Ben & Jerry’s has been bringing joy to customers through their ice cream since 1978. They are known for their high quality product and strong economic, social, and environmental values. Ben and Jerry’s strives to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way. They value their fans as they call customers and have always welcomed customer input to improve their product.
‘Do the world a flavor’
Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s saw the benefit of including customers in the product development process. The company doesn’t hide that some of their most famous flavours came from customer suggestions including Cherry Garcia which was developed after Ben & Jerry’s received a postcard from a customer with the flavor suggestion in 1987. Over the years the advancement of technology and popularity of social media has changed the way in which customers have been able to communicate their ideas for new flavour ideas.
In 2009, during Ben & Jerry’s journey to using only 100% fair trade ingredients, they saw crowdsourcing as a way to take customer participation in their product development to the next level. It was in 2009 that they launched their ‘do the world a flavor’ campaign.
‘Do the world a flavor’ was a global campaign that aimed to raise awareness for fair trade ingredients by challenging customers to invent their own flavor of ice cream using fair trade ingredients. It was an easy to use platform based on their website that had customers pick a base flavour, add chunks, add swirls, and create a name for the proposed flavor. One winner from each of the 17 participating countries would win a trip to Dominican Republic to see where the Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade ingredients are grown and one grand winner would have their ice cream invention featured in Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops in 2010.
Crowdsourcing at Ben & Jerry’s
Crowdsourcing (explained in more detail in the video below) is the act of taking a job that is traditionally performed by a designated employee such as product development and outsourcing it to an undefined large group of people. It is a cost effective tool for organizations and has the potential to bring in a limitless number of contributions.
By crowdsourcing the development of a new ice cream flavour Ben & Jerry’s was able to generate 100,000 new flavor suggestions without having to invest many resources. The company also was also able to streamline the process of determining the final product to select a winner in a timely manner.
When asked about the campaign ‘do the world a flavor’ and crowdsourcing Ben Cohen thought that crowdsourcing offered Ben & Jerry’s an opportunity for fans to participate and create some fun. He values the importance of connecting with fans (customers) and in his terms sais “crowdsourcing was the hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts on top of our sundae!”
Crowdsourcing was successful for Ben & Jerry’s in 2009 resulting in close to 100,000 new ice cream flavor submissions. Today an increasing number of brands are using crowdsourcing campaigns to generate new product ideas including Lay’s ‘do us a flavour’, Tim Horton’s ‘duelling donuts, and Vitaminwater’s ‘Flavor Creator’ to name a few. These brands and many more have all experienced success from crowdsourcing in the development of new products and engaging customers.
Lessons for Others
Social Media has made communicating with customers and asking for their opinions increasingly easy for all organizations. Furthermore, as seen by the success experienced by Ben & Jerry’s and other brands customers are not only interested in consuming products, but are willing and often wanting to contribute to the design and development of new products.
Ben & Jerry's
Industry: Food Processing
Name of Organization Contact: Ben Cohen
Authored by: K Harman
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Ben and Jerry’s Scoop on Crowdsourcing. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.ideaconnection.com/open-innovation-success/Ben-and-Jerry-s-Scoop-on-Crowdsourcing-00315.html
Cherry Garcia Ice Cream | Ben & Jerry’s. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.benjerry.co.uk/flavours/cherry-garcia-ice-cream
Elliott, A. (2016, February 11). Power to the People: 3 Tasty Crowdsourcing Case Studies. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://mashable.com/2011/02/20/crowdsourcing-case-studies/#6haW6leGkEqC
Home | Ben & Jerry’s. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.benandjerrys.ca/?gclid=CjwKEAiAi4a2BRCu_eXo3O_k3hUSJABmN9N1clS3_ZC9UHyTCrTf195jNr3o2tZOXNhSOOshPr8qvBoCUdLw_wcB
Scoopalicious: Ben & Jerry’s “Do the World a Flavor” Contest. (2009, May 13). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://scoopalicious.blogspot.ca/2009/05/ben-jerrys-do-world-flavor-contest.html
Using Crowdsourcing to Drive Business: 3 Case Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://dmresourcecenter.com/unit-1/crowdsourcing/
What is Crowdsourcing? (2010, February 01). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Buyub6vIG3Q