Social Media has proven to be a great tool that companies can use to research their target market. Traditional market research can be expensive, but with social media companies can now reach out to a vast audience for feedback and opinions. The benefits of using social media to gather information include low/no cost, instant results, and simultaneously creating another channel of communication with customers that make them feel valued. One downside is of course the potential for customers to provide negative feedback on something as public as Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms, but negative feedback is still very valuable if not more valuable than the positive.
Crowdsourcing has become a popular way for companies to seek new product development and design ideas. For years Doritos has been reaching out to their consumers to share with them their innovative ideas and have had great success. They have been crowdsourcing their advertisements since 2006 1 when they launched their “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. Consumers were invited to submit a 30 second video for Doritos products in order to win a $10,000 grand prize and trip to the Super Bowl for the winner. More than 1,000 entries were received, and the buzz it created really helped to both build general awareness for the product, as well as excitement among consumers.
While this kind of crowd sourcing is not designed to directly effect the characteristics of a product, it does have a huge impact on how the product is perceived in the eyes of their target market, and still evokes a lot of innovative ideas that the company can use in all aspects of their business.
In the case of Doritos, accepting the 30 second videos allows them to review all content before sharing it over Social Media (or at the most watched television event in the world).2 They can watch all the ads and assess which best suits their desired product image, with very little room for error in acquiring negative feedback from their audience. They can also gather information about how customers already perceive their product based on the submissions they receive and how the audience reacts to the winning commercial.
Lessons for Others
Frito-Lay, the umbrella company that owns Doritos, also used another variation of crowdsourcing to seek ideas and engagement from their audience. They encouraged consumers to come up with new flavours of chips with their “Do Us A Flavour” contest, where they would then produce, package, and sell the best submission to the mass market. Some seriously strange flavours have been sent to the shelves as a result; wasabi ginger, butter chicken, and barbecue bean, are among them, just to name a few. 3
Both campaigns used various Social Media channels to build hype and awareness for the contests, and used frequent posts and hashtags leading up to the submission deadline. Most submissions were sent through Facebook in 2013. 4
After 10 years of success for their “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, it is safe to say Frito-Lay is proof that seeking feedback from your audience via social media can be extremely effective for product development and design.
Industry: Food Products
Name of Organization Contact: N/A
Authored by: Naomi Lai
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