Papay: Democratization of brands is the industry's new normal

We've democratized our brands with technology.

Michael Papay
Michael Papay

Crowdsourcing ideas from employees and customers is not a new concept. What has changed is how easily we are able to engage them and how deeply we’ve invited both to participate in shaping brands and strategy – we've democratized our brands with technology.

New technology has not only miniaturized our feedback and innovation cycles, but it has also enabled brands to mobilize ambassadors and production in minutes outside of traditional channels, and cheaper than ever before.

Brand activism has recently focused on content creation. Frito-Lay’s Doritos Crash the Super Bowl is a great example. Since 2006, Frito-Lay has tapped into consumer ideas to produce these ads. In 2011-2012, it received more than 6,100 submissions and doled out more than $2 million in prize money. As a result 110 million people saw the winning commercial, the top ad of the game that year.

Recently, technology-driven crowdsourcing is making its way deeper into the business operations of brands, with organizations getting smarter about linking engagement to actual dollars. In 2013, Domino’s partnered with Waggl to uphold its speed-to-delivery brand promise. It crowdsourced best practices from US franchisees to determine the best methods for improving load and food prep times. These practices were then shared across the organization, making it easier for others to take action.

In July, Domino’s launched Pizza Mogul, a global menu determined by customers. It enables Domino’s to create a pizza from 1.4 million different variations on its online ordering system, rename, or change any existing pizzas on the menu, and then share the pizza on social media to get others to buy it through Domino’s. Customers who sell the most pocket anywhere between a few cents to a few dollars on each sale.

The democratization of brands is the new normal. Now is the time to focus on growing and engaging a brand community. Companies need to start developing a strategy that incorporates feedback from employees and customers. It’s got to be real time, authentic, and transparent. The good news is, all brands have a chance to create new beginnings and value – uber fast.  

Michael Papay is the cofounder and CEO of Waggl, a tool designed to source input and create engagement with audiences one question at a time.

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