Crowd Gyaan

Consumer sensitivity nudges the thinking caps of traditional agencies to move over and make way for them

A brilliant idea typically attracts kudos while setting precedent for winning strategies, be it for product innovation, development, advertising or otherwise. Traditional agencies very willingly fitted into the roles until their positions were struck by the competency of common men, who were not afraid to cross swords in this battle of intellect, shaking the existing bond between agencies and brands. Will this strategy go a long way or haul over the coals in front of the heat of time tested methods of traditional agencies? Let’s find out..


Meaning of Crowdsourcing and its rising popularity

Corporates are now racing to trap sensitivity of the end users to ambush the possible through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and videos, blogs etc. People have inculcated habit of these sites in their second nature.


But at the same time, what is more important is to keep the visiting people engaged and glued to the website through conduits like posting a contest, a recipe or a video work. Cash and some other form of prizes are better startegies to make this workable. Whatever the medium, it should be eye-catching to attract the visitor’s eyeballs.


Techniques and the works

There is no technique involved. People send their views on blogs and social sites and an opinion is formed on that.


Akhilesh Bali of Mithaimate, an e-mithai shopping site, informs,” We posted one mithai, say Rasagulla, on facebook that travelled from wall to wall whenever someone accessed the post. Soon, it became viral until it reached a plateau from where it couldn’t go further. Then, we introduced more mithais using this technique and we have been able to generate 4,000 followers since then”.


Is there a trouble brewing in the agencies?

The companies that depended on the acumen of agencies are now looking at out of the box ideas from other sources thus marginalising their dependency on agencies. Moreover, what started as an innovation has grown into something much bigger. The mutiny has marched into the domain that was once the privilege of the agencies. Big companies such as Pepsi, Heinz, and General Motors are all sticking to crowdsourcing for consumer sensitive ideas. Another giant, Unilever, fired Lowe to invite cash winning ideas from crowdsourcing. There is no doubt that Crowdsourcing is breaking the clutter to give fresh breath of life to the corporate, but the big question is, “Where will this leave our agencies that were once considered the only lifeblood of the Industry?”


Reliability factor

Agencies are using competencies and resources as their winning tools. People may have ideas but whether the idea is workable or not is decided by the professionals in an agency. There is a danger that Crowdsourcing that starts as a fun trip may end up giving a confusing picture. Hence, as per the Industry experts, in this dog eat dog situation, only the agency that can get into the crowd and get the wheat out of the chaff, is fit to survive.


Saurav Padhi, Director Brand Services, Law and Kenneth agrees that, “Comments through social network sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Blogs etc. do help in knowing consumer preferences while maintaining that expertise of agencies that come from extensive R&D cannot be compared to sometimes impractical whims of the consumers. As such, he feels that both complement each other and cannot work in Isolation”. Quipping further he adds logically, “Sometimes client leads the change and at other times, the consumer”.


Consumers hype

It gives a personal feel to the consumers as it massages their ego. They feel elated to be a part of the big think- tank. They are more likely to believe that the company cares for their sentiments and taste as they are directly approached. The emotional buyers can identify with the company. They become a part of the deciding team as they wait to be invited again for their next crave, and sales clamber.


A ready exemplar can be found in Frito Lay, which is laying a lot of importance on launching new flavours and its consumer engagement activities is seeing a new high. The effervescence of their effort can be noticed in the series of promotions and advertising campaigns where one can witness a distinct bond between the products and the consumers. 


Conclusion: When the Industry was clouded by the red-tapism of established agencies, crowdsourcing arrived as a surprise. Albeit, out of the box personalized ideas cannot always be relied upon as many a times they do backfire and hence abandoned, but at the same time, there exists a success record of good pay off as well.


Unarguably, industry sleuths need a support system of well researched ideas. As such, agencies that are polishing up to challenge crowdsourcing would still continue to play a pivotal role in generating ideas. Creativity of young agencies cannot be ignored and crowdsourcing can work only in a small way, the industry will not embrace it totally. So to support their credence, the agencies are finding a way around it so that they get the desired spin off of a whip from a group by complementing each other’s needs and exist analogous without threatening each other. For that reason, a marriage between the two would work out well.  Let’s not forget that the organised agencies that are fighting to stay up-to- the- minute in this competitive market carry a legacy of experience, best teams and time tested methods. Hence, the hemline in the industry would still rely on the stitches of a specialist.


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