Case of Creative Crowdsourcing: Let Your Fans Guide Your Brand

“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:



Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.


Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.


Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.


At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.