I do sometimes find that when you study a specific niche such as PR, you can become ever so slightly blinded to your industry. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing, I study a specialist subject to become a specialist in one area. I am learning about a small part which feeds into a much larger industry but a part that could be described as niche. However, that niche does mean that often I am looking at things from a particular PR angle. It’s always good to open your mind to other possibilities in order to learn and grow as a professional.
Last night, I attended the annual Mike Warne event organised by Bournemouth University and the Chartered Institute of Marketing to learn all about co-creation, what that means and how it fits into marketing & business today. It was a truly insightful talk, focusing around the charitable, gaming and alcoholic drink sectors and really got me thinking about the way that we work. I took away a number of key messages relating to the idea of co-creation but one particular message from Will from the RNLI really resonated with me and got me thinking about the way we work.
“Talk to people” and “Envision a future together”
This quote related to Will’s campaign where multiple people from multiple disciplines came together to create a campaign in order to try and increase water safety. This included disciplines such as architecture which at first does sound weird. What would architects have to do with water safety on the coast? This isn’t about the discipline on its own but the way that it can bring in another way of thinking. Architects may look at a coastline differently to a marketer or a Public Relations professional. Not everyone is skilled in one thing, we all have our talents which highlighted the need for co-creation and co-working.
This year, for the first time in my degree I have been working with students from Marketing Communications, Marketing and Advertising. The way we all create campaigns for assignments is so different. The way we approach problems is different. The way we think can be different. To add some context, for an assignment this year we had to create a corporate sponsorship campaign for AFC Bournemouth. What I found was that in creating this campaign, all of our differences worked together to think creatively, solving the brief at hand. The girls came up with points that I might not have considered if I was looking at it from a purely PR perspective. I enjoyed being able to co-create a piece of work with other disciplines and I guess this links back to placement too. One thing I liked about being in house was the ability to work with other disciplines and learn about how they all feed into each other. I loved understanding each function and how they individually contributed to the same goal. It makes you think in different ways and opens your mind to ideas you might not have considered.
The second part that intrigued me was when Charlie from Global Brands and Mike from Game Brain spoke about consumers co-creating with brands. It got me thinking about how when devising campaigns aimed at specific consumers, sometimes bringing the consumers closer to the brand can have stronger effects. Charlie spoke about getting a brand under consumers skin and relating to it on a personal level. The idea of bringing consumers into a brand such as creating a new flavour for a drink or creating their own Lego set is an interesting way of working and keeping the target audience engaged.
The whole event has widened my mind to the way I personally work myself, and with others. Co-creation is so important on a number of levels within the PR & Marketing worlds but it is something that I hadn’t really thought about in too much detail. When you are a student learning about an industry, it is so important to be able to relate back to what is actually happening right now in the industry. It is important to stay relevant and be aware of current trends and predictions. Therefore, listening to this talk definitely made me think about how co-creation can be used in creative campaigns and the many benefits it brings.
There is such a power in co-creation. Using different insights, talents and parts of the business model to work together for the same goals. PR’s, Marketing professionals, architects, academics, consumers, you name it. They all bring different things. But bring these aspects together and you truly have something special.