|With the advent of increased connectivity, crowdsourcing has been used to accomplish countless goals including branding. But should such an important part of a company be left up to anonymous masses?
At the national level
With crowdsourcing having become a firmly embedded practice for brands, the concept is still being applied to all levels all the way up to and including branding whole countries. For one, the United Arab Emirates recently decided on a new logo and slogan, “Make it happen.”
Thankfully, to do that, it didn’t task citizens of the world with actually submitting new designs, but rather by voting for one of three logos. In the end, the design that won out was a seven-line map of the UAE (representing each of the emirates) in the red, green and black colors of the national flag after scoring the majority of 10.6 million votes cast.
It’s also not the only country to seek out the public in helping to brand itself: Back in 2016, New Zealand got as far as choosing a new design for its flag — one that replaces the Union Jack on it with the silver fern, another strong national symbol — out of a staggering 10,000 designs and then out of a long list of 40. In the end, however, that winning design by Kyle Lockwood didn’t pass the national vote between switching to his flag and keeping the original (his scored 43.1%). The cost to not rebrand in this case? $26 million New Zealand Dollars, or almost $17 million American dollars.
It’s trickier than it seems
We’re no strangers to the notorious design contest and unpaid spec work, but is all crowdsourcing done this way? Looking around the Internet, it doesn’t seem so simple. Taken at face value, crowdsourcing simply means leveraging the resources of a large group of outside parties to achieve a certain goal.
But even when we narrow it down to crowdsourced branding, it’s still not that simple because depending on the context, a brand is sourcing different elements that will eventually contribute to producing something carrying the brand message or image:
For our take on when to use crowdsourced branding, check out the rest of this Analysis on our website.
- Opinion: much like the above examples with voting on pre-selected choices, this outsources the decision making power for the voting period depending on whether you decide to agree with the results, or reject it simply because you don’t like the most popular choice.
- Ideas: similarly with calls for suggestions or responses to prompts (such as asking questions on Instagram), this outsources the creativity and the time it takes to write a suggestion or submit an idea that could be implemented immediately, not at all or far into the future.
- Content: just like ideas, crowdsourcing content is popular with contests, campaigns and ads, because the participation is once again voluntary and intrinsically motivated, leading to a large number of high quality submissions.
- Assets: this is where much of the focus on crowdsourced branding lies, particularly with logos and understandably so, because we can clearly see where it results in quantifiable rejected designs, wasted hours and lost compensation.