The Betterific Blog

Connecting consumers with brands to crowdsource and innovate on product ideas.

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16 Handles Betterific Challenge – Winners Announced!

Um, that looks delicious...  (Image by Justine on the blog Hoboken Girl)

Um, that looks delicious… (Image by Justine on the blog Hoboken Girl)

Betterific has had a busy April, running both the 16 Handles and Coke/McDonald’s Challenges, not to mention the current Washington Nationals campaign that has been running since April 25th and will end on May 5th, 2014 at 3pm (there’s still time to give the Nats your best ideas)! Needless to say, the Betterific team really enjoyed working with 16 Handles on their customer experience campaign. We had a great time talking with their team during the set-up of the campaign and we are excited to help such a young and inspiring new company, headed by their amazing CEO Solomon Choi. We also hope to follow-up with 16 Handles several weeks from now to do a case study on their campaign, find out what worked for them and what didn’t and to come up with a better idea of best practices to implement when companies crowdsource for product development and marketing. While we always enjoy the process of seeing what ideas come about when people start brainstorming for companies, coming up with new and creative ways for making the frozen yogurt experience better was certainly a lot of fun and it’s a good thing frozen yogurt is healthy because there were definitely some serious cravings happening as a result of intense fro-yo idea generation.

Now, back to the winners! The campaign ran from April 8th to April 18th during which time Betterific members were able to post their ideas on the site for how to make the 16 Handles customer experience better.  111 ideas were submitted with the top themes identified in creative marketing, special events, community involvement, new products and fro-yo accessories. The grand prize winner would receive free frozen yogurt for a year and 5 runner-up winners would each receive a $25 16 Handles gift card. In addition, all winners were to be given the chance to meet face-to-face with CEO Solomon Choi to discuss their ideas and their passion for frozen yogurt.

Our grand prize winner was Sara Levin and our 5 runner-up winners were Luke Bornheimer, Tovah Silbermann, Ashley Smith, Ari Polsky, and Diane Lipson. Below are a few of our favorite ideas posted by the winners. (Please note that these ideas are not necessarily the ideas that were selected by 16 Handles for implementation.)

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles sold reusable plastic cups that you could buy then reuse at the store and get a discount.

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a blending machine that allowed customers to blend their yogurt and toppings into a Blizzard-type concoction?

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had suggested recipe guides by the fro-yo counter (Example: S'mores Ice Cream Cup -Graham Cracker Yogurt, topped with hot fudge and marshmallows).

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a froyo sandwich (ice cream sandwich) station

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles had a starbucks style membership system/gold card.

Wouldn't it be better if 16 Handles sold thin pieces of chocolate that could serve as cup dividers so your flavors don't mix together?

Ok, we’re going to get some fro-yo… Happy innovating!

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The Coke/McDonald’s Challenge on Betterific – Winners Announced!


The winners of Betterific’s Coke/McDonald’s Challenge have been announced! The competition was fierce and all the ideas were amazing. We honestly have to say this was one of the best challenges we’ve run on Betterific and we are very happy with the results. Just to recap, Betterific members were asked to brainstorm innovative and creative ways to make the Coca-Cola experience at McDonald’s better. From April 8th to April 18th Betterific members posted their ideas on new products, new services, and interesting marketing campaigns. One grand prize winner was to be selected for a $500 gift card and 5 runner-up winners would each receive a  $50 McDonald’s gift card.

Over the course of 10 days, 125 ideas were submitted (35% of which were shared to Facebook and Twitter). Several themes were identified amongst all the ideas that were submitted including: new menu inspirations, beverage accessories, healthy options, vintage experiences, loyalty and customization.

Our grand prize winner was Metro Power Yoga (she’s got 260 lifetime betterifs!), and our 5 runner-up winners were Ann Murtha, Benjamin Shirazi, Tony Busko, Kelly Williams, and Jordy Clements.

Here a few of the ideas that we liked which our various winners posted during the challenge. (Please note that these ideas are not necessarily those ideas that were selected by Coke or McDonald’s for implementation.)

Wouldn't it be better if you could make your own coke infusions at McDonald's when you ordered a coke by adding syrups like almond or raspberry or coconut...

Wouldn't it be better if Coca-cola/McDonald's had frozen coca-cola (and Diet Coke and Cherry Coke) during the summer?

Wouldn't it be better if Coke/McDonald's had incentives to recycle or reuse your cup. $.50 refills.Wouldn't it be better if Coca-cola/McDonald's came out with a slow-cooked Cola-Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich? With or without coleslaw on top! Delicious summertime fun!

Wouldn't it be better if Coke would use pure cane sugar and avoidusing high fructose corn syrup in their drinks.

Wouldn't it be better if McDonald's offered a healthy value meal that paired a salad with Coca-Cola's Odwalla juices.

Thanks to all our Betterific members for being such great innovators!

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Evolution in Business and “Digital Darwinism” – Why your company needs innovation to survive

It seems like all you hear these days are stories about “how business is changing.” Brian Solis, the principal analyst at the Altimeter Group, coined the phrase “digital darwinism” to capture the essence of change in the business world today. Business has always been about finding better ways to do things, but technology has created new opportunities as well as challenges for business. The term “digital darwinism” refers to the fact that today’s society and technology is changing faster than most businesses’ ability to adapt. Even the companies with the “big guns” have had trouble coping.

Evolution in business seems to be favoring those who take a leadership role and who place themselves at the forefront of change by leading the charge into new territory for what business can do. Of course, in the long run we have no idea what this will mean, but in the now, we know that today’s company needs to be smart, proactive and courageous when it comes to pushing the boundaries of what they do and how they do it. We’ve seen quite a few giants fall in recent years because they failed to identify ways of recreating and evolving the way we do things. It’s easy to just “blame the internet,” for the downfall of many businesses but it’s more than just that. Blockbuster, Kodak and Borders are all perfect examples of companies who had great management teams and lots of expertise/connections in their respective industries, but they all fell prey to the fact that they refused to recognize the relevance of change and how they could ultimately profit from it.

In life and in business, you really can’t afford to sit on your hands. Just as in our own personal lives we need to have a certain amount of daring to progress. If we don’t progress, we risk losing relevance. So how do you foster that progress as a business? How do you harness daring or find a way to stay on top of things such that you are the one creating the change that the rest of the world embraces? At Betterific, we attempt to help companies make good use of crowdsourcing as a tool to help foster the innovation and creativity needed to inspire changes in the way things are done. But even with new tools, most companies still have a long way to go when it comes to figuring out how to best capitalize on that innovation. Ideas are always floating around, but you need to have a plan on how to capture those ideas, leverage them efficiently and then turn them into profits, if you really intend to thrive.

Brian Solis makes a living helping companies figure out ways to foster innovation and then implement change. We thought we would share Brian Solis’ “12 Pillars of Innovation” here because they provide something of a roadmap and an explanation regarding the overall system that needs to be set-up in order to capitalize on innovation and change. Click on the infographic below to see a full explanation of each of the pillars.

In our own words though, when it comes to creating a system within your company that will allow you to be more innovative you start here:

Decide what parts of your business could benefit from new ideas and new ways of doing things

Assign someone or a group the role of overseeing and implementing any project(s) aimed at increasing innovation

Identify the best tools to help you accomplish your goals and experiment with them

Evaluate outcomes and adjust your projects and goals accordingly

There are certainly a number of ways to encourage innovation and each company will have different methods and needs to be addressed. The objective is to become the sort of company that knows how to implement the changes needed not only to be more innovative, but to benefit from the innovation. Brian Solis definitely gives a number of ways in which companies can do this including “reverse-mentoring” and work time to allow for creative thinking sessions. We strongly suggest you read through his article. Happy innovating!


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Starbucks’ Crowdsourcing Success

The home screen of the My Starbucks Idea webpage

As promised, we’re going to take a closer look at how the crowdsourcing side of social media marketing can be successfully utilized by examining the runaway victory of Starbucks’ own platform for innovation and customer feedback, My Starbucks Idea. Starbuck’s initiated its corowdsourcing platform in March 2008, garnering it a position as one of the first corporate adopters of social media engagement. In its first year it generated over 70,000 ideas directly from consumers, and now that six years have passed the site has truly impressive stats: just over 190,000 ideas submitted, approximately 300 of which have been implemented by Starbucks.

One might say that’s a pretty low conversion rate of ideas into actions, however, in the end it’s not just about the ideas or how actionable they are. Here’s a list of just a few of the benefits that Starbuck’s is receiving from crowdsourcing:

Free Ideas. Obviously, Starbucks has received ideas for free from customers regarding exactly what they want. These ideas and the fact that even a mere portion of them are implemented by the company provide Starbucks with a huge amount of 1) customer loyalty (“Starbucks listens to me!”) and 2) an edge over its competition, especially as regards a comprehensive rewards program for consumers. Interestingly enough, the Starbucks platform is open to the public so anyone can view the ideas, including the competition. But in the end, it’s Starbucks that gets the most benefit because they were the ones who asked and its their customers who are posting the ideas.

Direct Customer Interactions. The My Starbucks Idea platform allows users to interact with each other, vote for ideas, and comment. Through the site, Starbucks gets a direct line into those interactions, allowing them to see what ideas are really taking off and what concerns they should be addressing first to help improve their customers’ experiences. However, it’s not only customers who are posting on the site. Employees of the stores and of the corporate side are posting as well. It’s easy to see that the platform garners attention from people on all sides of the equation, which is a truly important element when considering the value of engagement and loyalty. We might even go so far as to say that it helps Starbucks fight the “cold corporate facade” that so many companies suffer from by creating a community of engaged users.

Validation. One of the first ideas that was implemented from the Starbucks platform was based on the suggestion of a user who wanted the ability to pay with his mobile phone at the Starbucks drive-thru. This idea, in all likelihood, had probably already been discussed a number of times by various executives. Once the idea was posted on the site, people started voting for it and leaving comments encouraging the adoption of the idea, Starbucks no longer had a reason to put off the investments needed for the technology to implement this idea.

Human Collaboration. The fact is, people like to be involved and nothing is more annoying than when a company makes numerous changes involving things that nobody cares about. Your customers and employees are strictly speaking, despite the cliche’, your very best asset. In any service industry, you should be listening to the people you serve and to those who are serving them for you. A company is still just a group of people trying to work together, and in order to do that effectively you need as much human collaboration as possible. The My Starbucks Idea site has brought in ideas from Starbucks baristas, letting the company know about small but important things they want to see changed. This of course leads to happier individuals who represent your company, which in turn leads to happier end customers.

There are of course other considerations that companies need to consider when undertaking a crowdsourcing campaign for any length of time. If you’re going to ask for ideas you need to have a plan regarding how you will separate out the most valuable ones and how you might implement them. This is where the learning curve with crowdsourcing really comes in, requiring a fair amount of work from numerous individuals inside a company. Starbucks made the commitment to crowdsourcing and they’ve had great success with it. Of course, we all want to know more about how Starbucks has handled issues like idea selection and implementation. But stay tuned for a future blog post in which we will delve into some of those issues and how different companies are handling them. Happy innovating!

Starbucks Wow

Written by Gwen Gurley