“Social Product Innovation is the practice of leveraging Social Computing principles and technologies to support the product development process, innovation and business goals, programs and resources.”
Social media provides companies with the ability to share product information with a very large audience, but it also provides an opportunity to communicate with an audience to understand market demands and needs before and during product development. Using social media to aid in product development and innovation is a new way of listening to the consumer, which many agree, will lead to a more successful product.
Stuart McEwen’s article, “How consumer product companies can use social media to their advantage,” states that social media “…gives consumers much greater influence over brand decisions — something that was only possible in the past through small customer panels. This can be very advantageous to those companies that are able to engage consumers as brand ambassadors and contributors to product development.”
Social media should be considered a powerful tool in the marketing world of companies today; a tool that can be used to understand what consumers are looking for in their product and also to critique a product post development, also widely recognized as “crowdsourcing.”
Jennifer Alsever defines crowdsourcing as taping “…into the collective intelligence of the public at large to complete business-related tasks that a company would normally either perform itself or outsource to a third-party provider,” in the article, “What is crowdsourcing?”
Mountain Dew: DEWmocracy Campaign
On April 2, 2013, Mountain Dew Canada kicked off its Canadian version of their DEWmocracy campaign, which aimed to, “…create the next Mountain Dew product by harnessing the collective intelligence of the brand’s passionate fans.”
This campaign introduced four new flavoured products including; Code Red, White Out, Voltage, and Super Nova. Consumers used social media platforms to vote for their favourite new drink, with the winning flavour, Voltage announced in July 2013, becoming a limited time or a regular offering, depending on feedback and sales.
Participants had a change to win $50,000 with every vote. The votes were carried out through Facebook. There was also a contest for the best YouTube video which granted the winner 1% of the total sales from the winning flavor.
This campaign proved to be successful by driving more consumers to Mountain Dew’s social media platforms. It also allowed the company to engage participants in the development of their new product.
An article by Elanie Wong, “What Mountain Dew Learned from Dewmocracy,” discusses the success of the campaign. “Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives…crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, Brett O’Brien, Marketing Manager of the beverage franchise, discussed the results…and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.”
Jason Chong states, “Whether it has become a mainstay flavour or a limited time offering, it has succeeded in creating excitement for the beverage brand among consumers,” in his “Mountain Dew’s social media flavour contest debuts in Canada” article.
Lessons For Others:
-Product innovation techniques such as crowdsourcing, can give a voice to the consumer and increase their overall engagement with the brand.
-Companies have a new opportunity to listen to the marketplace demands and create products that the consumer is looking for.
-Crowdsourcing can be used as a new marketing tool to promote products amongst social media mediums, while reaping the benefits of a product designed with the help of the consumer, for the consumer.
Amy Kenly & Bill Poston: Social Media and Product Innovation
Jennifer Alsever: What is crowdsourcing?
Elanie Wong, What Mountain Dew Learned from Dewmocracy
Submitted by: Nicole Schmidt – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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