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Co-creation of Value - Collaborating with Customers [7]

[Co-creation is the purposeful action of partnering with strategic customers, partners or employees to ideate, problem solve, improve performance, or create a new product, service or business. Christine Crandell]

Customer focus no longer means just researching current and future needs to design expected or desire goods or service. A rising trend in business today is co-creating value with customers. Value is created when product and buyer come together within a particular use situation. Examples include retailers getting the customer involved in the shopping experience to save time (Home Depot’s self-checkout) or costs (IKEA’s assembly and delivery by customers), smart phone personalization through app selection, Dell’s online built-to-order computers, and management consultants collaborating with clients to add value in research projects. As the table below explains, co-creation of value has a dual emphasis on the customer and company as value creators. 

Value Creation and Marketing Opportunities

Marketing Strategy Market Emphasis Value-Creation Focus Corporate Examples
Market driven Established market Customer Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota
Market driving Emerging or imagined markets Company Google, IKEA, Virgin Group
Co-creation of value Established, emerging or imagined markets Customer and company (simultaneous) Amazon, Apple, LinkedIn

Co-creation of value can lower costs and improve the overall service experience. A great example of the new co-creation of value model is illustrated in the case of Crushpad, a Napa-Valley based winery. Crushpad’s value proposition is “Make Your Own Wine” and has transformed their business through technology. Consumers can participate on a limited to a full scale basis depending on their interest in the wine-making process. Some activities that customers engage in include creating a wine-making plan; monitoring the grapes; picking, crushing and fermenting the grapes; and even packaging the bottles. Support services include party planning, advice on wine creation and business guidance on how customers can sell their own wine. Websites, blogs and community events help spread the word about this unique type of co-creation of value.
Here are 6 questions to address as your company ponders the idea of co-creation of value:
1. Do you strive to continually exceed customer expectations?

2. Does your view of value creation go beyond the firm (to include the customer)?

3. Do you actively seek to create an extended community of users?

4. Is personalizing the customer experience a major part of your marketing strategy?

5. Is your marketing team truly obsessed with researching and improving customer experiences?

6. Do you nurture and forge enduring business relationships with customers and collaborators?

This blog post is the 7th in a series extracted from Superior Customer Value – Finding and Keeping Customers in the Now Economy, 4th Ed. (2019, Routledge Publishing/ Taylor & Francis). For further information contact Art Weinstein at, 954-309-0901, 


  1. The strategy of co-creation is effective in time and costs of the company, as stated above, and enhances the customers experience. For example, Warby Parker is an online retailer that sells glasses with prescription. The way it works is by obtaining customer contribution of having the client pick out 5 try at home for free frames and selecting the ones they like the best. The company offers free shipping back and an easy process of then proceeding and having the customer purchase the glasses they liked best online. Another co-creation process offered is having customer interactions on their website to help the buyer pick a pair of glasses if needed. I believe this business strategy of co-creation is creating more value between the company and customer.

    1. Warby-Parker is an excellent example of a direct-to-consumer value-creating company.

  2. In the end of the day, consumers seek options and flexibility along with superior services. Businesses that rely on customer retention must go above and beyond to expand their scope as well as obtain more customers by being flexible, informative and honest.


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