Many businesses are focusing nowadays on a close relationship with their customers. Co-creation is a business strategy which focuses on customer experiences by encouraging an active involvement from the customer to create new products and services (BusinessDictionary, n.d.). Finnair and Helsinki Airport came up with an innovative initiative in 2010 named “Quality Hunters” whereas Finnair started to look for applicants from all around the world to travel their network and share experiences with the aim to create new ideas (Loukas, 2013). According to Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004), the success of co-creation is dependent on several factors which is described in the DART principles: Dialogue, Access, Risk and Transparency. In the next step, it will be discussed if the Quality Hunter programme meets these success criteria’s with the intention to recognize potential for improvements.
Dialogue requires a common language which permits a meaningful exchange and it involves interactivity, commitment, dedication of attention as well as resources (Beltman & Peelen, 2013). Markus Haapamäki, head of social media at Finavia, says that they would like to see an interaction with their passengers via social media in order to improve their travel experience (AirportWorld, 2013). However, when analysing for example the Facebook page of Quality Hunters, no dialogue or interaction between participants can be found which could be caused by a low number of followers.
Access to each other’s world allows faster, more efficient and better solutions to problems (Beltman & Peelen, 2013). Different social media channels such as blogs, twitter, Facebook and Pinterest boards are used in this initiative so that anyone can take part in the process. Everyone can share thoughts on travel, things that inspire or even irritate the customer and suggestions for solving certain problems (Qualityhunters, n.d.).
Involving customers and other organisations in a co-creative process is also linked with taking risks which makes risk assessment an important issue (Beltman & Peelen, 2013). As the applicants of the quality hunter programme travel a lot across their network, the chance that they face problems on their journey is certainly high. Furthermore, there are costs in the project such as free flights for the participants and salaries of employees which needs to be taken into account.
The customer needs to have a motivation and should consider the process as being mutual beneficial. By determining beforehand where the ownership of the outcome lies and what benefits there are for the contribution of customers, many problems can be prevented (Beltman & Peelen, 2013). According to AirportWorld (2013), Finnair wants to share accurate information with the public, allowing to become aware of who they are and what they can expect from Helsinki airport. Moreover, the applicants will benefit from the opportunity to test Finnair’s services and join them in exclusive workshops where they can develop the community’s ideas (Qualityhunters, n.d.).
Finally it can be said that access, risks and transparency are factors that are apparently met by Finnair. Nevertheless, there is potential for improvements in terms of interactivity and online engagement via their channels. The foundation for a successful co-creation was given, but the airline could have benefited from a larger amount of ideas by creating more awareness via social media across the globe.
AirportWorld (2013). QUALITY HUNTER. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from: http://www.airport-world.com/features/marketing-communications/2554-quality-hunter.html
Beltman, R. & Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
BusinessDictionary (n.d.). What is co-creation? definition and meaning. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/co-creation.html
Loukas, N. (2013). Finnair and Helsinki Airport invite Quality Hunters to co-create new products. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from: http://www.airlinetrends.com/2013/10/24/finnair-helsinki-airport-quality-hunters-cocreation/
Qualityhunters (n.d.). What is Quality Hunters 2013?. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from: http://www.qualityhunters.com/about/