Markets & Trends

Co-creation: Towards a novel innovation strategy?

Co-creation: Towards a novel innovation strategy?

Kristel Milet
10 January 2022
Co-creation: Towards a novel innovation strategy?

In the footsteps of indie brands and social networks, the idea of placing the female consumer at the heart of the creation process for a cosmetic product resonates with many of today’s values: Targeting expectations, transparency, collaborative approach, customisation. Gratifying for the customer, innovative for the brand, the approach is already proposed by several platforms, including Nidéco and Crème de Toi.

Launched two years ago by Simon Ménard, the Nidéco platform relies exclusively on its female consumers to develop its product range. "Our 10-years’ experience in the cosmetic sector showed us that things were not necessarily done by our values. Most of the time, the product had to appeal to the retailer first and foremost, leaving the final consumer aside. Hence, we felt that we needed a more straightforward brand, we wanted to create THE brand for female consumers. In this case, they provide the project, select it and support it. The idea is also to redistribute differently the value created," he explains.

A collective process

The idea behind Nidéco is based entirely on this interaction. A call for projects is launched on the site. Consumers respond and submit their ideas for products, often based on a specific issue for which they found no answer on the market. One to two projects are selected per month and put to the vote. The idea validated by at least 2000 voters will directly trigger the formulation process with constant consultation of the community.

"At this point, we start co-developing the project via Instagram with people who might be interested (4000 to 5000 people). Since the beginning, with nearly 80,000 people, 20 projects have been co-created, of which 16 became sales products to date," adds Simon Ménard.

The community is involved in the marketing mix, the choice of packaging, texture, volume... A partner laboratory develops the formula with the approval of the co-creator who came up with the idea.

Value sharing

In this collaborative spirit, the concept leaves a lot of room for the sharing of the value generated. The co-creator receives an envelope of 500 euros when her idea is selected, then a 1500 euro cheque once 2000 votes have been reached. Finally, she receives 10% of the profits from the sale of her product. An unprecedented value creation process.

"We would also like to set up a system of ambassadresses, a sort of direct digital sales concept," adds the founder.

For the time being, the Nidéco range, which is currently only sold online, and consists to date of 16 references, will make its debut in January at Le Printemps in Paris (Nation and Grands Boulevards). The director also confirms the launch of the brand in the Middle East with the Chalhoub Group at the beginning of 2022, as well as an expansion in Europe via Amazon. "We will also make our debut on the Chinese market next spring via the social selling model, which is very popular in the country," he continues.

A precious decision-making tool

More recently, the Crème de Toi initiative is aimed at brands by offering them decision-making tools during the design and development phases.

"For brands, it is difficult to access a panel of consumers for regular exchanges. Crème de Toi is a platform for the co-creation of cosmetics, which positions the consumer as a decision-making aid for brands. He becomes a consumer-actor," explains Ranesha Goorochurn, cosmetology expert and founding partner with Pierre Guérineau, in charge of artistic direction, and Yazid Saïdi, the technical director, also founding partners.

"The idea is to put the consumer back at the centre of the cosmetic creation process, with confidence and transparency. It also allows showing the consumer the different steps to create a finished product. On the other hand, the brand will be able to test its ideas and its product and therefore correct its development if necessary," he specifies.

On social networks, the brand invites its community to be closely involved in the creative process, like "accomplices" by registering on a dedicated platform. Participants will then be able to interact on different successive product development stages: Analysis, conception, design, development, manufacturing and marketing.

"The brand will submit its product idea to consumers who in turn, will give the thumbs up or down for it, in the form of votes or comments. The first three stages are really about determining the expectations of consumers, on the ingredients, the texture, the pack, or any other matter that can be customised by the brand depending on its product, for example, the choice of a lipstick shade... This further improves the attractiveness of the project," adds the co-founder.

The 400 "accomplices" registered on the platform to date, have filled their profile in (skin type, hair type, age, needs, expectations, etc.). This data will allow the brand to evaluate and take into consideration those who best match its target. Once the specifications have been determined, a targeted panel will test and give feedback on a sample of the product which was sent to them.

Free since its launch last March, the platform will offer brands a monthly subscription system or à la carte packages from 2022.

The Crème de Toi team is now working on the next version, which will include a gamification system. Each interaction will result in points being earned, and ultimately products.

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