Clorox is doing some exciting things in community management. It was one of the first major brands to integrate gaming mechanics into its forums, and its latest initiative is designed to get fans, customers and professionals to submit ideas to build new and better products.

In his recent BlogWell presentation, Clorox’s Greg Piche walked the audience through this “co-creation” process.

Though it’s still early in the project, Piche was able to share great ideas and take-aways based on what the company has learned.

  • People love to do this. Piche and his team have found that when asked, people love to share ideas, and they feel valued when they’re encouraged to do so. They’re eager to talk about features that frustrate them, things they like and how something could be made better.
  • This works best in private, owned communities. Clorox created a private community in which it invites members to participate in co-creation projects. Here, it’s easier to manage the conversation, meet legal requirements and post “challenges” that generate idea submissions.
  • LinkedIn is a great tool to find co-creators. Clorox recruits a diverse base of fans to join its co-creation community from Twitter and Facebook — but the company has had the most success with LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn’s filtering tools, Clorox is able to find designers, artists, MBAs, Ph.D.s and other folks with passion and training that make them great at collaborative design.

Watch Piche’s presentation. (slides available here)

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6 responses to “Andy's Answers: How Clorox is getting fans involved in product innovation”

  1. Sophie says:

    Is there somewhere we can access the powerpoint he is pointing to?

  2. Andy,

    I think your points are spot on – heck, I'd like to be involved in some of these types of things. However, since I have not been asked, I guess I will need to do some research on LinkedIn search processes.

    Thinking towards the future, if all brands start to do this kind of thing are we going to end up in a situation where it is too overwhelming? Nobody can co-create on 30 things at once, presumably.

    What will be the difference between brands that get this type of participation vs. those that don't? First-mover advantage, better marketing, other?
    My recent post Opportunity, Opportunity Everywhere

  3. julespieri says:

    I am avidly watching how all of these co-creation activities, from Innocentive to Communispace communities to Quirky are resulting in democratizing innovation. It's one of the most exciting developments in business…not quite as big as the development of the web, but getting close. Sometimes big companies are leveraging the minds of many and I do agree with Andy that there is a first mover advantage for smart companies like Clorox. That is…until someone comes up with a sexier appeal or PR story to attract co-creation adherents.

    The other lens on this kind of innovation is co-creation to actually create a new way to distribute products. Getting them designed is only half the battle. Companies big and small really struggle to get their better mousetrap in the hands of people. Getting them financed and distributed is thus really the harder part. Big companies have the advantage of retail relationships, but the smaller guys have been really hurt by the consolidation of big box stores. We are losing our independent and specialty retail, which is the lifeblood of new products. That's where Kickstartr (funding) and Daily Grommet (distribution and awareness) are really innovating. Full on business model innovation is required to really respond to the flood of new product development that is happening all around us. Most of these great products never see the full light of day, but we can actually change that, with co-creation in distribution and with businesses that enable regular people to participate in deciding which products and companies succeed. (Full disclosure…I am co-founder of Grommet.)

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