Research & Development Meets Social Media

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Product innovation moves beyond a company's four walls to get customers involved in the process.

Customers have always been a great resource for companies looking to improve upon or create new products and services. And now that social media has been widely adopted, many customers actually expect to participate in the process. What started as a growth in user-generated content has expanded into the product world as companies like Aflac, Dunkin Donuts, and LG Mobile letting customers drive their product innovation.Today's issue of 1to1 Magazine shows companies that aren't afraid to give consumers some control of their future. By leveraging "mass influencers," a company can co-create products and services with buzz and high rates of adoption.

In the article, Mila D'Antonio discusses how Aflac, launched its first user-generated video contest called the "10-Second Challenge." The competition, posted on Facebook and, encourages consumers to submit 10-second videos explaining what the name "Aflac" means to them. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 and the nine finalists will each get $1,000.

LG is also holding a contest that gives consumers the chance to design the next LG mobile phone. The top three finalists will receive $20,000, $10,000, and $5,000 along with various design software.

Examples like these show that innovation does not live solely within a company's walls. Those that include customers in the process may receive great ideas, along with social media buzz once the product is released. A little prize money can go a long way to sustaining a great business and a great relationship with customers.