As we described in article “Voice Of the Customer (VOC) vs Voice Of the Business (VOB)“, the Voice Of the Customer (VOC) technique can be use for (amongst others) product strategy moves like new markets, product innovation and discontinuation.
When I was watching television earlier this week, I can across a commercial where they took this one step further: the design and development of a new potato chips flavor by the Lays company.
The potato chip industry is one that keeps innovating and that is also very “in your face”. New products come (and disappear) quickly and you can follow trends just by walking around in your local supermarket. Let’s assume that for most new flavors the company uses surveys and interviews early in the process to determine direction, and later in the process a test audience to test the customer’s reaction.
Lays took it one step further in this case, though. For the design of their new potato chip flavor they did not suggest new flavors themselves, no, they asked their customers to do it for them. With a huge marketing campaign the commercials were created not for promoting their product, but for asking their customers to do so. They handed control into the customer’s hands.
When the new flavors were designed, they didn’t just pick one: they launched several after probably some sort of intern selection process. These new flavors were put on the market and they launched the second step of their campaign: attract the customers to vote for the new flavor. Yet again, the customer got to decide which new flavor they liked the most. The campaign had success: only in the Netherlands there were more than 400 000 votes! Lays created a competition among customers with success!
When the public picked their new flavor, which was “Lays Bicky Crisp” for Belgium, the third step of the marketing campaign was launched: promotion of the new flavor and an official thank you message for all those who cooperated, voted and tasted.
I didn’t actively participate in the competition, but the campaign worked for my family too, as were watching television with a fresh bag of “Lays Bicky Crisp” next to us.