Crowdsourcing your next car: more talk, more torque!
Thanks to social media, crowdsourcing has been embraced by the automotive industry as a platform for the more forward-thinking brands to engage with consumers. For car enthusiasts it also invites them to have a say on the direction of new products from their favourite car companies.
From the top of my head I can think of half-a-dozen real-life crowdsourced cars that have made production including the Fiat Mio, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Nissan Nismo, Citroën C1 Connexion.
From an automotive public relations perspective, crowdsourcing is an effective way for car brands to empower and engage with their communities and make them feel part of the process. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offer easy social platforms to engage limitless numbers of consumers.
However, handing over too much control to the consumer is something that goes against a long tradition of notable automotive designers carving their signature style into their creations. Since when has design by committee been a good thing? Names like Bertone and Giugiaro are responsible for some of the most iconic car profiles of all time. It brings to mind a famous – though probably misquoted – Henry Ford saying;[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”[/quote]
So marques need to strike a balance that ensures manufacturers retain their design heritage and identity, but at the same time open up the production process and involve the end user at each stage. It’s all about the economics of sharing.
As we move into the next industrial revolution where customising and bespoke becomes affordable and the standard, manufacturers will need to ensure individual preferences are tailored for. Cars may be mass market, but they’re sold to individuals and we don’t all want the same thing. Through a marriage of social networks and advanced production technology, car brands will be able to give the customer what they want but also be able to change it to how they want it.
Perhaps, like another famous Henry Ford pearl of wisdom, the reason why manufacturers should increasingly turning to their fans for crowdsourced innovation and ideas, is the access to limitless creativity;[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.[/quote]