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Successfully Communicating a Co-Created Innovation

Successfully Communicating a Co-Created Innovation

Helen Si Wang, Charles H. Noble, Darren W. Dahl and Sungho Park

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This research elevates the consumer’s role in co-creation from inventing to playing a role in driving sales through the creation of a mismatch communication strategy. It suggests that to maximize adoption, especially among novice customers, companies need to understand the authentic creation narrative and combine it with their own persuasive message to create a motivation mismatch strategy.

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Related Marketing Courses: ​
Brand Management; Innovation/New ​Product Development; and Marketing Communications​​​

Full Citation: ​
Wang, Helen Si, Charles H. Noble, Darren W. Dahl, and Sungho Park (2019), “Successfully Communicating a Cocreated Innovation”, Journal of Marketing, 83 (4), 38-57.

Article Abstract
Despite the growing popularity of co-creation approaches to innovation, the bottom-line results of these efforts continue to frustrate many firms. Marketing communications are one important tool in stimulating consumer adoption, yet marketers to date have not taken advantage of a unique phenomenon associated with many co-created innovations – the presence of a genesis story in the words of the creator, which can be combined in different ways with traditional marketing messaging. Using mixed methods, we demonstrate a crossover effect in which a “mismatch” of the fundamental motivations behind authentic creation narratives and traditional persuasive messages enhances adoption of the co-created innovation. This effect is mediated by potential adopters’ self-referencing of their own stories about similar experiences or consumption episodes. Furthermore, the effect of a motivation mismatch strategy is attenuated for expert consumers. Finally, this motivation mismatch strategy triggers “takeoff” of co-created innovations. This research offers substantial implications for research on co-created innovation, narrative persuasion, and firm-generated and user-generated communication. It provides managers specific guidance on enhancing the success of co-creation programs through an integrated communications strategy.


Special thanks to Kelley Gullo and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program. 

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Helen Si Wang is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Marketing Department, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Hong Kong, China.

Charles H. Noble is Henry Professor of Business, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty, Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee.

Darren W. Dahl is BC Innovation Council Professor, Senior Associate Dean, and Director, Robert H. Lee Graduate School, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Sungho Park is Korbit Chaired Professor of Marketing, Seoul National University, South Korea.