All posts by 349212jp

What if you could crowdsource a loan?

Many people, for instance after going through a divorce or getting laid of their job are falling behind on some bills. Those people see their credit score slipping and know they would never be able to do the things they want – buying a new car, moving to another house – if they are not improving it by paying off their bills. To do that, they need money, but of course, with a low credit score, borrowing from a bank is difficult.

Vouch wants to help those disadvantaged Americans build better credit by asking their friends and family for loans. This company believes trust is more important than computer-generated formulas, so they consider your network of friends and family when determining your loan. They can lend to you at a lower rate as you grow your personal Vouch network. The more people vouch to you, the more your network can help you get a better loan. The money comes from Vouch, but the faith and credit really comes from your friends.

How does it work?

  1. Join Vouch – When you join Vouch, they need just enough information about you to understand your starting point from a credit perspective. This won’t affect your credit score.
  2. Build your network – To get a loan offer from Vouch, you will need two people to Vouch for you. The people you invite to vouch receive an email that includes your name, but no other personal information. People vouch for you by choosing an amount of money and agreeing to pay their vouch amount if you do not pay Vouch back. They only pay Vouch if you do not.
  3. Get a better loan – A strong network of people vouching for you can help you get a larger loan, lower your interest rate or both. With Vouch people help each other increase their creditworthiness.

Interest rates for Vouch loans can be as low as 5%, but as high as 30%. The interest rates can be high, but when people improve their network, the rate will be lower. When more friends and family Vouch for you, they help you increasing your creditworthiness, and thus help you getting a lower interest rate.

Will the Vouch concept be the future?

The founder and CEO Yee Lee says, “If there are tens of millions of Americans who are credit underserved, then there is no reason that the Vouch network of the future couldn’t be millions of members strong. The bigger the network, the stronger the proof of concept.”

In my opinion the concept of Vouch could be the future. Although I am considering if people who are in need of money, are willing to ask their friends and family to Vouch for them.


So Whaddya Think? Consumers Create Ads and Other Consumers Critique Them

With the availability of online creative tools, consumers create ad-like communications on their own or in response to company contests. These consumer-generated ads (CGA) are like word-of-mouth (WOM) in that they are consumer-to-consumer communications, yet they have the look and feel of traditional advertising. Ertimur and Gilly (2012) examine consumer responses to both contest and unsolicited CGA and company ads using data gathered from consumers via netnography and depth interviews.

What makes CGA highly relevant for consumer researchers?
They allow consumers to communicate on behalf of (or in opposition to) firms and participate in creating brand images. The resulting ads constitute evidence of consumers perceptions of the brand as well as the firm. Consumers say they are more likely to be influenced by user-generated content (UGC) than by information coming directly from advertisers and marketers and that UGC outranks other forms of advertising in terms of gaining consumer trust.

The paper gave the example of a school teacher named George Masters, who in 2004 showcased the 60-second animated ad he had created for the iPod Mini by uploading it to his personal website. The video could have easily been mistaken for an ad produced by Apple. The unsolicited ad caught the attention of fans, bloggers, and marketers, and was viewed more than 500,000 times within a month. This is an example of a CGA.

With CGA, consumers create ads for products. Essentially, there are two types of CGA: 1) those solicited by companies through contests and 2) those created by consumers on their own. While unsolicited CGA are initiated as well as created by consumers, solicited CGA can be viewed as hybrid forms of content that are firm-initiated and consumer-created. With both types of CGA, consumers perform tasks that were previously handled by companies. Hence, this new type challenges the traditional view of advertising as a form of company-controlled communication.

Ertimur and Gilly (2012) found in their research that consumers respond to both types of CGA by engaging with the ad rather than the brand, much like an ad critic, while company ads elicit brand associations. Unsolicited CGA are seen as authentic, but not credible, while contest ads are seen as credible, but not authentic, revealing a boundary condition to the conventional view that authenticity leads to credibility.

I think that CGA will be more and more important for companies, because consumers have the availability to online creative tools. Companies should always be aware of this and make use of the CGA.

Ertimur, B. and Gilly, M. (2012). So Whaddya Think? Consumers Create Ads and Other Consumers Critique Them. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26(3), pp.115-130.

IKEA & co-creation

IKEA, the Swedish furniture company calls itself the Life Improvement Store. They want to reach even more consumers with their different solutions and demonstrate the unique ideas they have to make everyday life at home better.

Talking openly about co-creation with customers is a main driver for product innovation and creativity. Values as a constant desire for renewal or providing solutions to problems are rooted in their history and how they have evolved as a brand and as a company. Those values have provided a perfect environment for IKEA to “dare” relying on consumer insights to drive marketing and product ideas.

With the Home Tour, which is an initiative to send five American employees on a yearlong road trip to provide families with makeovers that use merchandise from local IKEA stores. This experience will provide many conversations to understand participants needs and desires that can ignite new product developments. The campaign is being made in a documentary series to be produced by creative employees within the IKEA head office. It is published on a special YouTube channel.

This way IKEA is studying people, getting close to them, going into their homes, having conversations, and reading reports. They try to understand and fulfil the needs of consumers, dreams and desires. Through the Home Report they have the opportunity for consumers to tell what is going on in their life and how they can help them. All that information can feed back to communication, to product development, to a store, an online experience.

For me, it comes back to co-creation, collaborative effort between co-works, consumers and the brand” – Rich D’Amico, Deputy Marketing Director at IKEA USA

The fact that consumers are co-creating the value with IKEA through their involvement and work only seems to enhance the service experience, and thus make it easier to develop these relationships. It is in the successful management of these relationship building interactions and experiences that IKEA appears to excel.

I think IKEA is doing a good job by interacting with consumers to better understand their needs, dreams and desires. Especially when the company is visiting consumers’ home the company can understand the consumers and anticipate on it. Customers construct the furniture themselves, so it must be easy and practical to stay competitive to other furniture companies. With the inspiration of customers this can be accomplished, because other customers will also benefit from the improvements. A lot of what IKEA is doing drives marketing is co-created with consumers. And what they do in terms of product development is co-creation with consumers.