I can almost hear you think: What the hell is E-850??? And why is it a curious case?? I will answer those questions in a minute.
For now, imagine yourself working for a company where you have to transform raw materials into unfinished products, day in day out. These products often travel down the value chain three or four steps before they reach the End User. A lot of people are unfamiliar with your products and your brands and are unaware that it is in fact, your company that is responsible for the unique values of many products they use every day. Then, one day, you get a request from one of the business managers of your company, (because he heard about Crowd Sourcing and Open Innovation) to set up a project that uses online tools that will help him finalize the development of a new product. What would you do? I asked myself this question and came up with the solution below.
In this post I would like to share some recent experiences and learnings on the topics of Crowd Sourcing, Online Collaboration and Open Innovation which I gained while developing this case.
The Curious Case of E-850
DSM Neoresins is a company that is part of Royal DSM and produces world class resins. Resins are half fabricates being used in end products like paint, glue, etc… If this already sounds boring to you, imagine that you get a request from this company to assist in developing an online crowd sourcing case for a product called ‘E-850’, that is a pretty big challenge! Fortunately, the story about this product is very interesting and I found out that it does not matter what kind of product you are talking about. It all depends on the way you tell it to your audience.
In the online environment it is essential to gain the attention of your reader and make sure that he continues reading till he at least fully comprehends the content of the story. We needed help in order to finish the E-850 product, so in our case this meant that we wanted the reader to understand the product and our problem. The reader than had to decide ‘I know a potential solution to this problem’ and respond, or ‘I know somebody that could help solve this problem’ and forward it. To accomplish this, I created a slideshow that had to tell a story that was interesting enough for a broad audience, but in the same time contained enough information for the technical readers to get excited about the challenge.
The result: almost three thousand people have read the case! We have found the desired solution and made some sales of other products along the way because people got to learn about the company. And besides that, we gained a lot more attention to our brand in a world where it did not exist. However, we also learned that using tools and channels in the way we did (in the presentation we used a lot of visuals, no bullet points, only ten slides max and spread the word via online channels) only reaches a limited audience. There is a huge group, especially in the scientific environment that loves data, pie charts and stories told in bullet point presentations. So perhaps we reached this audience but we did not accomplish to tell them our complete story, because of the simple fact that their brain responds to different triggers than for example marketeers. We took these learnings by heart while preparing our next online crowd sourcing case and this time we hope to reach a broader audience and tap into a bigger potential crowd. You can expect to see it online somewhere in the coming weeks! Of course you will find it here on stevenzwerink.nl!