Brand-consumer collaborations, the perfect symbiosis
In a world where change is inevitable, and the pace at which things change unpredictable, the ability to be responsive is the new competitive advantage. A collaborative mindset is thereby vital for brands to surf this wave of change and develop a relevant offering.
In this blogpost, Thomas Troch, Senior Business Director at InSites Consulting in the US, shares his work with Anheuser-Busch, that structurally collaborates with consumers to co-create beverages of the future.
With a background in product design, I’ve always been intrigued by identifying unmet consumers needs and developing valuable solutions. Today I support these processes by facilitating collaborations between brands and their consumers. It’s the perfect symbiosis; people are excited to think along, while in a world that is changing faster than ever before, brands need to ensure they stay relevant.
Over the past years, I worked with the Anheuser-Busch team in the US to do just that. The pinnacle of this collaboration is their yearly innovation event ‘iWeek’, centered around consumer collaboration to co-create relevant new beverage ideas that fulfil unmet needs. In recent years, consumers have joined forces with Anheuser-Busch in many shapes and forms; from sharing their daily lives and frictions, to sharing new ideas, giving feedback on ideas and even tasting new beverages.
One example of a recent innovation is Social Club Seltzer, a sparkling (or carbonated) water enriched with alcohol. Here in the US, the hard seltzer category has seen a meteoric rise in recent years. Its appeal lies in its low content of carbs, sugar and calories. Social Club Seltzer’s take on hard seltzer is refreshing, yet complex – a cocktail for those looking for more refined flavors.
For the launch, Anheuser-Busch asked designers, writers, filmmakers, producers and all-around creative hustlers to help build Social Club’s first marketing push. The decision to reach out to the general public for assistance came from the insight that the best way for a brand to create content that connects with its intended audience is to get members of that audience to create the content themselves. Selected collaborators are invited to support the creation of specific ideas and deliver concrete content. Some may even get selected to become a longer-term Anheuser-Busch collaborator.