A Preview of What’s in Store for Brand Summit Attendees

Fast Company Senior Editor David Lidsky will be moderating the end of the day panel discussion at next weeks Liquid Brand Summit. He’s been blogging about the upcoming summit and the topics that will be part of the event. Today, David interviewed one of the summit session leaders -about his Session Topic to get the conversation started early. His post is provided below:

Rod Swanson, senior director of the EA brand, overcame an odd, persistent buzzing sound in his hotel room to chat with me about the Liquid Brand session he’ll moderate, “Co-Creation: What do customers know and why should brands listen?” Here are some highlights of our conversation and a preview of his session:

* IDEO’s lessons are a great starting point in co-creation. We have a tendency to create things for ourselves and not for users, but rapid prototyping and testing can help bring customers into the feedback loop early in the design phase.
* Offering customers the chance to customize a product is cool, but it’s not the same as letting them share in the design of a product, which is more powerful
* EA’s products are a great example of “enabling the user to be the storyteller, the hero of what we create,” Swanson says. That’s a wonderful idea, and we’ve seen it play out in its sports games where the features that get added year-to-year come straight from hardcore fans, as well as The Sims, where it released tools to let players produce art for the game and have “overshadowed what we created ourselves.” Other brands that we discussed include Adobe for its well-developed built-in feedback within its creative tools, and Amazon for the way it lets customers create content with reviews and such, driving sales by just giving them the tools to contribute and getting out of the way.

Not everyone is in the videogame business, of course, but what can we do to make customers the hero of our products?

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