Can co-creation work in B2B?
Co-creation strategies in which consumers provide product ideas, services, reviews and other benefits to each other have been well publicised and are behind the success of digital companies such as giffgaff, eBay, Etsy and Zipcar, and not-so-new companies like Lego.
Co-creation is innovative, engaging and fun for consumers and valuable for companies. By contrast most B2B firms remain entrenched in contractual agreements and zero-sum games that seem anything but co-creative. As a B2B marketer, you may wonder whether the benefits of co-creation can also be reaped in a B2B context.
We think they can. Here’s an example: when B2B companies are drawn to each other to build data-driven strategies, the question is not “can co-creation work?” but “how do we make it work?” In the case of a foodservice manufacturer where it was clear that data had to be shared up and down the value chain, co-creation was the only way to go in order for a new data strategy to succeed and guarantee sustainable superior performance for all.
But co-creation demands more than contractual commitments: unless you share an intention to reach the same goal together, embarking on a co-creation endeavour can be fraught with risk. Engaging in productive conversations in which you explore your interdependence is the first step for you and your value chain partners looking to build a true ecosystem based on co-creation. Soon commitment will drive operational developments: processes are drawn up, staff recruited, contracts negotiated, platforms designed, metrics selected, reward systems implemented, corporate strategic plans elaborated. The rewards can be as enticing as in B2C, but require the foresight to see beyond traditional corporate boundaries, and the audacity to share with those you naturally want to keep at a distance.
Register below to download the full report, written by Marie Taillard, professor of marketing, and Jerome Couturier, professor of strategy and management, at ESCP Europe.
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