Too many cooks spoil the broth is an idiom that refuses to exist in the marketing arena. Precisely the extraction of ideas from mass community is what we are witnessing these days all over the globe and more recently it has also arrived to the local marketing scene. Local marketers are often criticized for lack of creativity in terms of strategies and campaigns but lately, though the efforts are concentrated with few big names, the players in the domestic market seems to be venturing into new and improved means of marketing with crowd sourcing being the catalyst of change.
Conventionally crowd sourcing is an act of taking a job traditionally done by a designated employee and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally a large group through an open call, as per Jeff Howe who coined the term back in 2006.Intially crowd sourcing involved internet and was related to innovation .Earliest examples if this phenomenon included Wikipedia and later went on to be adapted by Starbucks with My Starbucks Idea in 2008 and Digg also being a popular example.
A more recent example would be the openly criticized disastrous attempt of Gap to crowd source when it decided to pitch an open call to consumers to pool in new logo designs and went as far as to change it to a new one but later withdrew its decision but nonetheless this did create sufficient buzz for the brand.
If brands pay adequate attention to some of the crowd source ideas they can tap in to means of attaining first hand market research that is cheaper and indicative of the consumers purchase patters plus the whole activity that is the forefront of crowd sourcing may develop a sense of brand ownership encouraging brand-consumer engagement branding especially in local domain but what’s essential for any operative taking up crowd sourcing is that its outsourced to managed and focused crowds exposed to obvious and realistic constraints.
The form of crowd sourcing that we are seeing in Pakistan is probably not as acute as in the international markets but rather an attempt to seek insight in to consumer minds, who through crowd sourcing strategies are becoming direct participants in driving the brand according to local preferences. A couple of recent examples include events like P&G university challenge which includes a business plan competition in which participants are assigned different brands existing under the P&G umbrella and are asked to create comprehensive strategies to establish, market and distribute the product with the given constraints. While Abbott went ahead to extract ideas for Mospel through a competition that had two contending grounds, reformulating or extension to the brand and a campaign to launch the idea.
But crowd sourcing locally is not only limited to fulfill marketing ideas but have been extended accomplish objectives of HR departments in some cases. Lipton Talent Hunt held in 2010 was one of its kind contest that invited participants to develop a campaign to promote the brand primarily through BTL and social media. The objective of this attempt by Lipton was not only to use collective intelligence to pick up market touch points but also identify management trainees for their organization who are specifically interested in brand management. The same tactic was also observed back in 2009 when Telenor launched a similar project based competition for its On- campus Management trainees program.
The initiatives locally might not out rightly match the true essence of crowd sourcing happening globally but contain hints of inspiration from this marketing tactic and might in the near future transform completely to represent and instigate directives towards outright crowd sourcing but is most likely to be limited to groups with a certain level of exposure.