Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
C 10: Corporate Social Media
Friday, 20/Mar/2015:
14:00 - 15:00

Session Chair: Anna Schneider, YouGov Deutschland AG
Location: Room 149
Fachhochschule Köln/ Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Claudiusstr. 1, 50678 Cologne


Social media and co-creation with the crowd – Success factors of idea contests in the consumer goods industry

Fabian A. Geise

Unitymedia KabelBW GmbH, Germany

Relevance & Research Question: The expansion of the internet offers companies the chance to realize open innovation strategies in collaboration with consumers. Crowdsourcing strategies can be carried out e.g. on intermediary innovation platforms (innocentive, atizo etc.) or on company-owned platforms (tchibo-ideas, mystarbucksidea etc.). While intermediary and company-owned platforms are focused on a constant generation of ideas from the users, another development has been seen over the last few years, especially in the consumer goods industry: so-called idea contests. This kind of web-based collaboration with consumers offers a further option for co-creation to generate ideas for new product development. Idea contests in the consumer goods industry are temporary projects/campaigns, which are carried out on a company-owned platform including social media (especially Facebook). The question arises in this context: how widespread are social-media based idea contests in the consumer goods industry and which success factors can be derived from idea contests that have already been realized.

Methods & Data: A content analysis of idea contest websites and Facebook sites of a dozen companies (McDonald’s, Beck’s etc.) was conducted. In addition open innovation literature and crowdsourcing blogs were analyzed.

Results: The results show the typical attributes of idea contests (scope of the task, types of incentives, idea generation process, tools for idea generation etc.). As success factors, three main factors with some underlying single success factors were discovered: (1) task content (two underlying single success factors: relevance of the idea generating task, simplicity of the idea generating task), (2) user orientation (two single success factors: definition of the right crowd, incentives to encourage participation) and (3) interaction competence (four single success factors: organizational structures and strategies to support interaction, credibility, transparency, fairness).

Added Value: Although there is a variety of studies with open innovation and co-creation with consumers as topics, no detailed study about social-media based crowdsourcing in the form of idea contests with special focus on success factors is available. The success factors show how to implement a successful social-media based crowdsourcing project/campaign with the aim to generate ideas for new product development in the field of consumer goods.

Social media as a driver of brand transparency: the effects of proactive disclosure on consumer behavior

Joris Demmers, Anne Sophie Erbé, Jet van Strijp, Claire Wientjes

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Relevance: In today’s digital era marketers no longer control the flow of information available to consumers, who increasingly rely on fellow consumers. As a results, companies, being used to presenting their products in a predominantly positive light, are pressured to be more transparent and proactively disclose both more and more balanced information. Indeed, surveys show that consumers prominently consider a brand’s level of transparency when making purchase decisions. However, disclosure also poses risks of exposure when information is not unambiguously positive. In a series of studies, we investigate how brands’ proactive disclosure of negative information through social media affects consumer perceptions and decision-making.

Method: We conducted two online auctions, one social media experiment, and a field study. For the auctions and the experiment, we exposed 896 participants to different conditions regarding information availability (present versus absent) and source (brand versus consumer review). For the field study, we asked 85 supermarket shoppers to taste one of two displayed products after having presented them with moderately negative information disclosed by varying sources.

Results: The auctions showed that people were willing to pay more when negative information was disclosed by the brand, both in comparison with a condition where the same information was disclosed in a consumer review and a condition in which the information was not disclosed. The experiment showed that people perceived information as both more positive and relevant when it was disclosed by the brand (versus a consumer review). Finally, in the field study people were more likely to choose the focal product when negative information was disclosed by the brand. This effect was mediated by perceived information valence and relevance, hence connecting results from the previous studies.

Added Value: This study demonstrates that proactive disclosure of relevant information positively affects consumer behavior, even when the information is negative. Moreover, the results show that information is more influential when it is proactively shared by brands, and offer insights into the mechanism underlying this counterintuitive effect. To companies, this study shows that transparency is not just an inevitable consequence of consumer empowerment in the digital era, but poses interesting new opportunities.

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