How NOT To Crowdsource: Lessons Learned From The Gap's Logo Debacle

For those unaware of Gap's logo fiasco that unfolded over the past week, here's a quick rundown of what happened:

  • On October 6, Gap rolled out a new logo that was meant to be "more contemporary and current" than the old blue box logo.
  • A vocal group of people who hated the new logo raised a big stink via social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.).
  • Via Facebook, Gap thanked the masses for the "passionate debates" and asked fans to submit their own ideas for new logos but did not provide any further details around this alleged crowdsourcing project, particularly with regard to incentives or compensation.
  • The idea of Gap requesting "spec work" from fans/consumers/designers under the guise of crowdsourcing caused another wave of dissent, further amplifying the voice of those who disliked the idea of changing the logo.
  • By October 11, Gap put the kibosh on the new logo and the crowdsourcing project, and reverted back to the traditional blue box logo.
Read more

Starbucks Tackles Big Product Strategy Issues Using Social Co-Creation Contests

Ever heard of social co-creation contests?  These are online contests sponsored by a company (and often hosted by a vendor) whereby a question or problem is posed to an audience, with an prize given as an incentive for participation. A simple example: a company wants a new logo, and offers $500 for the best design that conveys the company's image. The host vendor publishes the contest, and its cultivated audience of design artists contribute ideas. The company may pay the same amount of money for the logo design, but the contest generated many ideas from which to choose. 

But co-creation contests can tackle bigger problems.  Just ask Starbucks.

Starbucks cares about its environmental impact, and works hard to be "green." One area of ongoing concern for the company is the amount of waste generated from disposable cups -- a concern shared by partners at the betacup, who had been raising awareness of this problem since May 2009. Shaun Abrahamson (from Mutopo) and others from the betacup approached Starbucks with the idea of sponsoring a co-creation contest. Starbucks put up the $20,000 prize money, and betacup partner jovoto (a social co-creation contest vendor) launched the contest to its cultivated audience of creatives (although anyone was able to access the site and participate in the contest).  The contest ran this summer, and the winners were announced in July.  (Clients, click here for a complete case study.)

Read more

Stop Designing Products!

Over the last year within the Consumer Product Strategy team here at Forrester, we’ve been spending a lot of time looking at how media companies should innovate products to build relevancy in the digital age.  We’ve had many interesting conversations with media companies of every shape, flavor and size you could imagine.  Each of them of course have their own unique challenges and opportunities, but one of the things which applies almost universally is the need to reassess what it is that they sell.  In short, to understand what their product actually is.

In the 20th century, the answers would have appeared so obvious as to make the question look facile.  ‘We sell books of course!’ or ‘CDs!’ or ‘Newspapers!’.  Now though, in the age of digital delivery and on-demand access, it is increasingly apparent that those were simply the packaging in which the actual products were delivered.  The product is what is delivered within those packages.  ‘Content is king’ right?  Well yes, but that’s only half of the equation.  People didn’t just pay for the content, they also paid for the experience that the format helped deliver -- whether that be the experience of settling down on the sofa with a first-edition hardcover book, reading a double-page spread in the Sunday newspaper, or listening to the warm crackle of a vinyl LP on the living room hi-fi. 

Read more