We love seeing brands co-create, engaging in strategic partnerships and using their individual strengths to generate creative ideas that lead to value for everyone involved. A different, but equally important iteration of the strategic partnership is customer brand co-creation.

With customer brand co-creation, a brand engages its audience and lets them play a direct part in the decision-making affecting them. It’s an active and collaborative process in which a brand’s consumers become a partner for a period of time, providing important insights on their experience with the brand and its offerings.

It’s almost impossible for a brand these days to sell without taking its’ customers into consideration. It’s also never been easier to do this. Even without consciously engaging in a co-creation initiative, the largest brands are bombarded daily with online comments regarding their products. That being said, it’s not enough to simply read and respond to social media inquiries regarding customer experience.

Examples of customer brand co-creation are plentiful and could encompass anything from “Design Your Own X” campaigns to content crowdsourcing. Co-creation puts the customer in the front seat in terms of product and value development and lets the brand know where their interests lie.

Back in 2012, Heineken made a crowdsourcing call for beer-loving designers to submit their ideas of what the ideal nightclub design would look like. Those submissions were taken into consideration in the development of a project called Heineken Open Design Explorations Edition 1: The Club, a concept pop-up club created for Milan Design Week. Instead of a hired design team, talented Heineken consumers were given the chance to take what they enjoy most about clubs, design and Heineken, and create a successful activation that provided extra value to the guests of Design Week. The submissions also gave Heineken executives a snapshot of what a specific group of their consumers enjoys about their brand and the places in which they can enjoy it.

Through customer brand co-creation, companies can engage directly and productively with their consumers, learn about pain points and how to solve them, and drive both value and long-term brand loyalty.