A Collaborative Big Knit

At trnd we're all for putting the consumer on stage, but in this series of blog posts we'll be shining a light on some brands we think show a collaborative spirit. First up: a heart (and head!) warming example of brand-consumer co-creation by Innocent.

Innocent smoothies with knitted hats

In 2003 Innocent started a collaboration with their consumers to knit little hats, put those hats on smoothies and for each bottle sold Innocent pledged to donate 25p to charity Age UK. ‘The Big Knit’ has now been running for 13 years and so far UK knitters of all ages have created more than five million hats, and together the brand and its consumers have raised over £1.7M!

What is co-creation?

Co-creation (or crowdsourcing) is a collaborative marketing practice to engage consumers in the development process, be that for a new product, a redesigned packaging or a communication strategy. No matter how big your company is, it’s unlikely that all the smartest people in the world work for you, so getting your consumers involved can help spur amazing ideas, content and goods.

In the case of Innocent, the initiative ‘The Big Knit’ is co-created by the brand itself, Age UK and thousands of Innocent fans knitting tiny hats for smoothie bottles to raise awareness for vulnerable older people at risk during the cold winter months.

They key to consumer hearts

More than a decade of hat knitting proves that the connection between Innocent and its consumers is strong. But what makes consumers so eager to engage with the brand?

We believe it’s because Innocent has involved its consumers in its story from the very beginning on: in 1999, the first bottles of Innocent smoothies were sold at a music festival in London. The three founders asked their customers whether they should give up their day jobs to make smoothies by voting with their empty bottles in a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ bin. The pleased customers voted yes, and Innocent got real-life insights confirming that they were on the right track even before the official launch of the company.

The key to a successful collaboration (or co-creation if you will) is that it must benefit all parties. The Big Knit is great for everyone involved: the brand gets lots of buzz, word of mouth and social content, Age UK raises awareness (and money) for its cause and consumers enjoy getting involved in a good cause while being creative. As an added bonus they get the thrill of possibly finding their own unique knit on a product in store…

The success of the Big Knit truly proves consumers’ willingness to collaborate with brands that know how to make sure cause and communication benefit everyone involved. At trnd, we help brands harness this potential and have supported various brands in the matter. Click to see our country examples.

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