Category : Co-creation
  • The consumer is becoming our greatest competitor

    My parents owned a photography store in the small East Flemish town of Maldegem. Photo Video Van Belleghem had a solid reputation. My father took over the business from his father. For a few decades, the store was synonymous with good quality and friendly service until I broke the chain. I didn’t take over the family business – much to my parents’ delight by the way. After all, they had ringside seats as digitization claimed its first victim.

    In the mid-80s – and certainly in a provincial town like Maldegem – parents traditionally called in a professional photographer to immortalize their son’s or daughter’s first communion. People would line up to get that perfect picture taken but by the mid-90s, the long queues had dwindled to the odd passer-by. Digital photography completely uprooted the sector. Almost overnight, the introduction of digital cameras improved the quality dramatically and made cameras affordable. The competition in this story didn’t come from a fellow photographer or a low-cost competitor but rather from consumers themselves. All of a sudden, mom or dad or uncle Tony could make their own high-quality pictures. Making your own pictures also added a degree of authenticity and pride. No one was expecting the customer to become a competitor.

    Today, the process is repeating itself in the catering industry. A caterer’s biggest competitor is not the catering business that sets up shop nearby but the amateur chef at home. Serving catered food used to bring prestige but today it is a sign of culinary inadequacy. More and more industries are facing stiff competition from their own customers. The travel industry (with AirBnB), the clothes industry (eBay) and the media (YouTube) are just a few examples.

    Competing with the consumer’s hobby is extremely difficult. Resistance is not the answer. The travel industry is trying to fight AirBnB in court but even if they are successful in the short term, stopping the consumer is all but impossible in the long run. The proper reflex is looking for ways of creating your own added value in this new world. Maybe you can make things easier for consumers by helping them with their hobby. Or perhaps you could start an alternative business to surf the new trend. When the dam bursts, all you can do is adapt to the new reality dictated by the competitor-consumer.

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  • Co-Creation: Consumers make new Center Parcs brochure

    Center Parcs is publishing its new brochure at the end of the month. For years, the marketing team has decided what images to use and how to highlight the unique assets of each of the parks. This time, though, a completely different approach was adopted. This year’s brochure was compiled by the guests themselves. Every single decision was influenced by the consumers’ vision, right up to the choice of the cover.

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  • From co-creation to collaboration

    by Steven Van Belleghem on June 6, 2012in the categories ConversationsNo Comments

    Today is the last post in our series on structural collaboration based on the study of Tom De Ruyck and myself. We would like to close off with some thoughts and conclusions.

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  • Company objectives for structural collaboration with consumers

    by Steven Van Belleghem on May 30, 2012in the categories Conversations, Social WebNo Comments

    Yesterday we discussed the status of co-creation and collaboration in the world. Today, we continue with sharing the results of our study about collaboration. Topic of today is the objectives companies have with collaboration and the steps they need to go through to include the voice of the customer in all their decision flows.

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  • 5 Pillars for Structural Collaboration with your Customers

    by Steven Van Belleghem on May 29, 2012in the categories Conversations, Social WebNo Comments

    Tom De Ruyck and myself recently conducted a qualitative study about structural collaboration between companies and consumers. The target group of our research project were C-level people of global brands. In the next few days, we will introduce all the findings from this study. The attached PowerPoint available on SlideShare contains all details of the study and is available for download.

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