Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Core Customers Offer Value to Co-Creation

In 2001 Lego wanted to win over a new set of customers. They wanted to be relevant again during a time when kids were preoccupied with electronic video games. Children were no longer thinking about the “joy of building, pride of creation,” (Davis, Forbes.) Instead they had turned their backs on using their imagination only to be enticed by colorful graphics and loud interactivity on the most popular video games. Lego wanted to be relevant again, so they created a line of oversized minifigures which didn’t require any building, more like having a Barbie doll or a G.I. Joe action figure. The only problem with this idea is that the minifigures did not have a back-story, they didn’t have a history. Something video games provided to its players. Newer video games were like mini movies and interactive, they had a story line and children couldn’t wait to get to them! Needless to say, the minifigure project was not profitable, and Lego core fans were turned off. Core fans wanted Lego to maintain its values, that is, don’t try to be something you are not. Lego should have asked fans what their thoughts were about the project.

Minifigures were a good idea

I think the idea of minifigures was a good one; Lego just didn’t develop rational grounds for existence for these characters. Each one of the minifigures should have come with a mini-storybook that explained who they were, where they came from, who they belonged to and what they were doing now. Its human nature to ask the who, the where, the what and the why. Lego didn’t give its minifigures life. The core audience needed some reason to buy them, and Lego failed in that area. Co-creation would have worked in this instance. Lego should have done some research before releasing the minifigures as a product to buy. Invite core users to try them out and get their ideas on how to integrate the product into existing Lego products or whether it should have been a standalone product created to begin a new complementary item or a brand new item with their own cities, shopping, etc.

Here’s an idea: CoCreation

The moral of the story is, ask your customers what they want. There is no harm in asking for help. Customers can help you see another aspect of your product, one your company may not have considered. This is a good example of how co-creation could have been used to launch a complementary product alongside one with brand notoriety.