Nav: Home

The common wisdom about marketing cocreated innovations is wrong

June 10, 2019

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong, University of Tennessee, University of British Columbia, and Arizona State University published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that seeks the optimal strategy for communicating the value of cocreated innovations in order to drive consumer purchase and acceptance in the marketplace.

The study forthcoming in the July issue of the Journal of Marketing, titled "Successfully Communicating a Cocreated Innovation," is authored by Helen Si Wang, Charles Noble, Darren Dahl, and Sungho Park.

Online platforms make it easy and inexpensive for companies to run contests, gather customers' ideas, and commercialize the most promising ideas into finished products. This is a key reason cocreation has been adopted as a key innovation strategy by nearly 78% of large companies. Thus far, however, the strategy has yielded disappointing results. One of the most heralded cocreation firms, Quirky, withdrew 70% of its 500-plus cocreated innovations between 2009 and 2014 because of stagnant sales and filed for bankruptcy thereafter. And at Apple's App Store, 80% of the apps do not generate enough revenue to survive for more than a few months.

Is the cocreation model a legitimate strategy to drive innovation and adoption of resulting products--or is it flawed by design? Marketing communications is often regarded as one of the major influences on innovation adoption and creators typically take two approaches to marketing new products. They either share a consumer creation or genesis story (also called user-generated content or UGC) or use more traditional, firm-generated content (FGC) that often stresses a feature's products and benefits. This research shows that it is wise to combine these strategies but with an interesting twist on conventional advertising wisdom.

When sharing a genesis story, creators tend to take one of two tacks: 1) an approach-oriented message about how they achieved new or desired outcomes; or 2) an avoidance-oriented message that promises to help users avoid unpleasant or undesirable outcomes they themselves experienced. Advertising best practice stresses that a firm should use consistent messaging to communicate with customers.

This practice does not hold up to scrutiny in the area of co-created products, however. Instead, the researchers found that a mixed or "mismatch" communication strategy works best to speed individual and mass consumer adoption. A mismatch communication strategy means that if the product creator's claim is approach-oriented, the firm should use an avoidance-oriented and vice versa.

As an example, for the cocreated Starbucks® Doubleshot Energy Mexican Mocha Coffee Drink, the creators' authentic message was approach-oriented and focused on "Embracing winter... fueling me with all of the winter warmth and energy I want." When the researchers combined this with an avoidance firm message, "What the world can't miss this winter... say bye-bye to the winter chill and blues" to make a mismatch strategy, adoption levels increased compared to when the approach firm message was used--"What the world desires this winter... makes you embrace all the winter warmth and joy."

Key findings from five studies include:
  • Products using a mismatch strategy were adopted 56.1% of the time compared to 26.3% of those using matching communication strategies.

  • This approach works best with low-expertise consumers who reference their own life stories when buying and using goods. High-expertise consumers are less motivated by this approach.

  • Firms using a mismatch communication strategy are 10% more likely to experience early takeoff, which is critical to the mass adoption of the innovation.
"This research offers important implications for managers and companies seeking to leverage the creative power of the crowd in developing innovations," says Wang. Noble adds, "Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom in many marketing campaigns. If you want takeoff, mismatch your message with the innovator creator's message."
-end-
Full article and author contact information available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022242919841039

About the Journal of Marketing

The Journal of Marketing develops and disseminates knowledge about real-world marketing questions useful to scholars, educators, managers, policy makers, consumers, and other societal stakeholders around the world. Published by the American Marketing Association since its founding in 1936, JM has played a significant role in shaping the content and boundaries of the marketing discipline. Christine Moorman (T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Business Administration at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University) serves as the current Editor in Chief. https://www.ama.org/jm

About the American Marketing Association (AMA)

As the largest chapter-based marketing association in the world, the AMA is trusted by marketing and sales professionals to help them discover what's coming next in the industry. The AMA has a community of local chapters in more than 70 cities and 350 college campuses throughout North America. The AMA is home to award-winning content, PCM® professional certification, premiere academic journals, and industry-leading training events and conferences. https://www.ama.org/

American Marketing Association

Related Innovation Articles:

Food system innovation -- and how to get there
Food production has always shaped the lives of humans and the surface of the Earth.
What is the best way to encourage innovation? Competitive pay may be the answer
Economists and business leaders agree that innovation is a major force behind economic growth, but many disagree on what is the best way to encourage workers to produce the 'think-outside-of-the-box' ideas that create newer and better products and services.
Innovation is widespread in rural areas, not just cities
Conventional measures of innovation suggest that only big cities foster new ideas, but a more comprehensive measure developed at Penn State shows that innovation is widespread even in rural places not typically thought of as innovative.
Scaling up search for analogies could be key to innovation
Investment in research is at an all-time high, yet the rate of scientific breakthroughs isn't setting any records.
Why you should be concerned about Oprah Winfrey when introducing an innovation
New research by Bocconi University's Paola Cillo and Gaia Rubera with Texas A&M's David Griffith asserts that the reaction of large individual investors to innovation is an important component of stock returns, their reaction to innovation depends on their national culture, and there is a way to segment large individual investors and pitch innovation to them accordingly.
Responsible innovation key to smart farming
Responsible innovation that considers the wider impacts on society is key to smart farming, according to academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Pillars of academic innovation
Highlights from the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, including high-tech solutions to combat child pornography and radicalization materials; groundbreaking programs to promote STEM major retention; and new materials for wearable technology.
Universities drive innovation in the classroom
The current issue of Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors ® (19.2) examines innovation from the university perspective, highlighting what the most innovative institutions and educators worldwide are doing to prepare future engineers and industry leaders to effectively manage IP to grow their companies and the global economy as a whole.
How universities are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship
Technology and Innovation 19.1 zeroes in on innovation and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on what universities are currently doing to foster growth in those areas both for their success and the success of the communities and regions to which they are connected.
Shaping the future of health innovation
Future advances in healthcare will be aided by a new £10 million facility -- the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory based at Newcastle University, UK.
More Innovation News and Innovation Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.