Your Audience Is Your Superpower
Much has been written about the power of your audience to transform your business, help you reach your goals or just simply buy your product. But whatever your business, I’ll bet there are times when you’ve found it hard to reach them, let alone harness their power.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was witnessing the rise of the micro-influencer… that active social-media type who had a modest, but nevertheless engaged and powerful following.
Working with a small group of young people, all with a micro-following, Latimer workshopped a script around all the significant moments in their normal lives that could shine a light on how healthy is their mental health.
When I first experienced the power of co-creation, it was on a shoot as a media agent with an experienced marketer working on ‘Time to Change’, the mental health charity.
These days mental health is part of the national conversation but that wasn’t the case back in 2014 – hard to imagine now that her brief was relatively new and she had a massive job on her hands.
Opening up the creative process in this way allowed them, the audience, to craft the narrative and how powerful it became as a result.
From that first introduction to the power of co-creation I was sold!
Co-creation is a craft not to be taken lightly – it would be so easy to ask the audience and end up with the much maligned ‘vanilla’ responses.
To Truly Co-Create, There are Three Imperatives
The first and most obvious is to listen.
In a Latimer Lab workshop, this is organised but not always obvious – often it’s the throw away comment or the naysayer or the chat at the coffee bar that may throw up the most valuable insight – so really listen, not just to the organised feedback session after the workshop.
From experience, upon questioning a group of school kids about their sleep patterns for Public Health England, the comment ‘I stay up until my eyes bleed’ truly stood out.
So extreme was this thought that it led us to an outlandish creative approach which asked Roman Kemp to stay awake for 36 hours and monitor the results.
That one individual gave us the germ of the creative idea that is now part of resilience education across the country.
Listening is a learnt and practised co-creation skill.
Second, we question – once we’ve heard the audience, we need to examine what they’ve told us. Probing our co-creators for more allows us to further extend the creative idea, plus we have on hand experienced research analysts to help.
On developing ideas for the BBC’s Body Positive campaign, we heard our co-creators’ lack of self esteem, but also their friends’ incredulity at this.
Putting the two together meant our best friends could build each other up, praising each other both physically and emotionally, demonstrating the positive power of that.
Often, questioning the nuances between different geographies is fascinating.
For Unilever’s Simple, collaborating with two groups of co-creators in London and New York, resulted in fascinating differences of their take on ‘kindness’, albeit this is not unusual.
Questioning the insights we gather often tells us a global campaign must take on different geographical cultural references.
Third, we keep talking – it became apparent early in Latimer’s journey that to truly co-create, we needed an ‘always-on’ community with whom we could continually gather insights, test concepts and develop content.
Not only that, this community would ultimately supercharge our social media outreach through their advocacy with their specific peer group.
For this reason, we built the proprietary Bulbshare app, now a thriving digital community in its own right.
Bulbshare allows us to keep the conversation active and to continually examine our assumptions and our creative approach.
We first used Bulbshare when the BBC were transitioning BBC Three to digital, in order to involve young people around the UK in developing the BBC’s social media campaign.
We also gathered a group of co-creators in Bulbshare to create content for Vodafone’s Voxi launch, ensuring a loyal group of advocates who reached 90% of 16-24 year olds across the UK with the brand messaging in six months.
What's Next for Co-Creation?
If you truly want to harness your superpower, work with us to reach, engage and mobilise your audience and if you do, we guarantee you will open up a whole new conversation that will genuinely transform your business.