help
People are looking for more than just “stuff”, and I think that crowdsourcing can help. Crowdsourcing allows you to go straight to the source to find out what your customers are looking for from your company. Crowdsourcing allows you to gather answers to the questions above and continually improve products so that they continue remain meaningful to your customers.
In the article, the author uses the example of Nike+ to demonstrate how a company goes beyond providing a product, to making an impact:
Haique cites Nike+ as a prime example. “Instead of putting up another campaign of billboards with celebrities saying ‘Buy our shoes, they’ll turn you into a master runner,’ Nike+ actually helps makes you a better runner. That’s a constructive way to build a meaningful brand.”
Nike saw an opportunity to offer more than just shoes to their customers. For people who wanted to start running to get into shape, Nike had the shoes they needed, but they also had a training tool to help customers set and achieve goals. Can you think outside of the box to figure out how to have more of an impact on the lives of your customers? Would you consider using crowdsourcing to ignite a conversation with your crowd about what they are looking for from your brand?