75% of consumers today don’t trust advertising. And that was even before COVID-19. With lockdown plummeting consumer confidence as low as 17%, marketers must ask themselves the question: how do I build back consumer trust into my brand? The answer lies in co-creation.


Co-creation, in its purest form, is where you collaborate with your customers to solve brand challenges. Successful brands like IKEA, Heineken and BMW are already using it as a methodology to improve campaign success. LEGO has been doing it for years.

Co-creation is a proven, cost-effective way to tackle today’s marketing challenge head on and cut through with results like:

  • 4X increase in ROI
  • 33% faster growth
  • 19% increase in consumer spend

(Neilsen, Bulbshare)

Having pioneered our vital co-create methodology over 10 years ago, we know it works wonders and it couldn’t be more relevant today.


Co-create and collaborate for success

In the new normal after COVID-19, consumers don’t want to be sold to. They want to influence or at least have a say in the products they’re buying. 83% of millennials and Gen Z consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands they can influence (State of Technology in Retail 2019). 66% of consumers want to be part of the product creation process – shouldn’t they be involved in the branding and ideas too?

Another interesting trend is that brands from all sectors are democratising innovation – from German FMCG giant Henkel, who developed an innovation ecosystem where venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, industry leaders and start-ups collaborate to solve some of the most pressing issues in business today, to Montezuma’s chocolate, whose Marketing Director believes that ‘innovation should be in everyone’s job description’.

It’s never too late to join the participant consumer economy…



The Danish toymaker diverted a 2004 financial crisis by developing a platform where customers can submit their own creations. LEGO Ideas enabled the brand to see products their consumers wanted and tap into their fresh thinking (anyone for a Central Perk Friends coffee shop set?).

Result: Co-creation is still helping to build LEGO’s success as one of the biggest brands on the planet. 


lego friends


IKEA recently started tapping into crowd-sourced ideas to make everyday life better. Co-Create IKEA is their digital platform where products/innovations can be shaped by third-party designers, start-ups, and customers.

 Result: Democratic design. Involving new audiences in the development of new products, helps IKEA to understand what’s REALLY important and create solutions that suit lives and homes around the world.


ikea image


Where next for beer? Heineken Innovators Brewhouse is currently seeking the best solutions related to sustainability and product design from their consumers. They believe that great ideas can come from anywhere. Result: the “easy star bottle”. This co-created design makes it simpler for older folks with limited dexterity to open a refreshing Heineken. Cheers Gran.


heineken image


Two thirds of marketing teams will return to significant activity in Q2 and Q3 - that means your competition are gearing up to start spending again. For your brand to bounce back stronger, to stay ahead of the competition, let your customers lead the way. Collaborate with them in engaging co-creation workshops and allow them to help you talk to them better - which has never been more important post COVID-19 where no one knows what will happen next.


bounceback image


Co-creation puts you in a room with your customers, face-to-face. But in a time when social-distancing has become a necessity, co-creation is still possible with Virtual Co-Creates – tech-enabled workshops that bring you and your customers together to collaborate effectively from the comfort of their homes.

By bringing your audience into 'the IDEAS room', teams can work together on expertly moderated, structured tasks that directly address the challenge your business wants to solve. With 10 years' experience of co-creation, this innovative virtual environment is the perfect solution to help brands:

  • Launch into recovery with confidence

  • Act fast to accelerate bounce-back

  • Outperform the competition by embracing ideas already audience-tested and validated

With over a decade’s experience of running customer co-creates, we know the value consumers bring to the table. From the big idea, to brand development, to digital journeys and everything in between, every co-create workshop is unique, and designed to the specific task in hand. Take a look at our Benenden, HomeServe and NHS case studies to see the results.

Co-creation is in our blood and we love showing brands and businesses how uniquely transformative it is. So much so, we are taking our methodology on the road with a series of knowledge sharing seminars – here’s what happened at our first one.

Where could a Co-Create by SHARP take your brand?


virtual co-create

Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter