Crowdsourcing amongst customers: Giving companies an easier life

Crowdsourcing amongst customers makes the jobs of companies easy
Photo by James Cridland

On first look, it might appear as though some of the biggest brands in the world just employee some of the most innovative individuals in the world.

Of course, when you consider how popular crowdsource software has become, that is certainly the case a lot of the time.

However, brands are also finding a similar crowdsourcing approach very fruitful. While crowdsourcing within an organization can be extremely effective, so is turning to your existing customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of brands turning into their customer base to get the most out of innovation.


If you cast your mind back to 2014, you might remember McDonalds giving you the chance to create your own burger. It was all done online and over time, other customers started to vote for which burger was their favorite.

Those burgers that did come out on top were released, along with information about the creator. Suffice to say, the company wasn’t short of submissions and this was probably one of the easiest ways they have ever promoted innovation.


While McDonalds may have been successful a couple of years ago, an even better example of this approach occurs with Lego. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that Lego are leaders when it comes to getting their customers involved in innovating products.

Through their Ideas initiative, they allow users to submit their own product ideas. Again, other users vote and those that get the most votes are eventually produced. Furthermore, there’s a huge opportunity for the creator to cash in here – they are given a 1% royalty on net revenue.


Airbnb are grabbing headlines all around the world at the moment – and it’s no surprise why. Their business model is transforming the travel industry, although they also did their bit for the advertising industry though an ingenious crowdsourcing idea.

In 2013, they approached their users and asked for various video submissions on their properties and local surroundings. With all of the short clips, they were able to join the very best together and immediately put together an advert for the small screen.

We don’t need to speculate on the amount of money Airbnb saved through this campaign – but it would be fair to say that they did their brand image plenty of favors in the process as well.


This next concept didn’t help create a particularly innovative product – but it was another great crowdsourcing example that grabbed the world’s attention.

Citroen are the company in question and once again it was a case of asking their customers to “design” a product. This time, the product was much bigger than a burger or Lego toy and came in the form of a car. Users had countless options to choose from, focusing on six areas of the car.

Again, a voting system was used and with tens of thousands of combinations to choose from, a fairly basic black car was created.

A huge marketing ploy? Maybe so, but again, it’s crowdsourcing amongst customers.