Johnnie Moore and James Cherkoff have been putting alot of thought into co-creation, also known as open-source marketing. In fact, the two have put together a Change This manifesto on the topic. The manifesto is also available via their Open Sauce Wiki.
Their manifesto gives 17 rules of the co-creation road, which ought to be mandatory reading for all brand managers and agency creatives contemplating a consumer generated campaign.
Here’s rule 15:
15. BE CHANGED
“Show me you’ve listened”
When you set up co-creative relationships the most exciting thing that happens is not that your product or service gets more famous. The most exciting thing is that you are changed by the experience.
In the world of improvised theatre, which inspires a lot of our thinking, the player who tries too hard to drive the narrative is accused of scriptwriting. The one who tries to tell jokes is encouraged to stop gagging. The real skill in performance is to fully take on the offers of the other players and be changed by them. Then what you offer back is likely to develop the drama.
In France, L’Oreal’s first stab at blogging involved a fake character talking about the product. A strong backlash from bloggers led the company to a change of direction that worked much better. L’Oreal followed rule 11 and learnt something. Then they let themselves be changed. That’s co-creation at work. And many people argue that the biggest change that arises from developing co-creation takes place inside the organisation.
Of course, most companies are not looking to BE CHANGED. Typically, most simply want to jump on the shiny new thing and hope for the best.