Business is a Portfolio of Co-creation Platforms

Quite recently, a company called Millward Brown Optimor released its sixth BrandZ rating – Top 100 World’s Most Valued Brands. This year (2011) it was Apple that came on top of the list, beating Google. Apple’s brand value increased by 84% to $153,285 Million . But this is not entirely about financials such as sales revenue or market capitalization. For instance, Wall Mart, which has more than ten times sales revenue and more than five times the market capitalization of Amazon, but still the brand value of Amazon is more than Wallmart.

BrandZ notes that the reason for phenomenal increase in Apple’s brand value is because of its community of users. Apple understood and trusted that “consumers would discover myriad uses for the iPad and iPhone” and thanks to its “co-creation approach”, the company could generate as many as 350,000 Apple “apps” – applications developed with or by the users of iPad and iPhone.

Millward Brown Optimor says that “co-creation helped brands improve products and marketing based on comments from customers in conversations on social networking sites”. For the first time since the birth of industrialization, brand value rankings include communities in the contributors’ list along with revenue generation, market capitalization, etc. We can say that a company’s co-creation success – in terms of creating right co-creation channels, engagement rate, social media participation, etc – can become one of its assets and core activities.

How do we start co-creation. Many suggest that companies should define and profile their participants, that is fans and followers, or more specifically customers, employees, etc. However, at Younomy, this important step should wait. Our view is that the first step in any social media-enabled co-creation is co-defining the purpose. You may download a copy of Younomy’s ebook: Co-creation Hot Spots that gives an overview of what is co-defining and how companies can do it.

In our consulting business, we use P6 Framework, as an ideation platform for companies to evolve their own strategies of co-creation. The P6 Framework stands for six critical aspects of social media-enabled co-creation process. They are: purpose (co-defining the purpose of co-creation projects), participation (enhancing the social media participation of internal teams), problem (identifying problems for which solutions can be crowd sourced), prompt (designing co-creation projects such as idea contests and product development challenges), platform (creating community platforms for co-creation), and promotion (creating the right incentives for people to participate).

There cannot be a single formula for success. First of all, co-creation cannot be driven by strategies. Co-creation is coming together of the right people at the right time with the right purpose” that result in co-creation of the right value. This means, unlike sole creation or closed door creation, co-creation may not take place according to our plan, schedule. But still, planning is important. Measuring social media participation is important. Taking the first step is important.

By turning social media into a huge business prospect is not quite easy to begin with, but it sure does have great potential for the future, especially with instagram becoming the biggest bet due to its overwhelming popularity among the masses, especially the youth brigade. It is said that when you buy instagram likes (read earn), you have reached a level where you can dictate the medium on your own terms.