PARTNERING WITH YOUR CLIENTS, AND MEANING IT!
On your website or in your corporate communications, you may use the word ‘partner’ when you talk about your clients. But, would your clients agree? Do they see you as a true partner in their business?
If you really do believe in partnership, there’s a way to make it a reality instead of wishful thinking. Co-creation through brainstorming will put your people in the same room with your clients’ people, with the express intent of co-creating programs, solutions, and initiatives that benefit everyone.
Designed and facilitated by Marilyn Barefoot, co-creation guarantees big ideas and invariably leads to better team dynamics.
New ideas are the fuel that drives your business forward. If you do not harness the creative power of your own team and the insights of your clients, you risk lost sales, market share and, more importantly, the ability to stand head and shoulders above your competitors.
You cannot hope to create unique and breakthrough ideas in a vacuum. Nor can you expect to delight your clients through relevant and exciting big ideas without a deep and visceral understanding of the inner workings of their business. Your clients know more than they can ever tell you in a ‘brief’!
That’s why Co-creation should include team members from all aspects of your client’s business; purchasing, marketing, merchandising, logistics, supply chain and management in the process. By putting everyone together in a room, your team gets a 360 degree view of your client’s business and business objectives.
Quality Time Together:
You can only Co-create truly big ideas when you put the right stakeholders on a partnership footing. You must create time and space together in a neutral, non-threatening setting with electronics set on silent.
The time together must be orchestrated carefully and professionally to invite everyone’s creativity, as well as their business insights and expertise. Marilyn Barefoot is the best in the business at exciting, cajoling, and inspiring cross functional teams to work together in pursuit of truly breakthrough ideas.
Every session is different, aligned and designed specifically to address each party’s goals, number of attendees, time imperatives, and budget. Not only does Co-creation brainstorming produce guaranteed results, the process exhilarates and refreshes everyone who attends.
When a national brand and a major retailer spend quality time together:
One of Marilyn’s more recent Co-creation sessions involved a well-established brand and one of Canada’s largest retail chains. The brand had recently signed an exclusive national distribution agreement with the retailer and was ratcheting up its marketing to meet aggressive revenue targets.
The brand retained the services of Barefoot Brainstorming to design and facilitate a half day session at an offsite location involving the key stakeholders from both organizations. The morning consisted of a series of creative exercises designed to uncover untapped opportunities, and to work as a team to generate big ideas for the category.
At the end of the 4 hour session, they had revised and strengthened the marketing calendar for the balance of the year, by adding a series of new big ideas, as well as, several tactical and anti-competitive strikes.
Both brand and retailer considered the time and format outstandingly productive. In fact, the retailer suggested that the co-creation process be rolled out as a road show annually so that every region could participate.
The relationship between brand and retailer rose to a new level. After working and innovating together, a unique bond was formed. A far more open and collaborative approach to business was now the way of the future. Other departments observed the success of co-creation and are now incorporating this methodology as a best practice in planning.
And the joint objective of building revenues? Sales have become significantly stronger since the session and implementation of the new plan.
Co-creation definitely produces maximum ROI (Return On Innovation)!