fbpixel The Power-Up Series 2023: Two Lessons in Co-Creation with Experts from Nestlé and Business Insider.  - MG Empower
Written by - Daniel Shale

The Power-Up Series 2023: Two Lessons in Co-Creation with Experts from Nestlé and Business Insider. 


Did you know that in 1969, NESCAFÉ joined Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission and became the first coffee to land on the moon? We didn’t. At least, not until Cecilia Farr, Marketing Brand Manager at NESCAFÉ B2B, joined us as a panellist at the 6th edition of The Power-Up Series. Cecilia spoke, alongside Marta Biino, Reporter at Business Insider, and Maira Genovese, Founder and CEO at MG Empower, about the future of co-creation and storytelling – and the conversation was as insightful as it was surprising. 

The Power-Up Series is an evening of panel discussions and networking that we host annually to explore the marketing topic du jour. This year, held at the MG Empower HQ for the first time, three inspiring panels explored a different aspect of the big idea: How to power-up your 2024 community building strategy with data and storytelling. 

Many valuable lessons and insights (the Apollo 11 story isn’t the only thing that makes Nestlé a legacy brand) emerged from the second panel, “What’s next for co-creation and storytelling?” – two of which we are about to explore right here. But to discover the rest, go ahead and watch the full panel discussion on our YouTube channel. 

Lesson one: When it comes to co-creation, intention is everything.

Co-creation is an incredibly powerful tool for brands looking to incorporate their communities’ voices into their world – mission, vision, product, you name it. Because when brands truly listen to and action their consumers’ feedback, they not only give consumers a chance to feel like active contributors, but they also build brand love and loyalty by becoming something genuinely valuable in people’s lives. 

But as our panellists explored the benefits and challenges of co-creation, they all came to an interesting conclusion. Before embarking on the co-creation journey, which as Marta (Business Insider) emphasised is, “A lot of effort, listening, and investment,” they need to be very self-aware. Who are they speaking to? What’s their intention? Are they claiming authority over spaces they don’t actually belong in? Or, perhaps Maira (MG Empower) said it better when she asked: “Why are you co-creating? Is it just a trend? Or are you actually creating value for your consumers?”

Co-creation, like community-building, is a dance of collaboration that requires genuine intent – and sometimes, a good, long look in the mirror. Because when brands stretch themselves beyond their remit, they risk losing credibility at best and public backlash at worst. Some, like Gillette when they launched their #MeToo campaign or Pepsi with Kendall Jenner, learned that the hard way. Others, like NESCAFÉ, have managed to avoid the trap by being honest about what they provide. As Cecilia (NESCAFÉ) put it, “Coffee is powerful, and we leverage that, but it’s okay that we’re just coffee – we’re not going to solve world peace.” 

Lesson two: Seek out uncomfortable truths. 

In the sea of messages bombarding consumers daily, Cecilia illuminated the battlefield, stating, “Every consumer is served around 3.5 thousand messages a day. So we’re not just competing with other brands anymore – we’re competing with all forms of content.” To truly stand out, it’s not enough to stay within comfort zones; it’s about embracing discomfort for breakthrough creativity. “You never want insight that affirms what you already know. You want the uncomfortable truths – that’s how you innovate,” Cecilia challenged, urging brands to navigate the unknown.

Co-creation, when rooted in genuine intent and fueled by uncomfortable truths, becomes a transformative force. The intention shapes the journey, and the uncomfortable truths pave the way for innovation and authenticity. 

As you dive into the full panel discussion on YouTube, remember – co-creation is not just a strategy; it’s an all-encompassing mechanism that elevates brands to resonate authentically in the hearts of their communities.

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