4.3 Research Question 2 (RQ2): Does brand co-creation exist in UK media
4.3.2 The role of brand co-creation within UK media organisations
140 lack of ability of brand management to shift from the traditional linear approach to a more participatory branding environment.
Overall, this insight partially corroborates with the conceptual framework, which conveyed that brand management practices would support the incidence of brand co- creation activities. From the data, the absence of media brand co-creation activities from a minority of the organisations does however present some challenge to this framework. This challenge can be explained by further findings in 4.3.3 which looks at the rationale for UK media organisations facilitating (or not) media brand co- creation.
141 This research adds understanding about the role of media brand co-creation in UK media organisations, building on the limited research to date both within and outside of the UK media industry.
From the data it was found that the role of media brand co-creation in the majority of UK media organisations was tactical. The analysis identified that media brand co- creation was being used in a tactical way for two reasons; to aid in research and to help in the creation of content.
The role of tactical media brand co-creation activity was identified to help with research, providing input or feedback on existing organisational ideas.
This point is illustrated in the following respondent quotations:
“get people in, users in (planned), and talk about particular product, problems or challenges or things they’re thinking about doing and getting their direct instant feedback (input) on what that is…Managing (planned) that
collaboration and asking for specific input (input) on specific things.’’
Senior Product Manager, BBC iplayer
“we do a lot of work (planned) into speaking to that audience as well, either about the brand or about specific series or programme …they go to regularly to discuss programming (input).”
Head of Production, 4Music
The data also indicated that co-creation was used to create content to support brands:
“ We’re gonna start creating brand ambassador roles (planned). So, I mean it’s little kiddies that are gonna be our brand ambassadors, but they sort of help co-create our social content (content) in a way.’’
Strategy Director, Walker
142 Although the majority of media brand co-creation activities were planned, some
instances were identified from the data which were unplanned and resulted in UK media organisations responding to the activity in order to harness the value. This can be seen from the following respondent:
“You know, a lot of the time with social media we get feedback (input) on,
“Wish this feature could do this? Wish this feature could do that?” and we do take all of that onboard (co-create)…’There’s constant rapport of our ears listening to what people are saying …it can come in lots of different ways of how we co-operate together (unplanned/co-create).’’
Senior Product Manager, BBC iplayer
Although from a smaller number of the respondents, media brand co-creation was also seen to have a strategic role in media organisations:
“So the vision is, is that no product or brand—no brand can develop a product or service without involving (co-creation) the consumer right from the start of the value chain (strategic, planned)… So the work we do with Nestle is across five different markets, in three different continents and it’s with 10,000 different consumers in five different markets, all of which are co-creating the future (co-creation, strategic) for Nestle. “
Founder and MD, Latimer
Within those UK media organisations that used media brand co-creation strategically, it was also identified that in a small number of instances the activity was used in the recruitment and development of future talent. This was not evident in tactical media brand co-creation activity.
“We have got a scheme (strategic, planned) called “Give Me a Voice” which goes out to look for young filmmakers (recruitment) in the UK, and we help to develop (develop) them. So, they come to us with an initial idea say and then we’ll help to develop an idea with them (co-creation)”
Senior Production Manager, BBC 3
“Where we do co-creation (co-creation), is with recruitment (recruitment).
So we spend a lot of time with university students, with schools, give back
143 programmes that work with young people. But ultimately what we’re doing there is finding out – yes, we get a little bit of fresh eyes on the stuff we’re doing – but we’re kind of going: ‘What do they want out of an employer?
(strategic) Why do they want to work for the agency? (recruitment) What do they think we are?’’
Senior Strategist, RAPP
It was also identified from the data that UK media organisations adopt different roles in which to facilitate co-creation. From the data, evidence indicated that UK media organisations predominately focused on the processes around information gathering or joint development of content and marketing material. This can be seen from the following respondent:
“kind of managing that collaboration (collaboration) and asking for specific input on specific things”.
Senior Product Manager, BBC i-player
Although limited, there were examples of specific experiences and events that were facilitated in order that media audiences and users would feel nurtured and part of something:
“we’ve done a few walk on parts (experiences), we’re going to be doing something for ‘Game of Thrones’ like a really big celebratory event (experiences) for lots of VIP customers as part of the end of ‘Game of Thrones’”
Marketing Director, Sky
What we can see clearly from the data is that the majority of media co-creation activities are planned and tactical, yet there was evidence that they also had a more strategic role. This is in alignment with the ‘co-creation continuum’ work by Ind et al.
(2017) which identified a scale of co-creation activities from tactical to strategic. The
144 data also identified that media brand co-creation can be used tactically and
strategically in two ways: as a research tool; and to help create content which supports the media brand.
Identifying that brand co-creation is used as a research tool to provide input or
develop ideas, concurs with existing literature (Kennedy and Guzman 2016; Ind et al.
2017; Malmelin and Villi 2017). These findings therefore add support that ideation generation, feedback and input is the dominant purpose of media brand co-creation.
Co-creation was also found to help create content to build a media brand. This partially supports the work of Frow et al. (2015) which considered co-creation in designing and producing services and products. The key difference with the findings from this data is that the content which was co-created remained with the UK media organisation and was not something which then created a bespoke product or service for a user. This use of co-creation for brand content creation does however align with the limited literature from the media industry (Malmelin and Villi 2017).
Insight from the data found that strategic brand co-creation activity was identified to have an important additional remit over and above that seen in tactical activity, in that it could be used to involve and nurture future employees and talent. This can be seen in part to support the work from Hatch and Schultz (2010) and their investigation into how Lego utilised co-creation to harness fans to temporarily work in the organisation.
It also supports recent academic work by Punjaisri and Wilson (2017) that not only reconfirmed the importance of employees in the branding process, but also identified the need for the Human Resources function of an organisation to become more attune to putting the brand ethos at the centre of the recruitment drive and talent development.
145 Although the majority of media brand co-creation activities were planned, there was also evidence of unplanned activity. These instances were all tactical in nature and were research orientated involving stakeholders ‘providing input’. Although these activities began unplanned, as a result of them UK media organisations put in place structures and processes to deal with them. This concurs with existing literature which identified organisations becoming more active to respond to unplanned co- creation activity (Hatch and Schultz 2010; Malmelin and Villi 2017). It also lends support to earlier research which identified an innovative design process within the brand management system is needed to embrace band co-creation (Payne et al.
2009; Ind et al. 2017).