Ben & Jerry’s Has Open Innovation Licked

June 12, 2013 By IdeaConnection

789px-BenJerry-UnitedSquareBen & Jerry’s is at it again with another neat crowdsourcing initiative.  In a project dubbed “City Churned” the ice cream maker is turning to city locals for flavor ideas that best represent their town.

Five cities have been chosen to kick off the project – Washington DC, New York, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco – and each one has its own microsite for votes.

In part, the flavors will be decided by a simple tallying of votes, but they’ll also be decided on what citizens do.

For example, Ben & Jerry’s filmed joggers in Washington DC, and those that went in one direction counted as a vote for marshmallow, while joggers going in the other direction were a vote for peppermint.

To keep things local Ben & Jerry’s will partner with local businesses to source ingredients.

Do the World a Flavor

Ben & Jerry’s has previously enjoyed success with crowdsourcing and co-creation initiatives. The ‘Do the World a Flavor’ competition asked the consumers to come up with their own unique ice cream variety.  Not only did it generate new, creative ice cream flavors, but the contest was a useful global platform for the company to talk about its intention to move to a fair trade business model.

Such contests are good illustrations of the power and benefit of open innovation tactics.

Crowdsourcing contests can:

  • Provide excellent marketing opportunities and positive word of mouth
  • Maximize consumer engagement by giving customers a say in the products they love/support
  • Generate ideas (though if a contest is not managed well it can lead to a plethora of poorly conceived ideas)
  • Create new products
  • Attract new consumers

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