Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why DEW Labs Will Suceed

Yesterday a blogger, Lori Luechtefeld of iMedia, made an interesting observation about DEW labs and the potential for market failure. This is what she said in The Disappearing Line Between Marketers and Product Designers:

In 2010, Mountain Dew will roll out three products developed, designed, and even named by soft drink lovers themselves. Accomplished through the use of social media, dedicated websites, and on-the-street and in-home trials, the products -- if nothing else -- will truly represent the voice of the consumer (at least, the most passionate consumers, that is).

Even the look and messaging surrounding the products were crowd sourced, reports MediaPost. The process took place largely at a website called Dew Labs, where a community of 4,000 brand fans selected colors, messaging, and even created commercials promoting their favorite new flavors. Which begs the question: Who then is to blame should the new products debut to the sound of crickets?

Listening to and reacting to the voice of the consumer is certainly more important than ever. But which consumers should be the ones who dictate the future offerings of your brand? Will the 4,000 consumers most passionate about your brand end up creating and marketing a product that appeals to only themselves? Or can brand fanatics conceive of and build new offerings with broader mass appeal?

I think Lori makes an excellent point about the potential for failure when wild consumers are left to make key decisions. I am a DEW Labs member, have kept a close eye on the way things are run there, and I have learned a lot. I am not a marketing or corporate insider, so all of this has been new and fascinating to me.

The MediaPost press release makes it sound like DEW Labs members have total control, which is far from the truth. Actually, members are given a palette of choices of which any would produce acceptable results. Even then, decisions made are subject to overrule by the moderators (using the Legal Dept. as a scape goat). The idea here is to give the DEW labs members the FEELING like they are in total control, while the real control stays with the brand team. Also, think about the key choices NOT made by DEW Labs... the original flavors to choose from, and the palette of colors to choose from. The names were generated within the community, but the ones voted on were not necessarily the most popular to begin with. DEW labs takes the best of the consumer - their creativity - and combines it with the best of the trained marketer - foresight and restraint.

No comments:

Post a Comment