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Companies need to demonstrate "giveashitability", according to doctoral thesis at Stockholm School of Economics

Pressmeddelande   •   Okt 05, 2016 14:57 CEST

It is becoming increasingly common for companies to co-create new products and services in cooperation with consumers. This can be a highly successful strategy – as long as there is a reason for the collaboration. Karina T. Liljedal calls it ‘giveashitability’. 

In the dissertation ‘Communicated Consumer Co-creation. Consumer Response to Consumer Co-creation in New Product and Service Development’, Karina T. Liljedal examines how consumers respond to companies that develop new products and services together with consumers.

Consumer co-creation takes place when two or more parties collaborate to create something of value. This is often used in companies’ marketing. As an example, McDonald’s “My Burger” campaign invited consumers both to suggest new hamburgers and to vote for which of these they wanted McDonald’s to offer in their restaurants.

“Both consumers who participate actively in co-creation, and the majority who do not and only become aware of the co-creation through marketing, respond positively to co-creation if it includes a form of ‘giveashitability’,” says Karina T. Liljedal.

‘Giveashitability’ is an expression that means that you should be able to answer the question ‘Why should they give a shit?’ In other words, there should be a good reason why consumers would want to co-create with the company. The reasons can vary broadly, from consumers’ perception that a better product or service will be made available in the market, to simply having fun co-creating.

“The expression ‘giveashitability’ stems from my previous work at a digital marketing agency in London. Before creating a new campaign, we would ask ourselves why the target group should ‘give a shit’. In my doctoral research on co-creation, I realized that ‘giveashitability’ plays a much more important role here than in traditional advertising. In co-creation, consumers really need to be active and contribute, and the company really has to be able to offer a good reason for their engagement."

In co-creation, ‘giveashitability’ also matters to non-participating consumers. Their response to newly co-created products or services is based on whether they perceive other consumers’ involvement as meaningful. They want to know that the participating consumers contributed with some form of relevant competence, and that they represent either ‘ordinary’ consumers or some form of expertise. If they cannot see any of this, co-creation will be perceived as meaningless or even as something the company is doing only to appear in a better light.

For further information, and copies of the thesis, please contact:

Karina T. Liljedal, PhD
Center for Consumer Marketing
Stockholm School of Economics
+46 73 461 24 84


Jonas Weschke
Communication and Marketing Manager
Handelshögskolan i Stockholm
+46 70 555 81 69

The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) is rated as the top business school in the Nordic and Baltic countries and is highly regarded internationally. SSE offers programs of the highest international standards, including bachelor, master, PhD, Executive Format MBA and executive education programs. The school also conducts world-class research. Our programs are developed in close cooperation with the research and business communities, which give our graduates great potential to attain leading positions in companies and other organizations. SSE is accredited by EQUIS, certifying that all of the main activities – teaching as well as research – are of the highest international standards. SSE is also the only Swedish member institution of CEMS and PIM, which are collaborations between top business schools worldwide, contributing to the high quality SSE is known for.

Stockholm School of Economics . Sveavägen 65 . Box 6501. SE-113 83 Stockholm .  Sweden . Phone +46 8 736 90 00 .

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