On trends: Crowdsourcing…

It is difficult to deny that a practice has become a trend when it’s a part of the Super Bowl, or to be more clear, part of Super Bowl advertisements. This year, what was rated one of the best ads of the Super Bowl, was made by amateurs. Even more astonishing, the ad cost less that $15 dollars to produce, while the spot it ran in cost millions. How did this happen? Crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is a business practice and model that “capitalizes on the wisdom of the masses,” according to BusinessWeek. Effectively, instead of putting a contract out for bid to a few vendors, companies put it out to everyone through mass communication channels. Most of the time, it’s a contest rather than an actual ‘contract.’ So, in the example of the Super Bowl commercial, Doritos partnered with Yahoo! and charged the general public with the task of creating a riveting advertisement. The prize? Your ad on TV. Another more consistent (and maybe more tangible) example is the hipster clothing company Threadless.com, which prints and sells t-shirts designed by people on its website.

If pink is the new black, and 40 is the new 30, then crowdsourcing is the new outsourcing. But is it right for you? If you are interesting in the concept, BusinessWeek has some tips that you can follow. Broken down, there are four definitive rules:

  1. Define the challenge/problem as clearly and as detailed as possible.
  2. Be sure you are marketing your challenge to the correct audience. There are a number of mass marketing channels (both global & local) you can employ to reach your target audience – make sure you are using the correct one.
  3. Make sure you have good “filters (people)” in place to sort through all of the ideas and locate the gems. Your team should know your goal as well as you do.
  4. Create a community around the challenge/problem.

And remember, crowdsourcing can be applied on both a local and a global scale!


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