Gaining a Competitive Advantage Through Differentiation
As a result of the current business environment, rise of technology, increasing globalization, etc., companies are therefore focusing on finding ways to differentiate themselves. Differentiation is therefore essential and co-creation is a core differentiation base. Vargo and Lusch (2004, 2006, 2008) introduced a new dominant logic in the marketing literature, the Service-Dominant Logic (S-D Logic), in which service, interactions, and enhanced experiences help create value, and this potential for value is what attracts consumers. Therefore organizations must be customer-centric in order to facilitate unique, positive experiences. As the name indicates, both organizations and consumers (should) obtain value when co-creating, which is why both parties are willing to increase their degree of involvement, e.g. spending more resources, sharing tacit knowledge, etc., because a high degree of involvement will also lead to a high rewards. According to postmodern consumerism theory, consumers are intrinsically motivated to participate (Arnould et al., 2006; Borghini & Caru, 2008; Etgar, 2008; Fisher & Smith, 2011), but may also be extrinsic motivated by, for instance, appraisal and 'autonomy' (Etgar, 2008). Therefore, for instance, being part of the process is a key incentive for consumers. Postmodern consumers' search for unique experiences calls for individualization, personalization, etc. Although Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004), Karpen et al. (2008), and Karpen et al. (2011) have presented S-D Logic as a middle range theory it is still difficult for organizations to operationalize their co-creation efforts. This paper argues that postmodern consumerism can be used to guide the operationalization of the co-creation process by identifying the key facilitators of co-creation for the postmodern consumer. Through an exploratory qualitative study, 9 facilitators for B2C value co-creation were uncovered. The study was set in the creative industries. The 9 facilitators are a combination of the main facilitators found in the literature review and the ones found through the empirical research. The 9 facilitators are individuated offering; accessibility; engage and enable; incentives segmentation; change acceptance, sharing, and learning; manageable implementation for organizations; project-based organization; C2C interactions; keep control. Each facilitator is detailed in the paper and implications for practice are discussed.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance, 2013, p. 320-328