“Today consumers want to have their voices heard. They want to have their hand in where a brand goes, what a flavor is for a brand, what direction it goes, they want to have a say” – according to the Chief Marketing Officer of Frito-Lay North America, Anindita Mukherjee. That statement inspired me to present you with a good example of a company that allowed its fans to speak up through an engaging, creative and inspiring crowdsourcing campaign that I think we can all learn from.

 

The “Do Us a Flavor” Campaign

Do Us a Flavor” is Lay’s ongoing campaign launched on the 20th of July this year and running up until the 6th of October in America. On its website, Lay’s is asking its US fans to “come up with the next great Lay’s flavor”. By accessing the “Do Us a Flavor” application (only accessible for American users) or sending a text message, users can name their flavor, pick out what ingredients will go into it and share their inspiration submitting their own flavor. The person who submits the winning flavor, as chosen by Lay’s, will win $1 million dollars or 1% of the chips’ 2013 net sales (whichever turns out to be more) from PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division.

 

A remarkable fact is that the “Do Us A Flavor” campaign has first been launched in the UK in 2008 and since been launched in several countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America – creating wonderful new flavors such as Thailand’s hot and spicy crab, Turkey’s haydari and India’s mastana mango. The decision to renew the same campaign in a different market is explained by Salman Amin, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, PepsiCo: “Judging from the success of these contests worldwide, we feel confident that the response will be incredibly enthusiastic here in the U.S. Consumers love to create new products and fervently support brands and companies that demonstrate they truly value their opinions. Moreover, everyone loves potato chips—each of us has a favorite taste that came from years of experimentation, and we all like contests with big prizes that reward our creativity.”

 

What can you learn from Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign?

  • Engagement
    The contest has generated more than 8 million chips flavor ideas globally. Why? Because people love to have their voices and opinions heard. Lay’s is not only asking its fans to submit a flavor, it’s making each one of them feel special by doing so. Of course, don’t forget the fact that giving your fans a material incentive to participate will create even more engagement.
  • Attention
    Once you have your fans engaged, news spread fast. The moment they take part in the contest, it shows in their private Facebook networks. Lay’s campaign has already been a hit across the globe in more than 14 countries, resulting in a lot of new and rather different flavors: Chili & Chocolate, Caesar Salad, Late Night Kebob etc.
  • Personal relationship
    By making people feel part of the company’s core processes, you build a stronger relationship with them. Consumers become fans, fans become creators. Or as Guillaume Jesel, a Senior Vice President for global marketing at MAC, describes the strategy as letting “the consumers take the steering wheel for a while.”
  • Problem solving
    Crowdsourcing enables you with the quicker and lower cost way to decide on your next product, inspired by consumers’ needs and wishes.
  • Replicate success
    If you have a winning idea in one market, chances are it can be a winning idea in many other markets as well as it then meets local preferences.

 

In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed numerous of successful crowdsourcing campaigns that proved not only to help brands design their new products (Citroen, Domino’s Delivery Vehicle) but also led to astonishing results considering the level of consumer engagement (Cape Town tourism Campaign, YouTube’s “Life in a Day”). So if you are still spending quarter of your budget in researching your consumers’ needs and hours of sitting around with your R&D team brainstorming about your next product, it may be time you consider giving your fans the chance to express their visions through a creative crowdsourcing campaign?

 

You can also see a video with Salman Amin talking about the campaign here:

 

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