Let both fans and consumers name new products – or even children – sound like a great idea on paper, but it doesn't work online.
This is something that the NBA player and former Golden State Warriors star Nick Young could learn in his own way after inviting his 472,000 Twitter followers to call him his third child. "Thank you and help us find the names that start with N," he tweeted Tuesday – and hundreds of suggestions have arrived.
Some are authentic, with many hints of comedies in his name (Nick or Nicole, respectively for a boy or a girl, as well as many calls for Noah, Nico, Nova, Nadia and Nixon). But many tricks are also launch tips like Napster or Nohandles, as well as the games on his nickname "Swaggy P" like "Nwaggy" and "Nwaggy P."
"For celebrities or influencers with a large following, polls or crowdsourcing of new products, product names (or children) or even fan content ideas can be a really fun way to get them involved and bring them into your world," Sakita Holley, strategist PR and House of Success PR CEO, told MarketWatch. "Making fans feel seen or heard, through crowdsourcing or republishing / sharing their content, can be a catalyst for building a stronger connection between the brand or the individual and the fan."
But the Internet can also bring out the worst in trolls. When web developer Stephen McLaughlin also decided to entrust his daughter's name to crowdsource in 2014 by creating the site NameMyDaughter.com, the overwhelming winner was "Cthulhu", as in the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft's sprawling monster. The couple chose instead the second winner, Amelia.
And when brands give customers a free reign to suggest their own monikers, you get a soccer franchise called Footy McFooty Face or a $ 243.3 million polar research vessel called Boaty McBoatface.
No, really. SoccerCity San Diego, a group that was trying to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city, announced in 2017 the team's appointment to a poll on Facebook. The most voted name from a landslide was Footy McFooty Face, which had 6,000 more votes than San Diego Surf. SoccerCity San Diego did not have "Footy", however. He also failed to get the necessary support needed to join the MLS.
These internet cheaters were clearly inspired by the notorious National Environmental Research Council incident that invited the public to christen its new ship in 2016 with a #NameOurShip marketing campaign. Someone suggested Boaty McBoatface, and the web – which collectively has the maturity of a seventh selector – promoted the ridiculous title at the top with 124,109 votes. NERC vetoed the popular vote to name the boat Sir David Attenborough instead, but had to appease the crowd by naming a Boaty mini-submarine. And so the ridiculous name floats.
Greenpeace also launched an online naming contest a decade earlier to name an endangered humpback whale that it had just labeled. Alas, "Mister Splashy Pants" is net of 78% of the votes, stifling more serious suggestions like "Aiko", "Aurora" and "Shanti". L & # 39; A.V. The club reported that one voter realized that a person could send two votes per second by disabling cookies, and so he spammed the poll for 38 consecutive minutes. Many Reddit users have also supported "Splashy". Greenpeace compromised by recognizing the humor in the situation and calling the whale "The Splashy-Panted One". (The publicity around the contest name debacle made such an effect that it helped convince the Japanese government to recall its plans to hunt 50 whales).
When NASA hosted a survey to nominate a module on the International Space Station in 2008, "Colbert" (as in Stephen Colbert) won at full speed. While NASA called it Tranquility (after the landing site of the Apollo 11 mission that put the first man on the moon), he instead called a treadmill in the space "Treadmill of external resistance with combined operational support" (or, C.O.L.B.E.R.T.). Colbert's moniker also passed competitions to name a bridge in Hungary and a mascot of the Michigan ice hockey team in 2006. Hungary did not observe the victory, but the Saginaw Spirit team from Michigan finally called their mascot "Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle".
Marketing experts warn that there is a risk of alienating customers if the popular vote is rejected, however. "When companies conduct online surveys, people often present ridiculous adverts, and with social media, those voices will become viral," Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote in an article about the pros and cons of consumer votes in 2018. "But even when companies never guarantee that consumers will choose the winner, consumers deduct an implicit contract and are upset when the contract is breached."
"As soon as companies introduce the vote, they imply a different relationship:" We are working together on this "," agreed colleague Professor Harvard Leslie K. John, who co-wrote the report. "Therefore, consumers believe that their votes should be counted in the same way."
One way to mitigate the reception of offensive or ridiculous answers is to present a pre-selected list of acceptable names from which to vote people, rather than hosting an open card to write in their candidates. This is what the Philadelphia Zoo did when it said that the public could name a new gorilla in the summer of 2016. While it was flooded with tweets asking for the baby to be named Harambe, Harambe Jr. or Harambaby to honor the gorilla of the Cincinnati Zoo killed and killed at the beginning of the year, the only votes actually counted were those that chose from the list of names suggested by the zoo. Thus, the small gorilla was called Amani, which means "peace" in Swahili. Crisis avoided.
Or you can cherrypick some options from customer suggestions without advertising the actual number of votes for each. "If you love one that only one person suggests, you can include it without offending anyone," Norton wrote.
Norton and John also advise that any person or brand that takes a crowdsourced name is very clear about how they will take consumer ratings into account and whether it is an occasional contest, or if they will ask for public feedback again in the future. (Their research found that customers appreciate consistency and that when a company took voting opportunities after accepting them earlier, participants received a lower approval for the company than those who had the right to vote on things or on those who were never invited to vote for something for the company.)
And brands can set up a screening process in which only actual customers vote (compared to anyone on the Internet who meets the survey) by requesting a voting code to be evaluated, which will be attached to the products that people buy.
Holley also warned that brands or people who use crowdsourcing for any type of business should "walk lightly" and possibly offer some form of incentive or compensation if a fan's idea could end up making money. This could help "to avoid future claims that the fan has an interest in this venture," he said.