Does Crowdsourcing Actually Work?

Crowdsourcing is a popular method to attract services of a large number of people, usually via the Internet. While the process is commonly used for fundraising – it is also a trendy method for brands to pique or renew public interest. It is often used as a marketing tool to renew the brand’s relevance in a constantly competitive online world.
When it comes to a rebranding or new product line excercise, Crowdsourcing has be used by companies as the main method to source design options. This gives the company many options to choose from, without having to pay for all of them.
I started seeking out projects as a designer straight out of school, and found that many clients had been spoilt for choice by using such services and getting quality results at a nominal price. Seeing your work on a billboard or a leading website can be quite a high when you’re first starting out as a designer. This can usually happen when the client is a big brand or service.
While crowd sourcing is great as a whole, it does come with its unique range of limitations that you have to take into consideration. This is why you have to study the pros and cons of crowd-sourcing before you opt for something like this.

How does crowdsourcing help the brand or company?

Some companies want to use crowdsourcing because it’s really simple to let others complete a task. Others want to find creative professionals that can offer a different perspective and a unique vision over the matter at hand. It’s really helpful, and many times it can lead to a distinct and clutter-breaking result.
Not only that but outsourcing the right way can generate a lot of interest in the brand’s ideas, and it can provide you with a huge range of benefits because of that.
But, crowd sourcing will make the public (and competition) aware that the company is focusing on a re-branding exercise or launching a new product. And the type of creatives received may not be up to par!

Is crowdsourcing always fair to the designer?

Yes and No. While the crowdsourcing process works to find multiple options for a design solution,  it can leave the designer frustrated and often times, disheartened by the resulting decision. There are both Pros and Cons:
Pros:
Designers find visibility in a contest space. Your entry, may catch someone’s eye or may result in more people interested in the kind of work you product – which may result in more opportunities for the designer.
The designer, even if not the winner, can become a resource that the company outsources tasks to to get more work in the long term. This is worth it, and it goes to show just how impressive and distinct the entire experience gets to be in the end.
There are benefits of learning from the process. A quick study of the multiple entries will show you how another designer may have approached the same brief or concept. Your personal design philosophy evolves and you notice how a novice approaches the same idea – and you can see how once you would have approached it the same way – and what idea maps you are using in your approach. It’s a win-win!
Cons:
Sometimes a brand will close a contest after a private board decision has been made– rather than pick the crowd favorite. This feels counterproductive for aspiring designers looking for a breakthrough project. The client may also consult a focus group on the back end, rather than go by the public vote. We do see it from time to time – people will post on Facebook or LinkedIn asking your opinion on logo A, B or C.
Sometimes the company may choose a winning design, and not actually use it. Which can be quite a let down for the designer. And it feels like a complete waste of time.
Designers often end up working for free, and the winning design may not be the best solution.

Conclusion

While crowd sourcing can have an outcome that can go either way, it is not to say that a brand does not need a sound business and marketing strategy in place to help accelerate the design-work, which must be synced in tandem with this strategy to produce a cumulative result for the brand’s overall image.

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