The swaying effects of online product reviews


Based on the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ effect (Surowiecki, 2005), consumers make use of reviews to make accurate product evaluations. However, due to the large amount of information and conflicting opinions in reviews, it becomes difficult for them to identify and consider the attributes that are relevant to their consumer situation.

Imagine you are browsing a webstore, looking for a new camera to take on your backpacking trip. For this situation, you prefer a camera that is lightweight, easy to use, shock-resistant and cheap. You don’t have a lot of experience with camera’s, so you decide to look at the reviews of other consumers that bought Camera X. As you browse through several reviews, you start to notice that a lot of reviews mention things like FPS, image stabilization, Wi-Fi connection and GPS tracking. However, the reviews are in conflict about the quality of the image stabilization and many mention the lack of a Wi-Fi connection. After reading most of the reviews, you decide that you want to look for a camera that has better image stabilization and a Wi-Fi connection, attributes which you originally didn’t pick as relevant for your situation …

The scenario above, is what Liu & Karahanna (2017) describe as the ‘swaying’ effect. After reading reviews, people might over-weigh irrelevant attributes and under-weigh relevant attributes. They suggest that attribute preferences are more heavily influenced by characteristics of the online reviews rather than by the relevance of the attributes to the consumers decision context.

Theory development & methodology

Liu & Karahanna (2017) developed their theory from the constructive preference perspective theory (Bettman, Luce, & Payne, 1998; Payne, Bettman, Coupey, & Johnson, 1992). This theory suggests that preferences are shaped by the interaction between the properties of the information environment of the choice problem and the properties of the human information-processing system. Liu & Karahanna (2017) propose that three characteristics of online reviews affect the assessment of attribute preference and theorize that these characteristics together may ‘sway’ attribute preferences.

  1. the amount of information about attribute level performance,
  2. the degree of information conflict about attribute level performance
  3. the overall numeric rating and the attribute-level performance information

They conducted three studies, in which they provided the participants with a consumer scenario, asked them to weigh different attributes in terms of relevance and made them evaluate a digital camera based on reviews.

In study 1 they manipulated the three hypothesized factors and examined their effects on the attribute preferences. In study 2, they reproduced this study but added a monetary incentive to induce high motivation to process review information. The third study was a free simulation experiment to provide more realism and to allow for higher generalizability, in which verbal protocol analysis was used to capture and measure the factors.

Main findings

When the participants were asked to weigh the attributed based on the provided scenario, they placed more weight on the relevant attributed than the irrelevant attributes (in the scenario above, the attributes cost, ease-of-use and weight are relevant attributes, whereas image stabilization is not). But when they had to evaluate the camera based on reviews (that contained an uneven amount of information across different attributes, varying degrees of information conflict, and a numeric overall rating), the relevance of the attributes did not have a significant impact on attribute preferences.

CCDC
Figure 1. Participants’ Constructed Attribute Preferences  (Liu & Karahanna, 2017)

The amount of attribute information in the reviews had the greatest impact on attribute preferences. Study 2 showed that the degree of attribute information conflict only affects attribute preferences when people have high motivation to process information. Study 3 showed consistent results. The studies provided evidence that attribute preferences that result from reading the reviews are primarily driven by the review characteristics and not by attribute relevance, thus supporting the hypothesized ‘swaying’ effect of online product reviews.

Practical implication.

What implications can be derived from these results? To support informed consumer decision making, it should be investigated how reviews should be organized and presented and how making sense of information conflicts can become less cognitively demanding. The effectiveness of some practical suggestions, such as providing a short description of the reviewer’s background (newegg.com), displaying the amount of positive and negative comments on an attribute (Q. (Ben) Liu, Karahanna, & Watson, 2011) and allowing people to see the overall rating from reviewers who have similar decision context, need to be investigated. Implementation of these suggestions allows consumer to filter reviews from people in a similar consumer scenario, makes making sense of conflicts become less demanding and causes the numeric overall rating to make more sense.

Strengths, weaknesses, suggested improvements

By conducting multiple studies with consistent results, the article provides strong evidence for generalizability & robust hypotheses, which enhances the external validity of the results. Nevertheless, there are some limitations. The study only examines a single product category (camera) and a single scenario. Additionally, the samples only consisted of students with a similar expertise of cameras. It would be interesting to examine whether the effects differ based on the consumer’s level of expertise with the product category (camera) or the product category itself. Additionally, to increase the generalizability of this study, it would be interesting to see if these results also apply on a sample that is more representative of the population (not only students).

I would love to hear your opinions on this. Do you recognize yourself in the ‘swaying’ effect? Are reviews influencing your preferences? 

References

Bettman, J. R., Luce, M. F., & Payne, J. W. (1998). Constructive Consumer Choice Processes. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(3), 187–217. https://doi.org/10.1086/209535

Liu, Q. (Ben), Karahanna, E., & Watson, R. T. (2011). Unveiling user-generated content: Designing websites to best present customer reviews. Business Horizons, 54(3), 231–240. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.004

Liu, Q. Ben, & Karahanna, E. (2017). The dark side of reviews: The swaying effects of online product reviews on attribute preference construction. MIS Quarterly, 41(2), 427–448. https://doi.org/10.25300/misq/2017/41.2.05

Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., Coupey, E., & Johnson, E. J. (1992). A constructive process view of decision making: Multiple strategies in judgment and choice. Acta Psychologica, 80(1–3), 107–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-6918(92)90043-D

Surowiecki, J. (2005). The Wisdom of Crowds. American Journal of Physics, 75(908), 336. https://doi.org/10.1038/climate.2009.73

 

Personalization or Standardization – A review of “Customers do not always prefer personalized products: The role of personalized options range in personalization”


Nowadays firms have increasingly adopted personalization strategy to provide customers with the option to choose on important feature parameters at the price similar to the standardized products. For example, Dell is well known for its success in mass customization. (Randall, et al., 2005) Subway is also a kind of customization and received huge success. (Choi & LEE, 2015) However, the academic defines the personalization in a different way. It has been suggested as a revolutionary approach to market segmentation. The company now treat the individual customer as individual segments by satisfying their very specific need. The strategy can boost sales and in such bring competitive advantage to the company.

However, it is not necessarily always true for every company. There are many attributes can influence the attractiveness of personalization option, for example, price premium, effort and monitoring quality. If we take a closer look in the effect of effort that the customer needs to take in the personalization process, we can find that the more complex the personalized process is, the less the customer will likely to personalize the item. (Choi & LEE, 2015) Especially the company failed to convey information to the different type of customer. Just like the example of Dell, the inexperienced user cannot tell the meaning of “Memory”. (Randall, et al., 2005) Some of those customers just decided not to make the choice because the complexity exceeds the optimal level.  The product utility that consumer could get through personalization is not strong enough to cover the inconvenience.

This research argues that the customers prefer standard products over the personalized product when the range of personalization is perceived as excessive. The customer is more likely to select standard products over personalized alternatives when faced with inordinately complex decision-making. In order to test the pattern of consumer responses regarding the personalized product and the standardized product, the author decided to use the attitude of customers towards product and the purchase intention as the key factor.

H3: Customers will demonstrate a more positive attitude for standard products over personalized products with a higher level of personalizing options beyond a customer-perceived optimal point.

H4: the customer will demonstrate a higher purchase intention for standard products over personalized products with a higher level of personalizing options beyond a customer-perceived optimal point.

The hypothesis is tested by using stimulation experiment. There are 195 undergraduate students in Korea are recruited. They have been randomly assigned to one of the seven sub-group according to the extent of personalization options. The basic setting is the standardized product, and the other six have the different level of personalization in an ordinal ranking. The incremental increase in the personalization level allows the author to compare between groups and examine the relationship between personalization level and customer response.

The result shows that the customer product attitude shows an inverted U shape as the number of personalizing options increased. This is also the case for the other factor, purchase intention, as the number of personalization option increase, the purchase intention increase until the optimal level and then decrease. (Figure 1 and Figure 2)

The author then conducted an ANOVA analysis on the product attitude and purchase intention respectively for the standardized product and the personalized product (with most extensive personalization options). The results support the Hypothesis 3 while the result of Hypothesis 4 was not statistically significant. To test the mechanism of complexity as a mediator, they also test the hypothesis based on Baron and Kenny (1986). The perceived complexity mediated the effect of product type on product attitude. The mediation tests show that perceived complexity is the influence factor for the preference over standard products and the personalized products when comparing the standard product with the overwhelming personalization options.

The logic of this research is very easy to follow, they successfully demonstrated the importance of setting an appropriate level of personalization to companies that wanted to implement the personalization business model. However, the question arises when evaluating the regression model. Has the author controlled enough factors to isolate the effect of independent variables on the dependent variable? For example, if we look at the product nature, the result doesn’t necessarily apply to the experienced user with the clear expected product. They will likely to appreciate the extensive personalization options to fine tune the product to maximize the fit with their expectation. In addition, the author used to watch as the testing product. It is a relatively straightforward functional product. The personalization option does not include any configuration regarding the function itself but only the design. Will the research show a different result if we test it on Dell computer? The answer is unknown. If we look at a further research in the background of web companies. There is a phenomenon called “filter bubble”. It suggests that with those filter bubbles people are restricted to the filter options and shapes our view to the worldview.  If you are interested, please have a look at the following video.

Bibliography

Choi, J.-E. & LEE, D.-H., 2015. Customers do not always prefer personalized products: The role of personalized options range in personalization. International Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 19(2).

Randall, T., Terwiesch, C. & Ulrich, K. T., 2005. Principles for User Design of Customized Products. California Management Review, 47(4), pp. 68-85.

Personalized offers without compromising the privacy of personal information


Searching on the internet for information is one of the most common activities these days. This behavior varies from searching for the closing time of your favorite shop, to finding out how cognitive processes work. Consumers are generating and sharing data when they search on the web. The knowledge of this process is not always present. Even if consumers knew their steps were being followed, would it change their daily behavior? Privacy is not a new term. Yet, it disclosed itself more than ever the last couple of decades, together with the introduction of the Internet. The general definition is the right to be let alone. It is based on the principle of protection of the individual in both person and property (Warren & Brandeis, 1890). However, this definition is too broad. Informational privacy fits more in the context of these days. The definition is the right to control of access to personal information (Moor, 1991).
It is clear that privacy concern is an issue for companies. Companies want to use personal information to offer personalized adverts which is often considered as something positive by the consumers. A business example is Amazon.  The well-known E-commerce company continually updates the user’s personal page to create more tailored experiences. This is done based on past purchases and browsing history and the objective is to stimulate impulse buys (Reverte, 2013). However, personalization has some concerns.

Amazon

 

Sutanto, Palme, Tan and Phang (2013) wrote an article in which they study the so called personalization-privacy paradox. This is the tension between how IT developers and marketers of applications exploit personal users’ information to offer personalized products or services and these users’ increasing concern regarding the privacy of that information. Eventually, this may restrain the use of these applications. The purpose of this paper is to study whether a personalized privacy-safe application works. This application stores and processes information within the user’s smartphone, but does not transmit it to the marketers. This way, personalized information can be offered, without compromising the privacy of personal information (Sutanto, 2013).

Personalized privacy-safe application
To understand the personalization-paradox, the authors build on two theories; the use and gratification theory (UGT) and information boundary theory (IBT).  UGT suggests that consumers use a medium either for the experience of the process or for the content it offers. These two dimensions are called process gratification and content gratification (Sutanto et al., 2013). While the latter refers to the messages carried by the medium, the first one relates to the enjoyment of using the medium.

Next, IBT gives a better understanding in which factors influence process and content gratification.  This theory suggests that consumers form so-called physical or virtual information spaces around themselves. These spaces have boundaries and an attempt by third parties to cross these boundaries will be considered invasive which makes consumers uncomfortable.   In case of an intrusion, consumers will apply a risk-control assessment, weighting the risk of disclosing personal information and the benefits they gain when doing so (Stanton, 2003).

This study conducted a field experiment with three mobile advertising applications. The first mobile application broadcasts adverts generally (i.e. non-personalized application). The second application filters and displays adverts based on the profile information of users, stored in a central server (i.e. personalized, non-privacy-safe application). The last application filters and displays adverts on the profile information of users, stored on their smartphone (i.e., personalized, privacy-safe application). In this context, process gratification is measured with the number of application launches.  On the other hand, if a user is interested in the content offered by the application, they are more likely to save the advert with the purpose of retrieving it later, thus content gratification is measured in terms of the frequency of saving adverts (Sutanto et al., 2013).

Personalized application

The results of the field experiment showed that there is indeed a difference in process and content gratification between the three different applications.  Process gratification increased by 64.5% when the adverts were personalized compared to when adverts were general. However, there was no significant difference in content gratification. This may be explained by the fact that saving adverts explicitly indicates interest in a specific product, thus it requires the user to reveal deeper levels of information than their own boundaries allow. It is likely that this situation causes an uncomfortable feeling and which eventually will lead to a hesitation to save adverts.  Next, the local privacy-safe personalization design increased both process and content gratification. Application use increased by 9.6% compared to personalized, non-privacy-safe application and by 79.1% compared to the non-personalized application.  Respectively, advert saving increase by 24.5% and 55.1%.

However, there is an important limitation in this paper. There is a possibility that some users launched the application, but already were interested in a certain ad. This makes it more difficult to disentangle process gratification from content gratification.

Concluding, this article proposes a personalized privacy-safe application. The results show significant differences between the three applications in favor of the local privacy-safe personalization application. Thus, offering personalized adverts without compromising the privacy of personal information is possible.

References:

Moor, J.H. (1991) ‘The ethics of privacy protection’, , pp. 69–82

Reverte, C. (2013) Personalization Innovators: Amazon, Netflix, and Yahoo! | Available at: https://www.addthis.com/blog/2013/08/28/personalization-innovators-amazon-netflix-and-yahoo/#.WomB3OciHIU. [Accessed 18 February 2018].

Stanton, J. M. (2003). Information technology and privacy: A boundary management perspective. In Socio-technical and human cognition elements of information systems (pp. 79-103). Igi Global.

Sutanto, J., Palme, E., Tan, C. H., & Phang, C. W. (2013). Addressing the Personalization-Privacy Paradox: An Empirical Assessment from a Field Experiment on Smartphone Users. Mis Quarterly, 37(4).

Warren, S.D. and Brandeis, L.D. (1890) ‘The right to privacy’, Harvard Law Review, 4(5), pp. 193–220. doi: 10.2307/1321160

Made.com – a unique business model


made.com

 

Made.com is an online furniture retailer that was founded in March 2010. The company is UK based and has expanded to Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands in eight years (Sunderland, 2016). Even though Made.com primarily operates through their online channel, they do have great relationships with a large network of experimental showrooms across Europe, in which they showcase their furniture and designs (Milbrath, 2016). With a sales growth of nearly 50% annually, Made.com has become quit a success. Their unique business model has disrupted the supply chain and revolutionized the playing field of furniture retailers for good (Cassidy, 2017).

How does Made.com create value for their customers?
Made.com has a customer centric business model, in which their customers are put in the center of everything that goes on. The customers get full control when it comes to deciding which furniture goes into production. By giving their customers this power, they have addressed and filled a void in the existing furniture market. Other companies, such as Ikea, have addressed the need for functional and affordable furniture. Made.com however, disrupted the market by successfully addressing the need for unique and affordable furniture (Aba Research, 2017). The customers get to decide, by voting on their favorite designs, which design ideas go from sketches into production. Furthermore, Made.com organizes a yearly “Made Emerging Talent Award” contest in which upcoming designers get to submit their unique designs and Made.com’s Unboxed online community get to vote on their favorite designs. If a design gets enough votes and wins the contest, the item gets produced and sold on Made.com within a period of approximately 12 months. The winning designer(s) get the well-deserved attention, which boosts their beginning careers, and more importantly, the designer(s) get royalties for their item(s). The unboxed community also allows for the customers to feel more connected to the brand and find likeminded peers. For unboxed community member, the ability to ‘co-create’ is a way for them to express their creativity and to incorporate their personal style into the product line of an existing company (Milbrath, 2016).

Efficiency Criteria
Made.com has been able to set itself apart from other (online) furniture retailers. They have a close relationship with several independent designers, and in addition also have an in house design team. An advantage of their business model is that it allows them to quickly react to new trends and allows for trial and error. As a result of the designs being crowdsourced, the company is able to tailor their supply to customer demand. All of this enables the company to release new collections often and quickly. It also allows them make quick decisions with regards to the discontinuation of certain collections if they do not live up to the company’s expectations. In addition, the company tries to minimize its costs by primarily operating online, outsourcing their production and by creating close relationships with their suppliers. Also, the pieces that are sold by Made.com have a longer lead-time. This allows Made.com place orders in bulk, which further reduces their costs.

Another great way in which the company was able to set itself apart is by establishing their Unboxed community. It started off with Made.com contacting their customers and asking whether they were allowed to ‘come over and take pictures of the unique items in their houses’. Now it has turned into their own equivalent of Pinterest, in which their customers can upload pictures of their Made.com pieces. This is a great strategy that Made.com has to create user generated buzz and strengthen the community ties (Aba Research, 2017; Made.com, 2018). In addition, it is extra and free promotion of their products, because potential buyers can see the items in more real life settings and get even more inspiration.

In conclusion, by creating a customer centric business model, Made.com has been able to set itself apart from other furniture retailers. Made.com provides the consumer and independent designers with a platform that allows them to out their creativity and express themselves. The company has changed the game by not just focusing on functionality and affordability, but by putting the customer in the middle. By involving them with design ideas and giving them a community of likeminded peers they proof that they have been really listening to the needs of their customers.

 

 

 

 

References
Aba Research (March 22nd, 2017). ‘Made.com – carving out a distinctive furniture-business model’. Retrieved from: https://www.abaresearch.co.uk/single-post/2017/03/22/Madecom-%E2%80%93-carving-out-a-distinctive-furniture-business-model

Cassidy, A. (September 18th, 2017). ‘Made.com founder: ‘We want to be the new Ikea’’. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/sep/18/madecom-founder-we-want-to-be-the-new-ikea

Milbrath, S. (August 5th, 2016). ‘Co-creation: 5 examples of brands driving customer-driven innovation’. Retrieved from: https://www.visioncritical.com/5-examples-how-brands-are-using-co-creation/

Sunderland, R., ( July 6th, 2016). ‘Online furniture boss gunning for Ikea: He set up shop just six years ago, but man behind Made.com is thinking big’. Retrieved from: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-3677591/The-online-furniture-boss-gunning-Ikea-setting-shop-London-just-6-years-ago-man-com-thinking-big.html

 

 

 

 

FlavorPrint: Personalizing your recipes through your tastes


How amazing would it be if you knew every meal you cooked would fit your tastes? McCormick & Company, a major player in the flavor industry, is reinventing traditional FMCG business models through its data-driven, customer-focused offerings. While the company generally manufactures and distributes spices, seasonings, and other products over 125 countries and territories (Amazon Web Services, n.d.), a shift has occurred from a product-centered company to a business model in which the entire customer value is achieved through a comprehensive consumer journey.

McCormick is continually moving towards innovative solutions to reach customers relative to competitors or FMCG companies in other sectors. The expected sales target of $5bn by the end of 2019 will come from e-commerce, innovation through platforms, and acquisitions of other companies (Nunes, 2017); evidently, digitization is driving the company’s growth. In 2014, McCormick created a spinoff company named Vivanda, through which a transformative product called FlavorPrint was developed (Nash, 2015).

FlavorPrint

FlavorPrint is ‘a technology that matches people with food they love’ (FlavorPrint, 2017). When users sign up to McCormick’s recipe platform, they are asked to fill out initial questions about their food preferences. Their recipe search behavior on the platform will continuously adapt the user’s ideal taste palate to recommend recipes that fit the user perfectly. FlavorPrint ‘combines sensory science and culinary science’ to ‘offer personalized recommendations for recipes, meals, and eventually wine pairings’ (Amazon Web Services, n.d.). FlavorPrint is able to change a person’s cooking habits by offering exciting alternatives that are customized to the user (while promoting McCormick’s products) (FlavorPrint, 2017).

Value to Consumers

Vivanda’s FlavorPrint follows a number of mass customization (MC) drivers while requiring little to no investment by the consumer, and consumers participate in the service because it offers them significant product utility. The extra costs for consumers are low; the quality of recommendations is high, no financial investment is necessary to use the service, and the effort of signing up to the platform is relatively low (Tsekouras, 2018). Furthermore, the FlavorPrint service works automatically, meaning that the consumer does not have to take any specific action to use the service, other than signing up to the platform. In short, FlavorPrint’s predictive analytics technology has made recipe selection much easier and more likeable, while demanding little time and effort from consumers.

Efficiency Criteria and the Future of Predictive Analytics in Food

In 2013, McCormick initiated a small beta program for its new technology. While a 1% increase in sales is very large in the industry, FlavorPrint quickly grew to 100,000 participants (while still in beta mode) and drove sales up by 4.9% (Amazon Web Services, n.d.). This was a sign that the company needed to ensure scalability for its platform, to allow millions of users to participate.

While financial data and statistics regarding platform usage have not been published, Vivanda has officially spun off from McCormick. In 2016, Vivanda announced a strategic partnership with and investment from German software giant SAP. This collaboration will ‘help our food industry partners to grow profitably by delivering increasingly personalized experiences and outcomes directly to customers’, according to E.J. Kenney, SVP Consumer Products Industry at SAP (SAP, 2016). The partnership indicates that Vivanda has shifted its strategy from focusing on McCormick customers to delivering its service to various players in the food and beverage industry; by targeting a wide range of food and beverage customers, Vivanda’s growth seems inevitable.

Drawbacks

It will be interesting to see what the future will hold for Vivanda and the use of predictive analytics in food. McCormick evidently derives great value from the technology, but one has to wonder if the technology has its criticisms pertaining to a possible lack of understanding of consumer behavior or privacy issues. For example, while the technology takes into account various contextual factors such as consumer budget and nutritional objectives while recommending foods, changing lifestyle situations may prove it difficult for the technology to adapt fully to consumer’s lives.

Conclusion

Although FlavorPrint does not directly offer a new revenue stream, the new possibilities for consumer packaged goods firms to reach customers indicate a potential for significant impact on future sales for Vivanda clients. Customization/personalization lies at the heart of the service, which is why the business model provides companies with a way to target consumers much more directly than through traditional marketing.

Will you use FlavorPrint to find new recipes? Does the company have a bright future? Let me know in the comments!

 

References

Amazon Web Services. (n.d.). AWS Case Study: McCormick. [online] Available at: https://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/mccormick/ [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

FlavorPrint. (2017). FlavorPrint. [online] Available at: https://www.myflavorprint.com/ [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

Nash, K. (2015). Tech Spin-off from Spice Maker McCormick Puts CIO in the CEO Seat. [online] WSJ. Available at: https://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2015/04/01/tech-spin-off-from-spice-maker-mccormick-puts-cio-in-the-ceo-seat/ [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

Nunes, K. (2017). Innovation central to McCormick’s growth strategy. [online] Food Business News. Available at: http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Business_News/2017/04/Innovation_central_to_McCormic.aspx?ID={CD115D1F-0E2B-4AE5-8295-8ED5DD8C1516}&page=1 [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

SAP. (2016). SAP and Vivanda Serve Up FlavorPrint Technology. [online] Available at: https://news.sap.com/sap-and-vivanda-serve-up-flavorprint-technology/ [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

Tsekouras, D. (2018). CCDC Lecture 3.

The online community co-creation of Movember


It all started as a joke; 30 Australian men decided to undertake a fundraising activity to raise money for prostate cancer, testicle cancer and depression amongst men. The fundraising activity entailed the following: not shaving your moustache for 30 days during the month November. Movember was born. The fundraising activity transformed into a yearly event raising donation for prostate cancer, testicle cancer and men’s health in general. By 2014 the Movember foundation managed to raise more than 409 million euros.  By stimulating men to participate with Movember, the foundation tries to encourage early discovery of cancer and reduce the number of preventable deaths due to these types of cancer and other health issues.

When thinking of successful business models, charity foundations are not the first things that pop into mind. However, the enormous success of the Movember foundation is too striking to go unnoticed. One could say it has transformed into a global movement. How does this foundation differentiate itself from other annually re-occurring charity events? Let’s start with how it works:

First, to participate in the challenge, participants have to register to the foundation’s online platform. After that they can opt to grow a moustache for 30 days or to set a distance goal that the participant can either run, cycle, walk, row or swim towards. Another option is to host a Movember event, this can be anything from sports competitions to music events. The last two options also allow women to participate.

And what exactly is the success factor behind this strategy? It’s hard to pinpoint a single factor, especially because of the lack of research that has been done in the field value co-creation campaigns like Movember. Rather it is a multitude of factors combined that has made the Movember campaign such a thriving success.
The campaign is mainly reliant on the community participation and conversation through social media and worth of mouth, and hardly uses different sources of marketing such as above-the-line advertisements (Ogrodnik, 2014). By empowering its participants, Movember has handed the control over to the community. Instead of funding a campaign, participants run their own campaign (Meade, 2013). The Movember foundation makes use of so called “ value co-creation” (English and Johns, 2016).
As described by Nelson et. al 2014: “Value co-creation positions customers as consumers and producers alongside multiple actors within a network of continual, contextually contingent interdependent exchange” (English and Johns, 2016).

Firms or foundations are not longer the sole producer of value, rather they increasingly let the consumers participate in the creation of the value. Rather than approach consumers as end-consumers, they let consumers actively engage, creating mutually beneficial circumstances in which value is jointly created. Often this value is much greater than the company/foundation could ever have achieved alone (Darmody, 2009).

the Movember foundation would never have managed such an enormous reach by undertaking all its advertising itself. Instead by creating a platform for participation, it allowed its participants to playfully interact and create a social community, which ultimately led to Movember going viral with world-wide exposure.

So when the clock hits 23:59 on the 30th of November, does that mean that Movember is over? No it does not. After the yearly campaign has finished, it’s time to focus on all the achievements and the results that come from the raised funds and to think about possible new causes that Movember can support.

So what are the downsides of Movember’s strategy? One of the key challenges of such a viral campaign is to stay consciously linked with the cause. There is a large amount of people that have heard from Movember, and know that it is about growing a moustache in November, but are not aware of the charity message behind the campaign.  Furthermore, some big corporations actively promote the campaign, however the foundation has to be careful not to be taken advantage of. Sometimes the line between social corporate responsibility and the corporate’s brand building can be very thin, as some are earning on “moustache merchandise” and do not donate anything to the foundation (Beanland, 2014). Critics say that Movember is a good example of how egocentric charity has become, that participants use it as a public display for promoting their moral values, a form of exhibitionism (Brussen, 2012).

In my opinion, if using people’s exhibitionism to raise money works, it works. I’m very curious to see what the future for Movember will hold.

 

Sources:
Beanland, C. (2014). Take a punth on it: From Veganuary to Decembeard – How each month of. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/take-a-punth-on-it-how-each-month-of-the-year-became-a-charity-endeavour-9033226.html

Brussen, B. (2012). ‘Beste snordragers van Movember, jullie actie is smakeloos, kinderachtig en pathetisch’. [online] Volkskrant.nl. Available at: https://www.volkskrant.nl/opinie/-beste-snordragers-van-movember-jullie-actie-is-smakeloos-kinderachtig-en-pathetisch~a3352020/

Darmody, A. (2009). Value Co-Creation and New Marketing. [online] Timreview.ca. Available at: https://timreview.ca/article/302

 English, R. and Johns, R. (2016). Gender considerations in online consumption behavior and Internet use.

Isaac, A. (2015). How Movember is outgrowing moustaches. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2015/dec/02/how-movember-is-outgrowing-moustaches

Meade, A. (2013). Movember: from grassroots to global growth. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2013/nov/01/movember-grassroots-to-global-moustaches

Ogrodnik, I. (2014). What makes the Movember movement so successful?. [online] Global News. Available at: https://globalnews.ca/news/1637616/what-makes-the-movember-movement-so-successful/

 

GoMetro – Real Time Passenger Data for Public Transportation Systems


Cape Town, South Africa.

Three million commuters use the metro rail on a daily basis in South Africa. The underdeveloped public transportation system has frequent delays, however there are no notifications of cancellations or changes in the schedule due to the fact that there are no sources of real time travel information. The South African startup, GoMetro, provides commuters with mobile services through the mobile web, apps, socials networks and sms-services and thereby they connect transit operators with commuters who are at the center of the platform. Commuters in their turn log on to the platform and share their real time location, stops, delays and any cancelations. In return GoMetro can provide and exchange real-time arrival and departure information, current locations of vehicles, early notifications of operational breakdowns and travel disruptions of the public transportation system. Hereby, GoMetro, transit operators and commuters co-create value through the sharing of real time data information creating a platform using a customer-centric approach.

Although GoMetro started in South African cities with underdeveloped transportation systems, the scope of the business model reaches much further. Personal mobile devices are being used and have changed information distribution paradigms, however they have not yet been used in the public transportation domain (Nunes, Galvao and Cunha, 2014). When consumers interact with service providers, in this case GoMetro, a win-win situations is created. This business model incorporates three different roles for the commuters in the co-creation of value; they need to use the information, provide real time information and validate given information (Nunes, Galvao and Cunha, 2014). This business model can be used in many different countries and cities, as the use of mobile devices has risen substantially over the recent years and will continue to do so (Emarketer.com, 2018).

The three parties involved in the platform of GoMetro are the commuters, the transit companies and GoMetro itself, each creating value with each other as to create joint profitability. The commuters create value through sharing the real time travel data and use the travel data of others, thereby creating value for the platform as a whole. The transit companies can provide incentives such as discounts on travel fares for the commuters, as to incentivize them to share their travel data. GoMetro contributes by the creation of the platform and bringing all users together so they can co-create value, in return they make money through advertisements on the platform. The creation and development is done in cooperation with Intel, who provide technical support and insights. All these elements are linked to the customer-centricity of the platform and the interaction between the parties creates joint profitability for all players involved.

The institutional environment GoMetro faces in South African cities has been positive ever since GoMetro started with the idea. With millions of people commuting each day in South Africa and many cannot afford a car themselves, efficient public transportation could be a lifesaver. GoMetro helps to improve the efficiency and commuters adopt the platform in large numbers, as already near to a million people are registered users. Looking at the support the company is getting from both governmental institutions as well as private companies the platform seems to be beneficial for all. Increasing the use of public transportation in the big South African cities helps to reduce the use of private cars, air pollution and frees up space in the cities, as less cars enter the urban areas. All these elements contribute to a more efficient infrastructure of large cities. Having no legal boundaries or complications, makes the institutional environment even more advantageous for the platform of GoMetro.

One drawback is the issue of privacy concerns. Sharing real time personal travel information reveals where you are at a given moment in time and this captures valuable information which can also be used for undesirable purposes. Consumers have to consider whether sharing their real time travel data is worth the costs of sharing private information with the platform. As long as the benefits outweigh the costs, the platform has a sustainable business model and a bright future (Karwatzki et al., 2017).

The extent to which the business model of co-creating value by customers sharing their real time travel information with a platform can reach is yet to be determined. The need for a more efficient public transportation system and the willingness of commuters to share their real time travel data are the least requirements for the business model to succeed. ‘As cities grow, they are in need of a flexible mobility platform to service their mobility needs’ (Justin Coutzee, Founder of GoMetro, 2016). Big cities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are likely to adopt such business models as they want to improve the way people move within their urban areas.

 

 

 

 

References:

Nunes, A., Galvao, T. and Cunha, J. (2014). Urban Public Transport Service Co-creation: Leveraging Passenger’s Knowledge to Enhance Travel Experience. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 111, pp.577-585.

Emarketer.com. (2018). Mobile Phone, Smartphone Usage Varries Globally – eMarketer. [online] Available at: https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Mobile-Phone-Smartphone-Usage-Varies-Globally/1014738 [Accessed 13 Feb. 2018].

Karwatzki, S., Dytynko, O., Trenz, M. and Veit, D. (2017). Beyond the Personalization–Privacy Paradox: Privacy Valuation, Transparency Features, and Service Personalization. Journal of Management Information Systems, 34(2), pp.369-400.

SponsorKliks: A new way of fundraising


Introduction

How many of you donate money to charity? And if so, how much? In 1999, on average, Dutch people donated 0.96 per cent of their income on charity. In 2015, this has dropped to 0.77 per cent (Pama, 2017). This shows a clear trend that people in The Netherlands are spending less and less on charities while the charities still need donations. Companies such as 4MORGEN and Sponsorkliks try to solve this problem by providing a new way of fundraising. These companies are examples of affiliate websites which donate part of the received commission to charity. 4MORGEN was founded in 2015 and went out of business earlier this year. Sponsorkliks still exists which makes the business models interesting to examine.

How does it work?

As mentioned, the business model of Sponsorkliks provides a new way of fundraising for charities. Sponsorkliks works with affiliate marketing which is defined as ‘a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’ (Murray, 2017). In this case, the web shops pay a certain commission for every order that gets placed via Sponsorkliks. In other words, if an individual clicks on the link that is shown on Sponsorkliks.nl and buys something on the linked website, Sponsorkliks receives a commission. This commission is often a certain percentage of the total purchase amount. Next, part of this commission (75%) is donated to a charity and the other part is revenue for Sponsorkliks (25%) (Sponsorkliks, 2017). The customer can decide which charity they want to donate to. In this way, people can donate money and support a charity without it costing them any money.

Efficiency Criteria

The business model of Sponsorkliks is based on joint profitability since both the company and the customers benefit from the platform. Of course, Sponsorkliks receives part of the commission as revenue for every order placed. However, the revenue is not the only benefit Sponsorkliks receives. The company is a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business that applies a commercial strategy to maximize improvements in social, environmental and financial well-being. Furthermore, social enterprises can be structured as for-profit or non-profit. In this particular business case, for-profit applies since they keep part of the commission (Martin & Osberg, 2007). Since it is a social enterprise, Sponsorkliks contributes to the social well-being by motivating their customers to donate. This results in a positive feeling of contribution to society. Besides, the business model also provides value for their customers because donating money to charity will make them feel better. Therefore, the joint profitability is considered to be high.

Furthermore, Sponsorkliks meets the feasibility required arrangements criteria. If we look at the institutional environment, Sponsorkliks mainly corresponds to the social dimension since they actively participate in providing more donations to charity.

 Future

As mentioned, there are benefits for all the parties involved in the platform. However, 4MORGEN unfortunately went out of business this year. Sponsorkliks still exists but what about their future? A potential risk that could be seen at 4MORGEN is the low revenue if there are only few customers. The platform is a two-sided market where each side attracts more of the other. If there are more customers that buy via the website, more charities and web shops will join. If more web shops and charities join, it will attract more customers. Therefore, a low number of customers will result in little revenue. Besides, some customers of 4MORGEN showed concerns about the money actually arriving at the charity. If Sponsorkliks wants to succeed, they should be very transparent and clear in the way the donating works.

Concluding, there are still some challenges to overcome but the business model definitely provides value for all the parties involved. If everyone would shop via such a website as Sponsorkliks, the current lack of donations to charities could be resolved.

 

References

Martin, R. L. and Osberg, S. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition. Retrieved from: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/social_entrepreneurship_the_case_for_definition

Murray, J. (2017). Affiliates and affiliate agreemens in business. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalance.com/affiliates-and-affiliate-agreements-in-business-398119

Pama, G. (2017). Nederlanders geven steeds minder uit aan geode doelen. Retrieved from: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/04/20/nederlanders-geven-minder-uit-aan-goede-doelen-8274772-a1555259

Sponsorkliks (2017). Hoe werkt Sponsorkliks. Retrieved from: https://www.sponsorkliks.com/products/howdoesitwork-sk.php

4MORGEN (2017). Het verhaal van 4MORGEN. Retrieved from https://qa.4morgen.org/overons

 

Betting on your Footsteps: App lets users earn money through exercise


While fitness trackers and other health-technologies are on the rise, the global obesity rate is still increasing (NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, 2016). One of the main reasons for the increase in obesity is the general lack of physical exercise, often caused by a lack of motivation. To combat this, a variety of apps and fitness trackers have introduced the combination of social aspects of a community with physical exercise. People often find themselves more motivated if they can share their results afterwards or engage in a (subjective) virtual competition (Chen & Pu, 2014). A startup called StepBet takes these incentive-based activity apps to the next level by including financial compensation for the number of steps you set outdoor.

mobile sand walking wall spray color shadow couple paint prague graffiti art cool image m temple photograph praga 50 republic i leica 240 summilux czech bohemia cesko praha praag prag addiction antisocial ancient history

How does it work?

StepBet (currently in beta) is an app for smartphones that allows users to bet on their own behavior using their existing activity tracker. After joining a game, users bet around 50 euros on a personalized goal of daily steps to complete for a few weeks. If their goal is met after the specified period, they receive a cut of the total stake in the game. If users don’t meet their goals, the money they put in is distributed to the other players. The business model of StepBet tells us that StepBet retains 15% of the total pot, unless the game only consists of paying premium users (Stepbet, 2018).

Although not all the money goes towards the players, StepBet has been proven to be very effective in motivating players. Past research has shown that long-term motivation and engagement is increased by providing a combination of user interface elements, financial- and social incentives for exercise (Mitchell et al., 2013). Next to central financial incentives, the online community potentially influences the participation rate of StepBet by motives such as enjoyment or reputation in the community (Hamari, Sjöklint, & Ukkonen, 2016). The feeling of connectedness is both present in the community and within the games, although the players within the game could be less positive due to the competitive nature of the game. After all, the more players fail to meet their goal, the more profit the succeeding players receive.

Efficiency Criteria

The business model of StepBet is quite unusual, yet it seems that both the company and the connected users benefit from the system. StepBet receives revenue of participating users or paid memberships, but their business model also encourages physical activity. While StepBet does take a share of the profit that is actually meant for the ones that accomplish their goals, those users don’t really notice. Simultaneously, the users do reach their goals while potentially earning some money and participating in a rising community.  Therefore the joint profitability is considered high.

Although the benefits are clear for the parties that use StepBet, the future is not that clear. Because the business model is new in a sense that users bet money for their own physical activity, the final version of the app should maintain a strict policy. Some examples of risks that StepBet is facing are cheating users and the appropriate penalties,  the security of financial resources, and legal issues. According to the law, users StepBet are not officially gambling, but the company is undoubtedly subject to strict regulations. The current terms and agreements are extensive, but it is very important to reevaluate them regularly.  A final potential risk is the high competitiveness within the community of the platform, which may cause contrary effect of an online community as discussed before (Hamari et al., 2016). However, the social-political environment could provide opportunities since it helps to increase the worldwide activity levels of the populations and similarly, the people using the app seem to be very satisfied with the results (according to the online reviews; 4,5 star rating on Google play and Apple store). Concluding, the institutional environment is not as favorable as the joint profitability due to some risks and the subjugation of regulations, but should not block the growth of StepBet as a whole.

References

Chen, Y., & Pu, P. (2014, April). HealthyTogether: exploring social incentives for mobile fitness applications. In Proceedings of the second international symposium of chinese chi (pp. 25-34). ACM.

Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., & Ukkonen, A. (2016). The sharing economy: Why people participate in collaborative consumption. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology67(9), 2047-2059.

Mitchell, M. S., Goodman, J. M., Alter, D. A., John, L. K., Oh, P. I., Pakosh, M. T., & Faulkner, G. E. (2013). Financial incentives for exercise adherence in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. American journal of preventive medicine45(5), 658-667.

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. (2016). Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19· 2 million participants. The Lancet387(10026), 1377-1396.

Stepbet (2018). Walk More. Win Money | StepBet for iOS. [online] Stepbet.com. Available at: https://www.stepbet.com/faq/ [Accessed 18 Feb. 2018].

The sharing economy: children’s toys


Nowadays the electronical screen devices provide endless entertainment opportunities for children. Apple has a special ‘kids’ section in de App Store offering numerous different kinds of apps as games apps, educative apps, book reading apps etc. A survey conducted in 2014 already concluded that touch screens are the primary play activity followed by game consoles as shown in the figure below. It is hard for the traditional toys business to compete with the rapidly developing online kids’ entertainment industry (Michael Cohen Group, 2014).

Afbeelding1 childrenSource: (Michael Cohen Group, 2014)

Parents try to limit the screen-time per day of their children as they want to promote an active lifestyle as the consequences of frequent use of screen devices are severe. Physical health issues are one of the main concerns for parents as research shows that excessive screen time can lead to serious problems including obesity, higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes and increase abdominal fat (Nightingale et al. 2017, Suchert et al. 2016). Furthermore, on-screen activities cannot replace certain essential skill developments as for example hand-eye coordination and creativity.

One of the main reasons children are not playing as much with physical toys is that they lose interest overtime. Toys are expensive and the majority of households are not able to afford new toys on a regular basis (Pley, 2018). The company Pley provides the solution to the abovementioned issues. As the founder states:

“Being frustrated with finding the appropriate toys to my children as their interests change constantly, I realized there had to be a smarter way to play. Inspired by the sharing economy, we envisioned Pley.”

-Ranan Lachman, Founder of Pley

 

Business Model

Pley is a subscription based toy delivery service company based in the United States. Currently the company has over 300.000+ subscriptions. Pley provides two different services:

(1) Surprise box subscription

Afbeelding2 children.pngThe surprise box is available in different themes. The price for the boxes depend on subscription around $22/box. The boxes are delivered every 2 months.

(2) Toy Library subscription

Afbeelding3 children.pngThe toy library is a subscription based toy rental service. Depending on the subscription $12.99 for 1 credit/month and $29.99 for 3 credits/month the customer can choose from over 500+ toys in the toy library. The service applies the pick-enjoy-return&repeat method. This is theoretically the most interesting service of Pley, therefore the blog will focus on the Toy Library.

The toy library of Pley makes use of the concept of the sharing economy, more specific the collaborative consumption. Collaborative consumption can be defined as “the peertopeer based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services coordinated through communitybased online services” (Hamari et al., 2015).  The coordination of the toys is monitored by Pley, acting as a platform arranging the exchanges as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, there is the possibility to send old toys to Pley and receive a monetary value.

Afbeelding4 children

The success of Pley is explained by the fact that the company actively takes into consideration the needs of the customer and developed a platform that serves the needs of the customers. The customers want to (1) let their children play with physical toys in order to improve health and develop critical skills (2) let their children play with novel toys regularly and (3) not spend too much money on toys. The toy library of Pley conforms to all the wishes by engaging the customer in Pley’s subscription based toy sharing platform.

Efficiency criteria

The business model of Pley’s toy library is based on joint profitability of both the company and the customers. The customers benefit as they are able to receive and return toys regularly at a low rate, which would otherwise not have been possible as the alternative for novelty in toys is to buy new toys in the store at a high rate or let the children play on on-screen devices, both not desired. Pley benefits from the profits made from providing the subscription based service and from toys send to Pley they can use in the toy library, in the long term providing profit.

Furthermore, Pley meets the feasibility of required reallocations criteria. First, the polity and judiciary aspects are not a factor of concern for the business model as the activities are political independent and within the U.S law. Efficient social norms are carefully considered as the company is a Certified B Corporation and applies the buy-one-give-one model where for every sold toy, one toy is given to a child in need an underdeveloped area in the world (Pley, 2018).

Bibliograpy

  1. Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., & Ukkonen, A. (2015). The sharing economy: Why people participate in collaborative consumption. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
  2. Michael Cohen Group, Toys, Learning, & Play Summit. (2014) From: http://www.mcgrc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MCGRC_Digital-Kids-Presentation_pdf Assessed: 17-02-18
  3. Nightingale, C.M., Rudnicka, A.R., Donin, A.S., Sattar, N., Cook, D.G., Whincup, P.H., & Owen, C.G. (2017). Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 0:1-5.
  4. Pley, 2018. From https://www.pley.com/about. Assessed: 17-02-18
  5. Suchert, V., Hanewinkel, R., & Isensee, B. (2016). Screen time, weight status and the self-concept of physical attractiveness in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 48:11-17.

 

How to find commercially attractive user-generated entries?


Introduction

Letting users generate designs, also known as crowdsourcing, is the method when companies ask consumers to develop new ideas for products, slogans or specific problems. One of the pioneers within the field of asking ‘the crowd’ to contribute new products is the LEGO ideas platform. Here consumers can share their idea and gather support, hereafter LEGO will review all ideas and perhaps develop this particular idea into a new product.

Benefits

Crowdsourcing has several benefits for companies, such as the ability to solve problems, generate ideas, outsource tasks or use it as information pooling. (Tsekouras, 2018) However, Franke et al. (2006) found that users’ willingness to pay also increases substantially if they are allowed to design their own solutions. Resulting in a sales increase for the companies. The paper by Berg Jensen et al. (2014) studied which data can be used to help a focal producer firm to reduce its workload in the selection phase by predicting which user-generated designs it would most likely perceive as commercially attractive.

Lead-users

The study focused on the lead-users within the LEGO user community and their contributions to LEGO ideas. Lead-users were defined in 1986 by von Hippel as: “the members of a user population who get benefits of obtaining a solution to their needs and are at the leading edge of important trends in a marketplace.” Franke et al., (2006) elaborated further on this and found that lead-users tend to be the ones that come up with the most commercially attractive ideas in online communities. The study screened lead-users for input concerning relevant predictors and corresponding theories. It became apparent that one could distinguish between characteristics of the designs that lead-users tend to produce and the individual characteristics of lead-users.

Analysis

Berg Jensen et al. used 1799 designs from 116 user-designers to find whether firms can anticipate on the most commercially attractive ideas. The three prominent variables that were used by a focal producer firm of such a community for filtering of promising user-generated designs were:

  • The complexity of a given design
  • The positive feedback from the community on specific designs
  • The intensity of design activity by a user designer

The review of whether the focal producer firm perceives a user-generated design as attractive was done by measuring the assessment of two professional LEGO reviewers. These reviewers were trained by LEGO to find which design would be appealing to large market segments. However, regarding the data collection it is questionable whether this outcome is generalizable and attractive for other firms. As just two LEGO employees checked the designs, this could be highly biased and might have been checked twice or perhaps added a group of lead-users.

Complexity of design

The variable shows products that are rich in appearance and are therefore of great consumer value compared to alternative and competing designs. In this study the complexity is the number of pieces utilized in a given design. This also results in differentiation from competitors (Baldwin et al., 2006). The authors found an inverted U-shaped relationship between the complexity and its perceived commercial attractiveness. However, complexity can also result in higher production and distribution costs, as there is a point in time where the cost dimension outweighs the revenue dimension of a new design. The final turning point was found to be at 3950 pieces, which is highly context specific; therefore it is difficult to infer the application to a broad market of user-generated design platforms.

Positive community feedback

When a given design has attracted some endorsement from other users who may represent broader market segments this shows the positive community feedback (Baldwin et al., 2006). The authors found highly statistical significant evidence (.05083) that the relationship between the positive feedback received by a given user-generated design within the peer community and its perceived commercial attractiveness was positive. The empirical setting of the study was within a brand community where members have strong emotional attachments with the focal producer firm, which makes it hard for other firms’ communities to find lead-users that are such fanatics of their products.

Design activity by user designer.

The intensity of the design activity by a user designer is thus the number of designs generated and posted into LEGO ideas by a user. The results show there is a U-shaped relationship between the intensity of a certain user-designer’s activities and the likelihood that a given design by that user will be perceived as commercially attractive. The turning point turned out to be at a generation of 99 designs in two weeks time. This seems like an extreme amount, however, these types of user-designers are not uncommon in the brand community setting and might represent an important source of innovation.

 Community

There was no evidence to infer that whether the presence of a user-designer in the community increases the likelihood that a specific design by that user will be perceived as commercially attractive by the focal firm. This would show that that the community LEGO built does not add to the final commercial attractiveness of entire product. With this outcome the authors would show that the interaction within the community does not really have a commercial benefit.

Conclusion

Even though this study is difficult to generalize for other firms focusing on communities, the findings will help firms that use user-design platforms for physical prototypes, being a very niche market. This study is a first step towards a new web-based marketing research approach that can enable firms to filter vast number of user-generated designs more effectively and efficiently.

 

Sources

Baldwin, C., von Hippel, E. and Hienerth, C. (2006). How User Innovations Become Commercial Products: A Theoretical Investigation and Case Study. MIT Sloan Research Paper, (9).

Franke, N., von Hippel, E. and Schreier, M. (2006). Finding Commercially Attractive User Innovations: A Test of Lead-User Theory. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23(4), pp.301-315.

Jensen, M., Hienerth, C. and Lettl, C. (2014). Forecasting the Commercial Attractiveness of User-Generated Designs Using Online Data: An Empirical Study within the LEGO User Community. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31, pp.75-93.

Tsekouras, D. (2018). CUSTOMER CENTRIC DIGITAL COMMERCE – Session 3.

von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts. Management Science, 32(7), pp.791-805.

Sharing and Translating lyrics for the world: Musixmatch


“Words matter” or “Your free music sounds better with lyrics” are just two of the slogans that best describe Musixmatch, the Italian start-up that has come to be the world’s largest lyrics catalog and platform. Founded in 2010, the company has grown to reach more than 60 million users around the world. But how does Musixmatch work?

The Musixmatch catalogue, platform and app principally allow users to: 1) access lyrics and/or their translation in other languages; 2) share and/or review written down and/or translated lyrics from songs all around the world; 3) synchronize their music library of many music apps (e.g. Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music) so that the lyrics pop up (like in Youtube lyrics videos) when one is listening to a song on a music app in his/her device; and 4) create the synchronization song(s) – lyrics, which will then be shared worldwide via Musixmatch and the apps in which Musixmatch is supported.

Musixmatch has been thus ideated for users who want to search for lyrics and also who want to see/think about the lyrics while listening to a song. In this respect, Musixmatch CEO Massimo Ciociola points out (paraphrased): “The fifth most searched category in Google is lyrics. Why, in accessing lyrics, can’t we provide a better, faster, more complete, more comprehensive catalogue and user experience with songs’ lyrics?” Another, peculiar aspect of Musixmatch is the size of its workforce compared to its users’ base. 30 employees (all engineers) vs more than 50 million users/downloads. These figures point out to an important feature of Musixmatch: the fundamental role that users and contributors have in creating value for the platform. In this respect, Musixmatch encourages users to contribute to the catalogue, by either writing, translating, reviewing or synchronizing songs’ lyrics. In this way, Musixmatch, like many other platforms, has been subjected to so-called “network effects”, where the value of the app to users has increased due to the increasing number of contributors. As CEO Ciociola points out: “Lyrics  missing? We ask the community”.  The incentive schemes for this crowd-sourced component can be best described by quoting the company’s website: “Inside the Musixmatch community users earn points based on the actions they do on the lyrics. Based on those points the user can reach a higher level and status in the community that give more power to his/her actions”. Therefore, the incentive scheme for users to generate value for the app does not include monetary rewards, but only recognition in terms of status/power of action in the user community.

Despite this absence of monetary rewards for contributing, and despite the fact that the company has not officially become profitable, there are several mutual benefits of this contribution-based system for both the firm and contributors.  Users, through their contribution(s), can “show-off” and gain “social” benefits, in terms of increased reputation and self-esteem in the community they belong to. Some top users can even become “curators”, which “gives them extra powers to control what’s happening in the community”.  Another aspect that Musixmatch emphasizes is the “feeling” aspect, where the firm asks “passionate” users who really enjoy to share lyrics to contribute. This emphasis is perfectly justified by the fact that people indeed love to share lyrics and the emotions that come with them and their blending with music in many social settings. We can think of Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube, but also of more offline settings like parties or night campfires with guitars and other instruments.

Musixmatch, from its point of view, sees the value of its platform increasing as more and more of its users contribute. Musixmatch’s current main source of revenue is data licensing , but the firm is also considering to  start selling advertising space. Either way, a platform with larger amounts of data, which results from the network effects from the increasing number of users, can be a greater source of revenue for Musixmatch. The costs of monitoring the crowd-sourcing process can be rather limited. The microtasking nature of sharing, reviewing and translating lyrics does not require high levels of cognitive ability, competences or a particular expertise to check the quality of users’ contribution. Also, often times quality checks for lyrics translation and composition are done by the users themselves. In this respect, the company has been able to successfully set up a firm and effective set of community rules that regulates users’ activities.

In terms of external arrangements, Musixmatch has been the first lyrics’ app and platform to formalize legal agreements with major international publishers, such as EMI Publishing, SonyATV and PeerMusic among others. This has permitted MusixMatch to legitimize its role in the apps and catalogues’ world, to increase its users’ base and to become the world’s largest lyrics’ platform, or, as CEO Ciociola points out, the “Music Vocabulary of the World”.

 

Sources: 

Blohm, I., Zogaj, S., Bretschneider, U., & Leimeister, J. M. (2018). How to Manage Crowdsourcing Platforms Effectively?. California Management Review, 60(2), 122-149.

“Musixmatch Wants to Be the ‘IMDb of Music Lyrics,’ Launches Lyric Video Messaging App”Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-17

O’Hear, Steve. “Song Lyrics App Musixmatch Hacks Its Way To 50M Downloads/30M MAUs, Adds Spotify Support”TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-02-17

https://www.musixmatch.com/

https://www.musixmatch.com/community-rules

 

 

 

Yolt: own back your financial data


A growing sense of mistrust towards traditional banks after the 2008 financial crisis gave rise to many new fin-techs. These new fin-techs were focusing on new financial services, including crowdfunding, mobile payment solutions and financial platform, which traditional banks were not offering to large extent at that time (Darolles, 2016). Personalized solutions to financial matters offered by these fin-techs were in stark contrast with the traditional finite services and products offered by traditional banks. Technological advantages and new regulation reduce the entry barriers to the financial sector, which give fin-techs access to technological solutions at much lower cost as traditional players often have a disadvantage due to their technological architecture (Darolles, 2016). Millennials in particular have lost their interest in financial matters, as traditional banking is considered too functional (Tuk, 2018). Fin-techs focus on this generation with new interactive solutions where customers are actively involved in solutions for financial matters.

Traditionally, banks were the only institutions that had direct access to customer financial data. With the introduction of new European financial regulation (PSD2) last month, the way how we interact with our banks may fundamentally change. The most fundamental change of the new PSD2 regulation is that banks are obliged to share financial data with third parties if a customer wants to share them (Manthorpe, 2018). In this way, third-parties, like fin-techs, can access the bank account of a bank customer through an API and provide services on the basis of this data. APIs have been used for years, but last decade’s technological developments allow banks to operate a new form of API management. Financial account data resulted from open APIs is used by the newcomers and therefore challenge traditional banks. For traditional banks the new PSD2 regulation have large strategic implementation as they may lose the customer interaction and just become infrastructure providers while others leverage on more profitable financial services. So, long-term success of traditional banks depends on how they respond. To a large extent, traditional banks are now collaborating with fin-techs that provide these third-party services. INGs answer to these developments is the application Yolt, a smart money management application, leveraging on the developments of PSD2 and open banking.

 

How does Yolt work?

Yolt mines customer data across different accounts of different banks and provides them in a single overview to manage all financial matters (Schiffers, 2017). Integrating accounts from different bank accounts provides Yolt with an extensive dataset from which the application can analyze financial behavior. In this way, data analysis can predict balances and provide tips on budgeting and savings, which will give customers more insight into their finance (Tuk, 2018). This does not stop here, as Yolt offers a special marketplace for partners. For example, utility service providers can collaborate as a partner with Yolt and offer comparing services on the basis of financial data of the customers (Tuk, 2018). So, if your energy bill may be reduced by switching energy provider, Yolt will automatically notify the customer. Furthermore, customers can actively be involved when one of their contracts ends. Again, Yolt will automatically notify the customer and may offer substitutes to the current contract.

 

Efficiency criteria

After one year of developing the application internally at ING, Yolt was released to the public in the summer of 2017 in the United Kingdom (Schiffers, 2017). In January 2018, the introduction month of the new PSD2 regulation, Yolt had 100.000 users (Schiffers, 2017).  As PSD2 will mandate banks to share financial data, competition about financial data will be fierce as Yolt will not only compete with traditional banks but also big tech companies like Google and Apple who both have their interest in managing finance. From a customer’s perspective, using an open banking initiative like Yolt puts the customer back in control and possession of their own financial data and can decide themselves how they want to participate in analyzing their data. The traditional financial ecosystem limits customers in awareness and access to better opportunities, which is one of the reasons that bank customers do not change quickly the bank that their parents also had. Transparency did shake up many industries, like how Trivago did shake up the travel industry, Yolt may shake up the financial sector by providing the most fitting financial product to the customer (Tuk, 2018). This may disadvantage the parent company ING, as Yolt will offer also products and services from competitors. So, from Yolt/ING’s perspective the Yolt platform is a way to leverage new regulation that will strategically impact a traditional bank like ING. In this way, ING can test new ideas concerning open banking and PSD2 in the UK market. This market is particularly important as the UK government is one of the frontrunners in the EU in terms of open banking (Manthorpe, 2017). In collaboration with the eight largest banks in the UK, Open Banking Limited a non-profit organization, has already been set up to streamline and standardize the processes to facilitate an open banking ecosystem (Manthorpe, 2017). Learning from the UK launch, ING could leverage open banking in other markets as well. Furthermore, ING can test new revenue possibilities as Yolt will receive a commission on the contract concluded through the platform.

In summary, Yolt will bring value to both the consumer as well as ING, by providing insights into financial data and related products and services as well as providing insights how to best practically apply the possibilities of the new regulation.

 

 

Darolles, S. (2016). The rise of fintechs and their regulation. Financial Stability Review, 20(4), 85-92. Retrieved from https://publications.banque-france.fr/sites/default/files/medias/documents/financial-stability-review-20_2016-04.pdf

 

Manthorpe, R. (2018). To change how you use money, Open Banking must break banks. Wired.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2018, from http://www.wired.co.uk/article/psd2-future-of-banking

 

Schiffers, M. (2018). Yolt verkent voor ING de wereld van fintech. Fd.nl. Retrieved 17 February 2018, from https://fd.nl/ondernemen/1230113/yolt-verkent-voor-ing-de-wereld-van-fintech

Tuk, Y. (2018). Fintech Yolt over eigen groei en komst PSD2: ‘Niet direct open Europa’. Emerce.nl. Retrieved 17 February 2018, from https://www.emerce.nl/achtergrond/fintech-yolt-groei-impact-psd2-direct-open-europa

Alexa, what is your business model?


Introduction
“The conversations of the future are between a person and a machine” (Hood, 2017). You might have seen the movie ‘Her’ where an advanced female AI voice-assistant and a man build a relationship together. We are not there yet, but conversations with machines are definitely on the rise. Today, 40% of the adults use voice search once per day and the prediction for 2020 is that 50% of the searches will be done through voice (Jeffs, 2018). Smart-speakers in houses and offices are used to channel voice-searches. Amazon Echo, had the first mover advantage in 2014, and currently dominates the market with a share of roughly 70% (Quartz, 2018). In 2017, Google Home was launched, followed by the Apple HomePod. Microsoft and Facebook are also aiming to release their first smart-speaker later in the year.

her-fp-0880
Joaquin Phoenix plays a man in love with an operating system in director Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her.

To better understand smart-speakers and virtual assistants this blog analyses the business model of the Amazon Echo with Alexa as virtual assistant.  Specifically the following questions are discussed:
1.How does Amazon create value for customers?
2.How does Amazon profit?
3.How does Amazon maximise efficiency in its developer’s network?
4.How does Amazon deal with privacy?

1. Customer value
voice-requests, music, calling and banking
The Echo allows customers to request actions at a virtual assistant using voice. Voice is faster and more convenient than typing and more easy to do while moving (Agrawal, 2017). You can ask Alexa to play specific music, search wikipedia for answers, do maths, set timers, set events or play voice games. More advanced uses cases are the ability to call, message someone, check your bank account or transfer money. More uses cases are available on the Amazon Echo and instead of the App terminology on mobile platforms, these voice programs called “Skills”.

Home-integration
The Echo can be connected with other devices such as your lights, fridge, thermostat, locks on doors. Routines can be set, for example with “Alexa goodnight” to shut down lights and lock-doors at once (Newman, 2017).

Shopping
You can order products from the Amazon store using your Echo. With the re-order command you can re-order a certain product and Alexa will review your purchase history to see what brand you want (Gartenberg, 2017)

Emergent Value
As Grönroos and Voimo (2013) discuss, Amazon can be seen as the value facilitator, offering the Echo, assistant and skills for the customer to create value in-use. Moreover, as experience increases more value for the customer emerges. Especially with AI learning from the customer, a system views can be taken towards value creation. Emergent properties arise, when the customer continuously interacts with AI, allowing the customer and AI to create more and more personalized value which could not be predicted ex-ante.

2. Profit
At this moment the monetisation of the Echo or Alexa is not the focus of Amazon. Amazon aims to capture the complete market and improve the product (Simonite, 2016).  Several revenue paths exists and will be more important as the customer base and frequency of use increases:

  1. Increased sales via improved recommendations. Recommendations stems from understanding the customer and delivery of recommendations (Adomavicius and Tuzhilin’s, 2005). Voice-conversations with Alexa provide valuable information on who the customer is, what he/she wants and in the customer funnel he/she is. This data can be merged with data with the other data Amazon has to form a completer picture. This customer understanding improves the recommendations Amazon can provide and increases the sales revenue for Amazon or marketing advice revenue. For the latter, Amazon can use the understanding to better advice other companies on how to target a specific customer.
  2. Increased sales via easier customer journey. Voice is more natural than typing and hence it has become easier to order a product. It is expected that replenishment orders, for example for toilet paper or batteries, will be increase. See figure 1 for a forecast of US voice payments and number of voice-users.
  3. Ads revenue. Amazon is looking into promoted search results for voice-searches on Alexa. Partner companies would bid to end up high in the search results, which is even more important for voice than with a desktop/mobile search (Newman, 2018).
  4. Skills commission fee. Similar to Apple taking a share from app purchases in the Appstore, Amazon could take a share from skill subscriptions or in-skill purchases to earn money from its open platform. This brings us to the next subsection: efficiency.
594adeaca3630f1b008b45b9-750-529
Figure 1: Forecast US voice (payments) adoption

3. Efficiency
Amazon has the platform challenge that it wants to increase participation on the customer as well as the developer side. Amazon is experimenting with its internal institutional arrangements (IA) with developers. Carson et al. (1999) would argue that a contractual arrangement is an efficient IA if it can, among other criteria, increase the profit of the system and of individual contributors. Since 2018, Amazon offers the option for in-skill purchases with Amazon Pay, such that users can pay developers. Subscriptions is a second channel through which developers can earn money. Profits for developers and Amazon can still be improved if discoverability of Skills, which is harder in a voice-based environment, increases. The contribution of developers also depends on the easy of use of the developer’s toolkit (Hollander, 2017).

4. Privacy
How does Amazon use your data. “Alexa uses your voice recording to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services,” Amazon says. “This includes training Alexa to interpret speech and language to help improve her ability to understand and respond to your requests.” (Newman, 2018b).
Amazon only records data when Alexa is triggered, meaning, when the ‘wake word’ Alexa is mentioned, and allows users to review and delete voice-recordings. If you want to delete bulk recordings you need to go to the Amazon website. There is no method to have your recordings automatically deleted. (Barett, 2017)
Amazon aims to better and better understand the customer which includes deducting your emotions from speech (Dickson, 2018). The external institutions about privacy will highly influence what Amazon is able to do and not do with your data in the future and how specifically transparency information should be provided.

Concluding notes
Voice-search and virtual assistants are on the rise with smart speakers as their physical embodiment. Customer value is derived from using voice to ask questions, shop and control home furniture. As AI advances, more personalised and emergent value arises for the customer. Monetisation is not a focus yet for Amazon, but which massive adoption in the future, there will be plenty of ways to profit from the Echo and Alexa. Improved recommendation systems, sales, ad placement and commissions on Skill subscriptions are examples of profit avenues. Institutional challenges arise for Amazon in the best alignment of developer incentives and when future privacy regulations change.

References:

Adomavicius, G., & Tuzhilin, A. (2005). Toward the next generation of recommender systems: A survey of the state-of-the-art and possible extensions. IEEE transactions on knowledge and data engineering, 17(6), 734-749.

Agrawal 2017, accessed at:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2017/08/27/how-voice-search-will-change-the-future-of-seo/#636a046d7ca1

Barett, 2017, accessed at:
https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-echo-and-google-home-voice-data-delete/

Carson, S. J., Devinney, T. M., Dowling, G. R., & John, G. (1999). Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems. The Journal of Marketing, 115-130.

Dickson, 2018, accessed at:
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/amazons-alexa-wind-monetizing-feelings/

Gartenberg 2017, accessed at:
https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/10/15947672/amazon-alexa-voice-controls-shopping-prime-echo-how-to

Hollander, 2017, accessed at:
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-rolls-out-monetization-tools-for-alexa-skills-2017-12?international=true&r=US&IR=T

Hood, 2017, accessed at:
https://mayvendev.com/blog/siri-alexa-conversational-systems-changing-business

Jeffs, 2017, accessed at:
https://www.branded3.com/blog/google-voice-search-stats-growth-trends/

Newman 2017, accessed at:
https://www.fastcompany.com/40474833/amazons-alexa-is-a-real-smart-home-platform-now

Newman, 2018
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-exploring-ad-options-echo-alexa-2018-1?international=true&r=US&IR=T

Newman, 2018b, accessed at:
https://www.fastcompany.com/40522226/can-mycrofts-privacy-centric-voice-assistant-take-on-alexa-and-google

Simonite 2016, accessed at:
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601583/how-alexa-siri-and-google-assistant-will-make-money-off-you/

Quartz, 2017, accessed at:
Amazon Echo’s dominance in the smart-speaker market is a lesson on the virtue of being first

Helix: How Your DNA is Choosing Your Wine


Imagine that you really like pizza. You probably have a favourite pizza – and a favourite place to get it – right? Let’s say your favourite pizza is a margarita. When you get the pizza and eat it, you will probably like it. However, do you not sometimes think something could have been done differently? Maybe there should have been less cheese, maybe it’s too greasy, or maybe the temperature is just off? Does getting the perfect pizza every time sound like a dream to you?  Well, it’s time to wake up then, because consumer genomics start-up Helix is very close to realizing this concept.

But first, let’s back it up a bit.

What are Human Genomics?
The whole concept of human genomics started off in medicine. A patient’s DNA would be sequenced, which means that “the exact order of the four bases in a strand of DNA” would be determined (yourgenome, 2016). Why does this matter, you ask? Well, with the exact order of the composition of somebody’s DNA, doctors could tailor their treatment, medicine, and pretty much every factor that would impact a patient’s health (Farr, 2016). Probably the most popular case of DNA sequencing is that of Steve Jobs, who paid $100,000 in 2011 to sequence his DNA in an attempt to let doctors gain more insight into his sickness and try to help him more effectively (Farr, 2016). Next to the value of DNA sequencing in medicine, Illumina – the company whose supercomputers are behind 90% of DNA sequencing ever done – has identified a use for DNA sequencing outside of the medical field (Farr, 2016).

The Birth of Helix
Helix – an Illumina spin-off – is said to “democratize genomics” (Farr, 2016). Illumina has managed to bring the costs of DNA sequencing down tremendously – partly due to decreasing lab costs and more lenient regulatory decisions in the US (Farr, 2016; Teo, 2017). Where Steve Jobs paid $100,000 in 2011, a comparable procedure would now cost less than $1000 (Farr, 2016). According to helix, DNA sequencing can – next to provide more insight into diseases – discover other personal matters like your lifestyle, personality traits, taste senses, and much more (Farr, 2016). See where I am going with this?

Helix provides many different products. They – for now – offer six different product categories (Helix, 2018).

  • Ancestry: These products help you find out where your ancestors stem from, to hundreds of thousands of years back;
  • Entertainment: This is the fast-moving consumer goods section, if you will. Here, you can get for example a wine tailored to your taste perfectly;
  • Family: These products are mainly meant for families that want to grow, offering them fertility information;
  • Fitness: Here, Helix wants to help you to “reach your full potential” by designing the perfect workout routine;
  • Health: This is the more traditional use of DNA sequencing as explained in the previous section;
  • Nutrition: Lastly, the nutrition products let you design your perfect nutrition plan that suits your metabolism the best (Helix, 2018).

Source: Helix.com

The Business Model
Helix has a new and unusual business model. As they work closely with Illumina, they have many valuable resources that help them analyse consumers’ whole DNA spectrum, whereas similar companies are able to only analyse part of it (Zhang, 2017). Consumers pay a one-time $80 fee to analyse their DNA and the rest is subsidized by Helix (Zhang, 2017). The consumers then choose what kind of products they would like to purchase, and Helix lets third-party companies create those products based on the genetic information Helix provides them (Zhang, 2017).
Helix has, in that sense, created an online platform with customers – on one hand – who gain access to the platform by letting their DNA be sequenced, and on the other hand the product developers (Molteni, 2017).
The business model is efficient in the sense that its platform brings together companies that offer very specialized, personalized products and consumers that are seeking such products and cannot find them in conventional retail channels. Customers benefit as they receive products that are tailored to their individual tastes to the maximum extent, and companies benefit as they cater to the customers. Also, as the companies get to know more and more about individual customers, they could use this information to develop tailored product recommendations. However, as will be explained in the next section, the efficiency of the business model might suffer from regulatory decisions and consumer privacy issues.

Talk About Personalized Products
Basically, Helix takes product personalization to the next level. Personalizing products has many advantages, for example customers’ craftsmanship is emphasized, and customers form a connection with the product if they have put effort into designing it (Nagle, 2017). However, writing your name on a wine label and getting the wine tailored to your DNA are two completely different things. Because DNA is pretty much as personal as you can get, there are potential drawbacks of the Helix business model. The first and most obvious issue is privacy concerns. If people are already freaking out about the cookies that are gathered on websites, why would they send their DNA to a company to get a product of which they could by a similar version in the supermarket?

Some companies using DNA sequencing store consumer data for “unspecified research” and might sell it to third parties (Niemiec & Howard, 2016: p.23). If consumers get suspicious about this, and privacy concerns rise through the roof, it might negatively impact Helix as well. Also, ethical issues such as discrimination based on DNA information are surfacing, too (Farr, 2016). Imagine that your life insurance gets to know your DNA information, this could highly impact the price you pay.

All in all, although customers like personalized products, the safety of information security measures – or even international regulations – need to be established before customers can completely trust the businesses.

The Future
In the future, Helix aims to create an “App Store” for their genomics products and services (Farr, 2016). They want to create the platform in such way that consumers can access their DNA information, browse the “App Store” to discover products that they like (Farr, 2016). The consumers just need to let their DNA be sequenced once – just like you create your Apple ID once – and can then browse the “App Store” as they wish (Farr, 2016). Helix compares their platform to the App Store rather than to Google Play, as they aim to review each seller, which is what Apple does do each app created, whereas Google takes a more lenient approach (Zhang, 2017). Right now, Helix already has 14 employees whose task it is to get to the bottom of the products developed by their featured companies (Zhang, 2017). The buzzword of the platform is that it is “dynamic” (Molteni, 2017). Helix wants to evolve and widen its platform as the research improves, resulting in more products and services to offer to their customers (Molteni, 2017).

So, if you ask Helix, the next time you eat a margarita, you will love it so much that you will feel it in your genes, literally.

References
Farr, C. (2016). Genetics Startup Helix Wants To Create A World of Personalized Products from Your DNA. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/3065413/genetics-startup-helix-wants-to-create-a-world-of-personalized-products-from-your-dna [Accessed February 16th, 2018]

Helix (2018). How It Works. Retrieved from: https://www.helix.com/howitworks/ [Accessed February 16th, 2018]

Molteni, M. (2017). Helix’s Bold Plan To Be Your One Personal Genomics Shop. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/story/helixs-bold-plan-to-be-your-one-stop-personal-genomics-shop/ [Accessed February 17th, 2018]

Nagle, T. (2017) How Personalized Goods are Shaping the Economy. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2017/05/05/how-personalized-goods-are-shaping-the-economy/#b6bca33a1cce [Accessed February 17th, 2018]

Niemec, E. & Howard, H. C. (2016). Ethical Issues in Consumer Genome Sequencing: Use of Conumer’s Samples and Data. Applied & Transational Genomics, 8, pp.23-30.

Teo, G. (2017). The Second Coming of Consumer Genomics With 3 Predictions for the Future. Retrieved from: https://medcitynews.com/2017/07/second-coming-consumer-genomics-3-predictions-2018/?rf=1 [Accessed February 17th, 2018]

YourGenome (2018). What is DNA Sequencing? Retrieved from: https://www.yourgenome.org/stories/what-is-dna-sequencing [Accessed February 16th, 2018]

Zhang, S. (2017). How Do You Know When a DNA Test is B.S.? Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/helix-dna-tests/534402/ [Accessed February 17th, 2018]

“THIS POST IS SPONSORED”


Effects of Sponsorship Disclosure on Persuasion Knowledge and Electronic Word of Mouth in the Context of Facebook

facebook-logo-100035675-mediumThey are everywhere. We all have seen one: a post on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform with a little sign saying that the post is sponsored. We see a celebrity enjoying a certain product and recommending it to the audience. We think to ourselves if the person in question is genuine in his or her motives of sharing it, whether they are actually using the product or whether we should follow their recommendation to purchase it ourselves and possibly share our newly found trophy with our family and friends. This simple everyday ritual we have with ourselves, sometimes multiple times a day, has prominent psychological mechanisms coming into play, guiding us through the journey starting from the recognition of the post as sponsored to eventually activating us to share it with our loved ones.

These psychological mechanisms lay the foundation of the research conducted by Boerman, Willemsen and Van der Aa (2017). The researchers identify the source of the sponsored post(brand or celebrity) as the initial step to recognizing it as carrying persuasive, or in other words, advertising value by consumers. This is defined as the activation of the conceptual persuasion knowledge, which in turn, activates the attitudinal persuasion knowledge. Attitudinal PK gets activated when consumers start developing critical and distrusting feelings towards the advertisement (Boerman, Van Reijmersdal and Neijens 2012).  All these are used as determinants to find out whether the consumers eventually engage in electronic word of mouth (eWOM; cf., Berger 2014).

Designing the experiment

Building on the theoretical foundations mentioned above, researchers conduct an online experiment with 409 participants. A post with David Beckham drinking an Illy branded cup of coffee with the text ‘Starting the day with a nice cup of coffee!’ (posted by David Beckham) and ‘David Beckham starts his day with a nice cup of coffee!’ (posted by the brand) is shown to participants to test the following hypotheses by having participants answer a series of questions:

H1. A Facebook ad that is accompanied by a sponsorship disclosure (‘Sponsored’) will be more likely to activate consumers’ conceptual persuasion knowledge, than a Facebook ad without a sponsorship disclosure.

H2. A Facebook ad that is posted by a celebrity will be less likely to activate conceptual persuasion knowledge, than a Facebook ad that is posted by a brand.

H3. The effects of a sponsorship disclosure on the use of conceptual persuasion knowledge are stronger when a Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity compared to when a Facebook ad is posted by a brand.

H4. Source moderates the effect of the sponsorship disclosure on attitudinal persuasion knowledge through the activation of conceptual persuasion knowledge: The mediated relationship of the disclosure on attitudinal persuasion knowledge will be stronger when the Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity (vs. a brand).

H5. When a Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity, a sponsorship disclosure activates conceptual persuasion knowledge, which results in the use of attitudinal persuasion knowledge and ultimately lowers eWOM. When a Facebook ad is posted by a brand, such serial mediation is less likely to occur.

The figure below clearly outlines the experiment design and the source of the Facebook post as the initial stimulus.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 18.06.39

Anticipated results

In line with the expectations, researchers found evidence to support all five hypotheses. They found that the conceptual and attitudinal PK activation was significantly different when the source of the post was a celebrity in the presence of a sponsorship disclosure. This was not the case when the ad was posted on Facebook by the brand. Activation of the attitudinal PK after recognizing the post as an ad resulted in consumers engaging less in eWOM as a result of the distrusting feelings they developed by recognizing the post as advertising. An interesting finding of the study, however, indicates that little attention is paid to the sponsorship disclosures. The study shows that 59% of the participants did not recognize the sponsorship disclosure which is also in line with previous studies conducted (e.g., Boerman, Van Reijmersdal, and Neijens 2012; Campbell, Mohr, and Verlegh 2013; Wojdynski and Evans 2016). Intuitively, this has an impact on the interpretation of the results. Even though the activation of the conceptual and attitudinal persuasion knowledge of the consumers will result in less engagement, lowering the perceived success of the ad, this does not directly condemn sponsored celebrity Facebook posts to failure since the majority of the people won’t recognize the post as an ad.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Leveling the playing field

Although the study comes with its limitations due to its single product, brand (Illy coffee), celebrity (David Beckham) and geographical (conducted in the Netherlands) focus, it provides invaluable insights into the effect of sponsorship disclosures on Facebook posts. It seems the regulators’, such as FTC’s, disclosure requirements are not sufficient enough to level the playing field for consumers when it comes to social media advertising. Further research might reveal, however, how this could be overcome as well as consumers moving along the learning curve might become more aware themselves. Until then, better to think twice before you share that post by your favorite celebrity you saw on your newsfeed.

References

Berger, Jonah (2014), “Word of Mouth and Interpersonal Communication: A Review and Directions for Future Research,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24, 4, 586–607.

Boerman, Sophie C., Eva A. Van Reijmersdal, and Peter C. Neijens (2012),“Sponsorship Disclosure: Effects of Duration on Persuasion Knowledge and Brand Responses,” Journal of Communication, 62, 6, 1047–64.

Boerman, S., Willemsen, L. and Van Der Aa, E. (2017). “This Post Is Sponsored” Effects of Sponsorship Disclosure on Persuasion Knowledge and Electronic Word of Mouth in the Context of Facebook. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 38, 82-92.

Campbell, M., Mohr, G. and Verlegh, P. (2013). Can disclosures lead consumers to resist covert persuasion? The important roles of disclosure timing and type of response. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(4), pp.483-495.

Wojdynski, Bartosz W. and Nathaniel J. Evans (2016), “Going Native: Effects of Disclosure Position and Language on the Recognition and Evaluation of Online Native Advertising,” Journal of Advertising, 45, 2, 157–68.

Would you mind filling out this survey?


Many of us have struggled to find participants to fill out our bachelor’s thesis/dissertation survey. I remember logging in into Facebook and finding 5 to 6 “PM’s” (private messages) A DAY from classmates that have been abusing of the CTRL+C and CTRL+V command:

Hey “name”, how are you doing?
Could you please fill out my thesis survey? It’s about 5 minutes long and it’s completely anonymous. I can fill out yours if you want 😉

Good old days…

As bizarre as it sounds, I did not ask them to fill out my thesis survey back, but this is just because the sample of my thesis was ‘manufacturing companies‘, not students, not regular people.

However, if the respondents of my thesis were regular individuals, then I would consider spamming all the contacts of my Facebook friends list. However, this comes with some cons, first and mostly, annoying your friends… But I have good news for you!

Let me introduce you to the award winning start-up project “Survey Exchange”. Even though there have been identical platforms in the past, such as http://www.survey-x-change.com, these are either shut down or do not have very good Google SEO positioning because these type of pages are usually labeled as spam. As a mater of fact, when you try to log in via Facebook, even our beloved start-up has been denied from using Zuckerberg’s APIs or the developers have messed up somewhere in the Login code.

02_errorfb

Our start-up has been operating since 2016 and has won multiple student entrepreneurship awards in the UK (Linkedin.com, 2018). As of February 16th 2018, Survey Exchange is the first result to show up when googling the search words “survey exchange” and according to its founders it has a potential market share of half million users in the UK alone (Survey Exchange, 2018), which I honestly think is a long shot, because it’s delusional to think that 100% of British students will adopt their platform before it gets shut down or labeled as spam website and get lost in Google rankings.

The dynamics of this business model are very simple yet very effective. This start-up relies on crowd-sourcing the filling of the surveys to the users of the platform in a #like4like fashion.

Like4Like is a popular hashtag on Instagram whereby users indicate their willingness to receive likes on their posts in exchange of liking other users posts back (hasthagdictionary.com, 2015). It has the same dynamics as Follow for Follow in Twitter and Sub for Sub (subscribe) in Youtube.

In this case, users of the platform have to create a free account in surveyexchange.co.uk and as the users fill out the questionnaires they will earn “Q points” based on the length of the surveys. The more surveys a user answers, the more Q points it will earn, which can be used later to request more responses for their own surveys.

maxresdefault

The revenue model of the start-up is quite simple, it generates traffic by facilitating a crowd-sourcing platform for students that need to get their surveys filled in and shows them targeted GoogleAds advertisements in its website. In addition, as it can be be inferred from their privacy agreement, the crowd-sourcing platform is also planning to sell premium services and products that will require personal information (Survey Exchange, 2018). Such products and services are likely to be purchased “Q points” so that the users will get their crowd-sourced responses without having to fill out additional surveys.

The beauty of this business model is in its simplicity. Just setting up a platform where its users generate value by crowd-sourcing their own surveys in exchange of an equal amount of commitment. This is therefore a one-way platform where the value of the network grows in a Metcalfe’s law fashion as the number of the users increases.

Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the users connected to the system (Wikipedia, 2018). This is related to the fact that the number of total possible survey responses ‘n’ (assuming that each user has only 1 bachelor survey) can be calculated by n(n-1), which is asymptotically proportional to n^2.

total amount of responses

If there are 2 users, that means that each user will get 1 response for their survey (you can’t answer your own survey),  totaling 2 responses [2(2-1)=2]. If there are 4 users there will be 12 responses, if there are 8 users there will be 56 responses…

However, there are some limitations with the valuation of this platform. Not all users will be willing to respond to all surveys, and some users may even have more than one survey.

Users are not expected to stay in the platform for any time longer than their thesis/dissertation data collection process and therefore the traffic of the website is not expected to grow in such exponential fashion.

There are also obvious limitations when it comes to the quality of the answers of the survey, both in terms of reliability of the answers and in terms of validity of the sample.

Users that need large amount of responses are likely to give low quality answers without actually reading the questions in order to get as many Q points as possible within the shortest amount of time.

Another concern is that the owner of the survey has 0 control about the type of person that is filling the survey as at this point the platform does not offer the possibility to filter the responses by demographics nor by other type of variable. This could lead to a very heterogeneous convenience sample that may have nothing to do with the actual focal unit of the thesis/dissertation.

Additionally, due to the nature of this platform, users may abuse of the Social Media function, which allows a user to collect Q points via responses from friends, and get the site black-listed from important websites such as Facebook or Reddit because of the amount of unsolicited requests to visit a link.

Despite all those limitations, the crowd-sourced platform seems to be doing fine as the interface of the website has improved overtime and students do not generally care about the quality of their data as long as they can get it quickly and cheap.

At the end of the day, it is better to ask the crowd to fill out your survey in a negligent way rather than faking the responses yourself and risk to get caught of committing fraud.

Let me know in the comment sections what do you think about this business model. Is it sustainable? Do you think they will shut down their website like it happened to survey-x-change.com? Do you think it will get lost in Google’s search rankings due to being labeled as a spam website? Would you use it for your own thesis?

If the answer to the last question is yes, I encourage you to not make a comment 😉

Thank you for reading!

List of References:

Linkedin.com, (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakub-zimola-706b01104 [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Survey exchange. (2018). Survey exchange | Exchange your survey and get the right respondents. [online] Available at: http://www.surveyexchange.co.uk/ [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Hashtagdictionary.com. (2018). #like4like | HashTag Dictionary. [online] Available at: http://hashtagdictionary.com/like4like/ [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Surveyexchange.co.uk. (2018). Privacy Policy. [online] Available at: http://www.surveyexchange.co.uk/pdf/Privacy_policy.pdf [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Missed another lecture? Don’t worry StudyDrive has got you covered


One of the biggest trade-offs students are facing in their academic career is going-out vs. going to the lecture. Some students want to join their friends for “just one drink” but somehow end up at Has at 6am and miss the lecture on the following day. On the other hand, there is also the ambitious student who comes to every class, takes notes and spends most of his time at university.

In the end, it doesn’t matter which type one is, as all students come to University to achieve the same outcome, namely, (hopefully) receive a degree at the end of their studies. In order to facilitate this process, StudyDrive has come up with a solution to make a students’ academic career easier.

What is StudyDrive?

StudyDrive is essentially a mediating platform created for students, which enables easy access to study materials. The platform allows students to upload their documents, as well as to access the work of their peers. Whether it is lecture notes, book summaries, past exams, everything can be uploaded and shared. The platform has similar features to Dropbox or WeTransfer, as it allows people to share documents in a fast and convenient way. However, it takes these features and adds a layer on top by organizing the study materials in a convenient way.

How does it work?

As a first step, a student is asked to sign up through either Facebook login or E-Mail address. Once this step is completed the student can select the University he or she is currently enrolled in. Next, the webpage allows the student to choose his area of study and exact program and starting year.

When the student has completed all of the previous steps he should be shown a list of all courses, which he is enrolled in. By clicking on one of the courses, he can access all the study materials and discussions related to this course, which have been uploaded by his (former) peers.

In order to ensure the quality of the uploaded work StudyDrive has created a governance mechanism in which peers assess each other’s work. Students can rate documents and communicate potential mistakes by commenting directly on the document.

However, the start-up has only been founded in April 2013 and heavily relies on network effects, which need to develop over time. This means that the more students join and actively participate the more students’ benefit from it. StudyDrive does not create any content itself. It only provides the structure of the website & app and server capacities for storing the content. This means that the list of courses, study materials, and reviews have to be created by the customers themselves (students).

What are the benefits of participating?

From the perspective of the lazy student missing lectures, the derived benefits are quite clear: Easy access to study materials. But how can StudyDrive motivate the well-organized and ambitious student to share his materials? In order to ensure this StudyDrive made use of an incentive governance mechanism (Blohm et al. 2018). StudyDrive hands out prizes in the form of credit points for students uploading documents, which can be exchanged for prices ranging from posters to iPads. Furthermore, there is a reputation system in place in which students receive karma points for reviewing the work of their peers to further motivate participants (StudyDrive 2018).

Where did StudyDrive originate and how does the company generate revenues?

Philipp Mackeprang, the founder, and CEO of StudyDrive developed the idea after sharing some documents with his former peers at the Maastricht University (Hahn 2014). Originally they used Dropbox to share their files, however, as they uploaded more and more files the site became confusing and difficult to manage. The founder, later on, decided to create his own platform.

One of the major difficulties he was facing was shaping the business model. He realized that students would not want to pay for such a site. However, through his time at University, he realized what great length companies go through to get in touch with students (Hahn 2014). He thus decided to approach potentially interested companies, and it was a success. StudyDrive managed to partner with around 400 companies such as KPMG, Roland Berger or EY. The partnering companies not only advertise themselves on the site but also use it as a recruitment platform by posting job openings or internship possibilities (StudyDrive 2018).

So far, the start-up has managed to offer their partners access to a base of more than 450.000 students, mainly located in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. However, StudyDrive is currently expanding to other European countries. The future is looking bright for the company, but how many more students and companies will StudyDrive manage to engage? Only time can tell.

Bibliography:

Blohm, I., Zogaj, S., Bretschneider, U., & Leimeister, J. M. (2018). How to Manage Crowdsourcing Platforms Effectively?. California Management Review, 60(2), 122-149.

Hahn, U 2014, Interview with Philipp Mackeprang of StudyDrive, in, Talkin’Business online magazine, viewed 16 February 2018, <http://www.talkinbusiness.nl/2014/10/interview-with-philipp-mackeprang-of-studydrive-getting-from-entrepreneurial-idea-to-successful-business/&gt;.

Get rewards for your study documents – Studydrive 2018, viewed 16 February 2018, <https://www.studydrive.net/rewards&gt;.

StudyDrive 2018, viewed 16 February 2018, <https://www.studydrive.net/for-companies&gt;.

 

GoFlow Surf: Crowdsourcing Waves


GoFlow is a surfing application which allows users to access life surf reports, upload pictures and videos, and contact friends and surf instructors. It was founded by 2 ex-professional surfers at Los Angeles, California, in 2012.

The need for GoFlow

Weather forecasts have become quite accurate thanks to technology, but wave forecasts are far more unreliable because they depend in many constantly changing factors. Wave conditions can change by hours and even by minutes, depending on the height and direction of the swell, the direction and strength of the wind, the tide, the wave period, and the sand underneath them which changes quicker than most people can imagine. Any person who surfs regularly has had uncountable disappointing experiences due to the unreliability of wave forecasts. Surfers often wake up before sunrise to catch the best waves and are often disappointed with bad conditions when they arrive to the surf spot. I think by now you get the idea of how unpredictable surfing conditions are, and GoFlow solves this issue with live surf reports thanks to the active contribution from all the surfers within a community.

Key characteristics of the business model

Value proposition: GoFlow satisfies the need for life surf reports, which printed surf guides or regular forecast apps (Surfline, Magicseaweed, etc.) cannot satisfy. A WhatsApp group is also not effective because it is not structured enough to show all the live reports of all the surfing spots, since there can be tens of surfing spots within a few kilometers of a coast line. In this app, surfers co-create live surf reports, therefore saving hours of frustration and unnecessary drives looking for waves. In order to understand the value of this app you have to realize that surfers are addicted to this sport and depend on forecasts and surf reports to either get surf sessions full of adrenaline or encounter disappointment and frustration. I can personally confirm this after surfing every day of my life from the age of 8 to 18.

goFlow-768x432

Moreover, GoFlow provides many other functions. It is also like a ‘surfer Instagram’, where users can show their pictures and videos and attract/promote sponsors. Another section of the App is a platform to connect surf instructors with people that want to learn or improve their skills.

The Key Activities of the start-up are attracting users to increase the network effect and improving the app, which are also the main cost sources. The resources are the know-how to keep updating the app, and the $2 million rose by the start-up between 2015 and 2016 within 2 investment rounds (Crunchbase, 2018). GoFlow is free to download and does not charge for any of its functions because it is trying to attract more users to intensify the network effect. At the moment, its only revenue source is the advertising of the surfing apparel companies.

As a last note on the efficiency of the business model, the app does not have any legal burdens and it has methods in place to ensure that the contributions of the users meet a quality standard. For example, users gain a credibility status when their surf reports are reviewed as accurate by other people, and users with wrong intentions can be pointed out to be removed from the community.

The future of GoFlow

Online reviews claim the app is very user friendly and helpful, and it has around 100,000 downloads just over a year after the start-up raised its funding (Play.google.com, 2018). On the other hand, GoFlow is simply missing enough people to create a platform effect in many surf spots around the world. Nonetheless, it is showing its full potential in certain regions of California and Brazil, where plenty of active users enjoy the benefits of this app while co-creating value (Rizz, 2018). If GoFlow gains enough users across all the surfing regions of the world, it will be a huge platform which will attract not only advertisements from the surf apparel companies but also from other companies which try to identify their brand with surfing, such as Hollister, Jeep, Samsung, etc. Surfing is a continuously growing sport whose apparel industry alone is now estimated to have a value of $15 billion per year and is expected to keep growing (Beachapedia.org, 2018). Lastly, GoFlow is also trying to expand some of its platform functions to other outdoor sport and activities, such as skating or kite surfing.

 

 

References

Beachapedia.org. (2018). Surfonomics – Beachapedia. [online] Available at: http://www.beachapedia.org/Surfonomics [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Crunchbase. (2018). goFlow Surf | Crunchbase. [online] Available at: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/goflow-surf [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Play.google.com. (2018). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=goflow.app&hl=es [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Rizz, G. (2018). goFlow: Share and Discover Waves with Your Friends. [online] The Inertia. Available at: https://www.theinertia.com/surf/goflow-establishing-a-social-surfing-community/ [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

 

Hip teens do(n’t) wear blue jeans


Did you know that each year, 135 million kilos of clothes are burned in the Netherlands alone? And that producing one regular pair of jeans usually takes up to 7000 liters of water? This makes fashion the second most polluting industry. Shocked yet? So was Bert van Son in 2013 when he founded MudJeans, which is why he decided to offer an alternative to fast fashion after 30 years in the industry. “Sounds nice”, you may think. But how, and more interestingly, at what price?

Take an eternal classic piece present in basically every wardrobe and combine it with two of the most important social trends of the last years – et voilà Bert’s idea. What I’m talking about? Leasable, environmental friendly produced jeans made of a combination of recycled and organic cotton as one of the newest interpretations of the circular economy and general sustainability awareness. Yes, you read right, leasable clothes. If it it works for your car, why not for your bottoms? For a monthly fee of €7,50 (for 12 months) and a one-time only payment of €20 to join the community, you get a pair of brand new jeans, which you can either chose to return after 12 months in exchange for a new pair or keep them until they are worn out and you’re sick of them.

Either way, MudJeans relies on you returning the jeans once you’re done with them – as a little bonus they even offer a €10 voucher (or one free month of leasing) for future use on the website and in their stores. And this even for jeans from other brands, as long as they are made of at least 96% cotton. This way, the company gets to upcycle and renew those jeans that are still in good condition to be reborn as a unique vintage pair, which is even named after its former owner (how cool is that?) and to recycle the less lucky ones to become brand new material for future seasons and models, i.e. the circular economy aspect. Normal return options for wrong sizes/ colors and even a free of charge repair service are also part of the game, and MudJeans even treats you to the shipping charges.

Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-16 um 13.32.55

Fig. 1: Product Lifecycle at MudJeans, Mudjeans.eu/about-mud-jeans (16.02.2018)

And what’s in it for you?

A great pair of jeans is like a best friend: reliable, boosting your confidence when it needs uplifting and always has your back (literally). But finding the right one can be tricky (duhh) and once successful, you may discover that the washing machine is not a great match for your young love, or simply that you grow distant after some intense months together. And then?

This is where MudJeans comes into play: instead of hoarding these memories as blasts from the past and letting them rot in your closet, you get to refresh your wardrobe without feeling guilty or even lumbering your closet. And this at a reasonable price. In addition, you basically get to save the world with 78% less water consumption compared to a regular pair of jeans, also due to 60% organic cotton used and 40% recycled jeans material*. Oh, and did I mention that they’re vegan?

Sounds nice, but..

I know what you think. Green fashion? Really? But in this case, green doesn’t have to exclude stylish. On the contrary, the #mudjeans community is full of young, hip individuals caring about the environment and the way they consume – which should include us all. And with their vintage jeans they even offer you the possibility to own a completely unique pair, for example with patches and/ or the destroyed look which you can select after choosing a color and size. For €68. Whilst sustainable fashion used to be unaffordable and/or “basic” to say the least, times have changed. With MudJeans, you have the possibility to contribute to a sustainable way of looking good – at a normal price. Contrary to fast fashion you furthermore know about where your clothes are being produced – and not only in which factory, but who owns it, how it looks inside, how many women they employ and even how many holidays employees get:Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-16 um 15.33.52

Fig. 2: Quick Facts about Production site, Mudjeans.eu/fair-factories-fair-wear-foundation (16.02.2018)

And apart from three sites in north Africa, this even takes place in Europe.

Bildschirmfoto 2018-02-16 um 15.08.25

Fig. 3: Excerpt from the #mudjeans community/ugc (16.02.108)

Where can I get it?!

Ok, calm down. I know it’s a great idea – so go on www.mudjeans.eu or visit one of their hundreds stores from Iceland to Melbourne and try it out yourself!

References:

MUD Jeans International B.V. (2018). No title. Retrieved February 16, 2018, from http://www.mudjeans.eu

Saarijärvi et al (2013), “Value co-creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications”. European Business Review

Carson et al (1999), “Understanding institutional designs within Marketing Value Systems”