Cannes 2011: The three C's of modern creativity

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 20, 2011
The last session of Day One at this year's Cannes Lions was about the three C's of modern creativity, namely, Community, Crowd-sourcing and Co-creation.

The evening session of Day One of the 58th International Festival of Creativity,addressed the three C's of modern creativity -- Community, Crowd-sourcing and Co-creation. Though it was the last session, Jon Wilkins, founding partner, Naked Communications (the UK-based creative and strategic outfit), Stuart Wells, integrated creative lead, global marketing creation team, Nokia, and Casper Willer, managing partner and executive creative director, Naked Communications, Copenhagen, sourced a thick crowd (no pun intended).

Each of these gentlemen explained why the three C's are such a reality today and why they aid creativity and communication in the current era. They stressed that mere advertisement is not enough and it is important to not only involve the end consumers in the process, but to also have them contribute to the brand -- either at the message level, or even at the sheer product level.

These three C's have taken root in business and brand culture today and have spread right across products and categories. Every brand has a community of sorts and the importance of bringing these like-minded people together was the crux of the session.

"By doing so, the barriers between the community and the public will break down," Wilkins enthused, sharing the inspiring example of a community called 'Sneakerpedia' that enabled all those who shared an obsession for sneakers to communicate on a common platform.

"Once you build such a community, who knows where it can reach and where it can take you. These three C's are pretty systematic and community building is a systematic process," Wilkins stated. He went on to share the example of the Fiat 'People's Car Movement' in China, wherein 17,000 people across 160 countries, contributed to design the world's first crowd-sourced car, the Fiat Mio. According to Wilkins, the auto segment is one of the most interesting categories for the application of the three C's.

Willer then spoke about the brand Lego that has consciously worked at the three C's. This brand has become a 'cultural property' of sorts, and currently has more than 70,000 videos on YouTube, not to mention its heavy presence on Facebook and Flicker.

Willer stated two main reasons for Lego's community success. "Firstly," he said, "the brand's philosophy is 'System in Play' -- it relies on systematic creativity." The Lego Brick is a perfect social object in a networked society, and this is why the Lego Brick is so popular amongst people. "Secondly," he continued, "this brand puts consumer engagement at the heart of its business strategy." In fact, it actively ventures into crowd-sourcing and co-creates products with consumers. The brand's ventures 'Lego Architecture' and 'Lego Jewellery' are being co-run by fans! Part of the brand's business, therefore, runs by grasping ideas from lay people.

Another instance is Lego Cuusoo ('wish' in Japanese), a venture wherein people ask Lego to make objects that they desire (such as a Lego submarine). After that wish receives 1,000 supporters online, the brand actually fulfils it and creates that product.

Wells then took to the podium and spoke about how Nokia (with Burton) harnessed the power of the community for an open-source innovation project called 'Push Snowboarding'. It was essentially an application on the phone that enabled one to 'track' the exact path taken by the concerned snow-surfer. Additionally, it could also measure the surfer's heart rate, anxiety level, foot pressure and orientation of the surfing board all through.

This project reached more than 290 million people and was aired across channels such as TV, events, mobile apps and online media. The ROI (return on investment) for this effort was 13 times the initial investment and the content generated by the application was shared in 26 languages. In fact, some people even replicated this and added their own inputs to the application.

"People from the community came up with innovative ways of mapping the surfer's path," Wells said. It is pretty much about finding the knowledge in the crowd.

In fact, this brought him to his 'One per cent Rule', which says that 1 per cent of the community actively provides content along with the brand, 9 per cent are enthusiasts who're passively involved with the content; and 90 per cent comprise the "arm-chair mass"- those who don't participate in content generation at all.

Citing the example of the television show American Idol, Wells said that the competitors on the show form 1 per cent, voters and fans form 9 per cent, and passive TV audiences form 90 per cent of the community.

Driven by the digital spurt, we now operate in an open eco-system where consumers play a role in every level of involvement, be it value creation or value harvesting.

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