Data gathered by Foresight Factory and analysed by the DMA has found that your customers see themselves as creative and want to be a stakeholder in your brand. Co-creation opens the door to their ideas, insights and powerful avenues to building brand success.

According to research published by the DMA, just over 50% of UK consumers have stated that they feel the need to be more creative. But this is not just a passing trend – it’s a long-term fact. Research conducted both in 2013 and 2019 resulted in almost identical statistics (51% compared to 53%).

And what’s more, the desire to be more creative is increasing with every generation – 42% of millennials compared to 34% of baby boomers.


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Brands can harness this desire for consumer creativity in many different ways to build stronger engagement with their customers.

Experience - Customers want to feel, see and learn new things. Brands should build these experiences into their campaigns to resonate higher.

Personalisation - Customers want a tailored service that speaks to their individual, creative needs.

Authenticity - To escape the Digital Era, many consumers are looking to more traditional crafts. Brands can tap into this by showcasing creative talent in authentic ways that can support wider social issues.

And finally, the big one…

Collaboration - Brands who open their doors to their customers – allowing them to collaborate and help shape the brand – will directly appeal to consumers’ need for creativity. Equally, brands who don’t collaborate run the risk of alienating their customer base. As the DMA report states…

“Brand image, tone, communications – in other words a brand’s creative identity – without collaboration may lack buy-in from creative consumers who crave outlets for expression.”

How can brands collaborate with their customers to produce meaningful results – not just in terms of customer engagement, but in adding value to the brand and business goals?

The answer is co-creation – an innovative methodology that harnesses the power of customer ideas and insights – which has been proven to result in:

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

Co-creation works by asking your customers to solve your brand challenges – their ideas, insights and creativity then form the basis of a new brand strategy, identity or campaign.

And crucially, co-creation taps into a need the DMA report highlighted as an emerging consumer trend. That of… the Stakeholder Customer.

“Empowered consumers expect to have a more reciprocal relationship with the brands that matter most to them. They will want to be treated as stakeholders, given the power to co-create and ultimately determine commercial offerings.”

Co-creation during Covid-19

Covid-19 and the new normal have only highlighted the need for customer collaboration further.

The EY Future Consumer Index researched and collated consumer responses in an attempt to map how behaviours have changed during the COVID-19 crisis. They found that 45% of consumers believe how they shop will have permanently changed.  

If consumer behaviours have evolved, brands need to understand how and adapt if they are to compete. Co-creation allows you do this quickly, directly showing you how best to communicate, engage and resonate with them.


Case study: Cotton Traders success during Covid lockdown

Cotton Traders, the fashion brand, wanted to appeal to a broader, younger, digitally savvy audience without alienating their core classic customer.

SHARP led a co-create workshop with Cotton Traders customers, whose insights and ideas led us to the creative strategy and proposition development of: ‘The style of your life’.

We brought this to life with a TV ad and supporting digital/OOH work which ran through March 2020 – when Covid lockdown in the UK began. The results were remarkable. 

  • 22% uplift in unprompted brand awareness for the wider audience.
  • 100% uplift in unprompted brand awareness for the target segment.
  • 33% above target for digital social reach.

Incredible results, achieved through the Covid crisis, powered by customer collaboration and creativity.


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Co-creation made possible during social distancing

Co-creation puts you in a room with your customers to collaborate, 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


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In summary

Your customers are creative. They want to be a stakeholder in your brand and share their ideas and insights. Collaborating with them can only strengthen your brand and your relationship with them. And now, with the Covid crisis creating a new normal, there is no better time to co-create with your customers, ensuring you can bounce back successfully.

Find out more here.


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Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter