How crowdsourcing ideas helps businesses


Today, companies ‘crowdsource’ ideas not only to reduce costs, but also to increase creativity by leveraging outside ideas. Even companies like Toyota and Pepsico have used it! Crowdsourcing is a combination of two words, crowd, and outsourcing, first coined in 2006 by Wired magazine author Jeff Howe in one of his articles.

Brands like Oreo are as relevant today as they were more than 100 years ago. And engaging the customers has played a big role in this. Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday in a unique way in 2012, by posting 100 iconic and topical images under “The Daily Twist” campaign. On the 100th day, the brand asked the consumers to vote on the final twist. Although crowdsourcing is famous a marketing strategy, it has also become a go-to for ideation, content creation, and workload sharing in companies around the world.

Doritos is infamous for its crowd-sourced advertisements during the Super Bowl. American ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs asked crowd-sourced flavours! Closer home, Nestle’s Maggi noodles have used this method to make the customers a part of the brand story. In the past, even Apple has crowdsourced photos from regular people around the world. This was done to showcase how the iPhone has democratized the tech-space. Apple collated iPhone images shared via social media and ended up with shots from 77 people living in 24 countries. These shots were then displayed on bus stops, train stations, and billboards.

Sourcing suggestions and content from the crowd allows companies to harness the intelligence of hundreds of thousands of people at once, generating diverse ideas and sometimes also solving problems. Perhaps the oldest example is the ‘Connect and Develop’ programme by Proctor & Gamble (P&G), wherein more than 2000 ideas were sourced from individual creators.

Crowdsourcing may not suit all companies or every situation, but it can prove to be an effective method when you are seeking what the market wants. And with the right tools and vision, crowdsourcing can take a great idea to a great result!


Written by: Arushi Sharma


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