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The Power of Crowdsourcing for Food Companies

Crowdsourcing is a tool more and more companies are incorporating in their marketing efforts. One form of crowdsourcing entails outsourcing duties traditionally performed by employees or contractors to a group of people or a community. A recent Mashable article takes a look at three crowdsourcing campaigns from some pretty recognizable food and beverage companies.

Ben---Jerry-s-ben-and-jerrys-613380_1469_405The first is Ben & Jerry’s and its “Do the World a Flavor” campaign. Ben & Jerry’s was trying to raise awareness for its new fair trade ingredients. To do so, they created a virtual “Creation Station” where fans could invent their own B&J creations and “tap into [their] passion, creativity and their own interpretation of ‘Peace, Love and Ice Cream,’” said Sean Greenwood, public relations for B&J. The campaign was a success, with more than 10,000 new flavor suggestions from the U.S. alone.

dunkin-donutsThe second is Dunkin’ Donuts’ “Keep it Coolatta 2: Flavor Boogaloo.” Dunkin’ Donuts has asked fans previously to create the next Dunkin’ donut, but they tried something different for their new line of Coolatta drinks. Fans were asked to create a playlist of songs that summarized each flavor. The campaign netted 300,000 new Facebook fans, while over 40,000 Pandora users added “The ultimate Coolatta summer music mix!” to their list of stations, and spent nearly 14,000 hours listening to the station.

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And last, but definitely not least, is Coca Cola’s Glaceau vitaminwater with “Flavor Creator.” Coca Cola wanted to come up with a brand new flavor for a drink, so they created the Flavor Creator, allowing their fans to vote for their favorite flavor, play games and answer quizzes to help determine which “functional benefit” the beverage should offer. They even had their say on the design of the label. The campaign was a success, according to Matt Kahn, senior vice president of marketing for vitaminwater. “The vitaminwater flavor creator was a three month, three step program that allowed us to have a two way conversation with our consumers. We gave our fans the tools to help develop something they were passionate about. In the end, we heard loud and clear what it was that they wanted when it came to vitaminwater.”

With social media, marketing opportunities have never been better. Consumers are practically at your fingertips, and for a more-than-reasonable cost. Incorporating a crowdsourcing campaign, allowing those consumers to test out and help develop new products and flavors, can result in immediate feedback and can even help you save money in the preliminary stages of development. Not to mention the fact that involving consumers in the product development process will most likely up the chances that they become customers once your product hits the shelf. Leading us to agree that crowdsourcing is a win-win for both consumer and company.

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