"PEOPLE SUPPORT A WORLD THEY HELP CREATE."
Many organizations take a similar approach to project work: come up with an idea, talk about it with a small internal team and create it in a vacuum. But some companies have adopted the concept of co-creation—bringing different parties together to produce a mutually valued outcome. Taking down the walls between teams – sometimes even between internal and external by involving clients and prospects – brings together the right people, unlocks new perspectives and ultimately leads to a stronger end result. By getting everyone to collaborate and take ownership, not only can you bring the project to market more quickly, but co-creation allows you to create something greater than you could have on your own.
CO-CREATION INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE AGENCY
An agency comprises multiple departments: for example, creative, development, sales, account management and marketing services. Ascedia builds project teams that typically include at least one resource from each department. Over time, the project team gets deeply embroiled in their work and develops an intimate understanding of the client’s needs and the project goals. This is what we want; this is how the work gets done. However, after a while, the project team may develop tunnel vision. By focusing so intensely on the deliverables, they may lose sight of the “why” of the website.
One of the things that Steve Garguilo and Pinaki Kathiari stressed in a January BMA Milwaukee keynote presentation on the 7 Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Creation was the value of asking “why.” In fact, they encourage attendees to ask “why” over and over again to really get to the root of the work and add value. Why does this problem need to be solved? Why does it exist? Getting to the bottom of the “why” will help you create a shared mission and ensure that your site serves its intended purpose.
Every person involved in a project has a different perspective, but an individual’s contributions will always be more confined than those of a group. This is why it is so important to trust your digital agency. In order to accept others’ perspectives, you have to feel confident that they have your best interest at heart. You have to believe that they can – and will – deliver what they’ve promised. And you have to trust that the ideas that make you uncomfortable or challenge what you believe will make a difference in the end.
BUILDING THE RIGHT TEAM
Co-creation is dependent on a broad set of perspectives, so it’s essential to pick the right people for your team. While your organization might typically include the same team members in every digital marketing project, consider expanding your horizons and building a team of colleagues from different departments. Your packaging designer’s insights could ensure the look and feel of your website is on brand, while your receptionist's direct experience dealing with customer questions could come in handy when organizing your site content. Diversity doesn’t just apply to skill set or department – consider years in the field, time at the company and even personality style when building your team. This is how you get a set of truly diverse outlooks contributing to your project.
When it comes to hiring a digital marketing agency, it’s important to analyze their experience both inside and outside of your industry to ensure that you aren’t hiring a team whose perspective is too close to your own. They should be bringing more to the table than the ability to execute technical tactics that you can’t handle in-house – they should have a breadth of experience that challenges your own and enriches the work. This will allow you to get the most out of your relationship – by inviting them into strategic conversations and carefully considering their perspective on your project. It’s also essential for your team to have a bias toward action, who are willing to jump in and start solving the problem today rather than talking ideas to death. Your team requires people who are creative, inspired, and action-oriented in order to make your vision a reality.
Co-creation can improve the results of your digital marketing initiatives, and engaging with an agency is a good way to start. To get a new perspective, contact us today.