Most people get a kick out of “liking” a friends’ updated Facebook status or a picture from their weekend adventures. The moment someone announces a major life update, “friends” emerge from the wood work and click the like button. We have also entered a world where people can “like” almost anything, including various companies and receive updates as new products and information becomes available. This is where French car maker, Citroen upped the ante.
Here’s what they’re doing:
In April 2012 the Citroen C1 Connexion Facebook app was launched where fans could log in and customize the new vehicle. Citroen didn’t let them go too crazy, with just the exterior colour, the interior accents, number of doors, and equipment being options fans could choose from. However, with the colour options being mixed and matched and about 24 000 people taking part in the development, you could have probably created one interesting ride.
This was a very innovative opportunity for both parties, Citroen and Facebook. In an interview Melina Kacherou-Carage, head of digital marketing at Citroën UK, said: “This is a really exciting project for Citroën, collaborating with Facebook to use the platform in this way. With a touch of ‘Créative Technologie’, we are taking the choices of many to create a car for everyone. This is crowdsourcing in action. The New C1 Connexion will be a car created for the Facebook generation, by the Facebook generation.” Well, at least 24 000 Facebook users from the UK.
Facebook shared those sentiments, but took the opportunity to let other companies know they are ready and waiting for another crowdsourcing venture soon. Stephen Haines, UK commercial director at Facebook, added: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Citroën on this project. With the C1 Connexion, Citroën is integrating the interactions and the stories people have with the brand into the products they create. They’ve built the experience around people, so their fans can have a personal experience through the app and share that with their friends. Facebook shouldn’t just be bolted on to an existing campaign, it should be an integral part of the brand’s full marketing and strategic plan. With this app, Citroën is demonstrating that effective campaigns take in social from the very start.”
There were a couple of catches to this collaboration however despite it being an interesting slogan of “You like it, we make it”. The first being that campaign was limited to a specific location and the second being that not every design idea was taken and put into production. There was a randomly drawn winner and that person won the design of the majority. The contest was still projected to reach 38 million people though.
He seemed pretty happy about it though:
What this collaborative competition achieved, was a lot of customer engagement and the opening of a gateway that could re-imagine how consumers purchase items. Imagine being able to custom order a car and have it available for pick up or delivery after you’ve chosen everything down to the colour of your shifter knob. Sort of like a NIKEiD situation, but with cars. But take it one step further and have car companies track trends from the consumer and start developing models from those trends. This could be the start of something really cool.
- Citroen is just tapping the surface with regard to product development and design. Car companies in particular can and should begin looking at these types of opportunities and move past the “build my own” option on their websites.
- Facebook was a good place to start, but other social media platforms may work more effectively with this type of idea.
- 24 000 entries in the UK, with a relatively unpopular car brand. Ford? Volkswagen? Where are you?
Submitted by: Paul Reifenstein – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo. To contact the author of this blog post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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