Shelley Kuipers: Participation is The New Brand

Chaordix is an early supporter of Crowdsourcing Week and Shelley is on our Board of Advisors. She will be delivering a talk on Growing Global Brands through Crowdsourcing in Singapore. In this presentation, Shelley will reveal how brands are being transformed by tapping the insights of their crowds. Specific case examples will demonstrate how global brands are successfully incorporating digital crowdsourcing technologies and techniques into their enterprises. We invited Shelley to share her thoughts on the crowdsourcing markets and why brands are paying attention to crowds.

Written by Priti Ambani

May 5, 2013

Chaordix is an early supporter of Crowdsourcing Week and Shelley is on our Board of Advisors. She will deliver a talk on Growing Global Brands through Crowdsourcing in SingaporeIn this presentation, Shelley will reveal how brands are being transformed by tapping the insights of their crowds. Specific case examples will demonstrate how global brands are successfully incorporating digital crowdsourcing technologies and techniques into their enterprises.

Shelley_Kuipers_0Shelley is an accomplished and highly successful entrepreneur. After years of pioneering work in the emerging field of crowdsourcing, she founded Chaordix in 2009, helping clients such as P&G, University of Oxford, American Airlines, and Orange Telecom to gain a new level of market intelligence through crowdsourcing.

Her first startup experience was with Merak Projects, who provided valuation and management software for the petroleum industry and was acquired by the world’s largest energy services and technology firm, Schlumberger, in 1999. In 2000, she co-founded Stormworks – a software development and digital marketing firm, which was acquired by Solium Capital, a publicly-traded financial services company ranked among the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, and recognized as the world’s largest independent provider of stock plan administration software and services. She also co-founded Adventure Capital, an early stage venture capital firm, and Material Insight, a consultancy of growth agents that help to grow tech startups.

We invited Shelley to share her thoughts on the crowdsourcing markets and why brands are paying attention to crowds.

1.     Shelley, what is Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ and why should brands pay attention?

Chaordix is an innovator and pioneer in the emerging field of crowdsourcing technology and techniques. Through our Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ platform and processes we are fundamentally shifting and democratizing the collaborative role that customers, employees, fans and other stakeholders can play in the marketing process. We help organizations as diverse as P&G, USAID, FutureBrand, Reckitt Benckiser, KPMG, Orange Telecoms, E.ON, American Airlines, HTC and IBM to gain insight from their communities around the world through the power of crowdsourcing.

Chaordix believes that participation is the new brand. Brands need to be open and interactive with their customers, suppliers, employees and industry stakeholders to be successful. Our DNA is rooted in marketing and social communities – it’s been the foundation of everything we’ve done since the original “experimental crowdsourcing lab” was formed in 2006, and remains so for Chaordix today. We’re building the intelligent channel where brands and their fans meet and co-create the future together.

Companies, organizations, and geographic communities need to become fully oriented toward embracing transparent and authentic collaboration with these stakeholders. Although we’re particularly dedicated to shifting the role that customers can play in brand communities and the innovation process; this open, participatory and collaborative shift also engages employees, suppliers, alliances and citizens. A very important aspect of our future will involve work in developing nations to give voice to these emergent consumers; this holds much promise for brands who want to step up and meet their clearly-articulated needs and wants.

2.     What sets Chaordix apart from other crowdsourcing platforms for market research?

The Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ platform combines proprietary technology and distinct methodology that ─ for the first time ─ brings market research, brand insight and innovation into an integrated platform and process. Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ captures, analyses, synthesizes and communicates the qualitative and quantitative ideas and insights arising from this unique solution. We are democratizing marketing, helping people to participate in (and help shape the future of) the products and ideas they care about.

We also have a unique set of operating principles and values that supports everything we do. We value communities who respect the collective wisdom of their participants – we’re building long-term, collaborative relationships together … not drive-by idea-hunting forums. We value communities and leaders who understand that fostering customer and employee participation in a brand comes with positive and negative feedback – a well-managed (and transparently resolved) criticism can be as valuable as a positive net-new idea. We believe that community members need regular feedback and encouragement, not just badgering with periodic surveys and questionnaires – you reap the respect and attention that you sow. We believe that participants should be rewarded intrinsically and (when appropriate) extrinsically for thoughtful and helpful contributions – it should be baked into the culture and design of your community. The loudest people don’t always have the best insights.

3.     How does Chaordix recruit its crowd and how is that the important for brands?

A Chaordix Crowd can form in a number of different ways. Some crowds already exist, for example: a brand’s loyalty group, a global employee or supply chain population, a brand’s established fan base, an online community focused on a product category or hobby, or supporters of an international non-profit or charity.  Some crowds can be brought together by creating smart online recruitment promotions, reaching out to thought leaders and their communities, and effective content marketing. Sometimes, when we have a very specialized topic of interest that a client wants to form a community around, such as a medical or lifestyle group, we will also work with world-class recruiting companies to help us find people with that profile; we’ve found that a few very ethical recruiters in the market research world to collaborate with – there aren’t too many. And sometimes, we “co-mingle” crowds from different brands, communities and backgrounds … that can bring forward really interesting insights!

4.     What is the importance of an “expert” or moderator in a crowd community? How important is community management?

We don’t recommend trying to innovate in a “mob.” Starting an innovation process “out in the wild” can be very helpful, and ensure unexpected insights have the opportunity to be included in the process. But you want to ensure you don’t end up with hundreds of ideas that you just can’t implement. Because of that, Chaordix is a strong advocate for the important role our clients’ internal experts and specialists play as key participants in Crowd Intelligence™ process … whether they’re members of an expert panel or playing a mentorship role in an innovation community – experts can help turn well-understood client insights, needs and wants into amazing products and services. The key is to choose the right moments to combine the freedom of the crowd’s creative discussions and activities with just the right dose of real-world contextual constraints and guidelines so that emergent insights are actionable for our clients. Innovation isn’t just about ideas, it’s about insights that can be turned into highly-differentiated goods, services, positions, and so forth.

When it comes to moderation, it’s essential. Most of our communities are “persistent” in that they always have new crowdsourcing programs being introduced for the participants to take part. Our managed service offering always includes expert moderation to help keep the community happy, healthy and productive.  Something as simple as welcoming new people in, helping them get started and thanking them for their participation goes a long way to setting the tone for group interactions. And of course, our moderators are part of our research team; they’re the eyes and ears in our communities, doing the “human analytics” that even the best software today can’t do … things like noticing nuanced emotions, unexpected interactions, and subtle humour.

5.     Can all brands and organizations use Chaordix Crowd Intelligence? If not, who are the ideal candidates?

Everyone, and I mean everyone, should open their organization to working productively and transparently with the communities that care about them. Remember, participation is the new brand. 🙂 So, yes, every kind of organization can and should embrace crowdsourcing for generating insights, engagement and innovation.  We’re proud to have worked with clients from a very broad range of disciplines including healthcare, education, consumer packaged goods, technology, transportation, advertising, toys, government, non-profits, management consulting, branding, restaurants, retail, telecommunications and publishing.

6.     What are some ways non-profits or corporations use crowd input to further their causes for social impact?

Here I’ll mention USAID and their world-changing Grand Challenges for Development . USAID is the U.S. Agency for International Development, founded in 1961 by President Kennedy to administer civilian foreign aid. From their website: “The Grand Challenges for development initiative is rooted in two fundamental beliefs about international development: 1) science and technology, when applied appropriately, can have transformational effects; and engaging the world in the quest for solutions is critical to instigating breakthrough progress.”  The global crowdsourcing Grand Challenges are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest social problems including neonatal and maternal deaths, childhood illiteracy, human slavery and trafficking, sustainable agriculture, and so on. The programs are sponsored by groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, MTV Exit and the Government of Norway. Chaordix is honoured to have been selected to support USAID and DAI by hosting and managing these programs on the Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ platform. Together, we help bring these social good communities and innovations to life.

About Author

About Author

Priti Ambani

Priti Ambani is the Global Media Director at Crowdsourcing Week, a thought leader and prominent writer on social and environmental enterprises, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses. As the Director and Managing Editor of Ecopreneurist, Priti has been instrumental in growing the site into a notable social business resource.Specializing in her ability to work with impact organizations from the ground up, Priti has developed successful business and communications strategies for fledgling start-ups, social and environmental enterprises. She also serves as a sustainability consultant at GreenDen consultancy and advises on CSR and the triple bottom line. Priti is a Professional Engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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