Why does Complete Co-Creation yield persuasive propositions?

Our experience with Complete Co-Creation is that it yields products and services that customers want to use, without having to be persuaded by aggressive sales tactics. Whether it is an educational product such as Groove.me or a government service such as the Youth Information Point in Amsterdam-North (JIP), the value propositions developed through Complete Co-Creation are popular with their target groups and quickly establish a firm position for themselves in a competitive environment that already seemed full. How can this success be explained?

For now, we will skip the obvious answers found in the digital empowerment of the customer and look at this question from the perspective of persuasion.



In his book Retorica the Greek philosopher Aristotle identified three types of persuasive arguments: Ethos (Credibility), Pathos (Emotion), and Logos (Logic). A combination of these three modes of persuasion is the fundament of successful sales and marketing strategies – then and now. That is, when a credible source makes you feel good and offers sound reasoning as to why you need their offer, you’re likely to buy.

Let’s see how Complete Co-Creation nicely suits this ancient theory of persuasion.

Ethos (Greek for ‘character’) refers to trustworthiness or credibility

Ethos means that someone is convinced of the trustworthiness of the persuader’s character. A customer that perceives a selling entity as a credible (and likeable!) partner is easy to be persuaded to buy his products or services.

Complete Co-Creation is an efficient and effective way of achieving this: by working together as a team, both customer and seller get to really know and trust one another. The customer knows that the seller is doing all he can to create an offer that truly matches the customer’s needs and wishes, while the seller benefits from the information and ideas that the customer can add from his own unique perspective. Once a truly valuable offer is realized, the co-creating customers automatically become the seller’s loyal fans.

In the case of Groove.me – a method for teaching English to Dutch primary school kids – Ethos is achieved by the ongoing collaboration of education and software specialists, teachers, and students. This teamwork guarantees that the method is developed and regularly updated according to the latest insights in educational science, while at the same time suits the practical needs of teachers, and is fun for kids. These benefits – and the way they are realized through continuous Complete Co-Creation – are consistently conveyed in all communication about Groove.me and is spontaneously spread in the market by enthusiastic teachers, resulting in exceptional sales results.

Pathos (Greek for ‘experience’) is associated with emotional appeal

An appeal to Pathos causes a target group to feel good about what’s being sold on a conscious, as well as subconscious level. In order to achieve this, it is important to deeply understand the values, beliefs, drivers, barriers, dreams, and fears of the target group.

This is why Complete Co-Creation always starts with Customer Insight. In a Complete Co-Creation process where collaborating partners have a deep understanding of one another, this understanding is automatically integrated into the deliverables of the co-creation process. That is why only from a profound understanding of the end-user, winning concepts are co-created that not only appeal to the target group through the mind, but also through the heart, because at a subconscious level they promise to realize the customer’s dreams.

In the case of JIP, the understanding of young people’s need for guidance in an implicit and equal way, making them feel like independent grown-ups, lies at the heart of how the youth information centre is run. JIP’s audience can choose to get the information, advice or referrals they need anonymously through chat or WhatsApp or they can decide to visit JIP’s physical ‘information shop’ and receive a personal welcome as if they were paying customers.

Logos (Greek for ‘word’) refers to the internal consistency of the message

Logos is about the clarity of the offer, the logic of its benefits, and the soundness of the supporting evidence. The impact of Logos on an audience takes place on a conscious level. This was Aristotle’s favorite technique. When Ethos and Pathos are taken care of, providing the customer with sound reasons of a proposition’s value will persuade him to buy.

Because Complete Co-Creation takes the perspective of the customer as the starting point of a thorough development process in which all relevant experts and stakeholders are involved, it yields propositions that really make sense in the customer’s world. From a deep understanding of the customer’s needs the key benefits are identified, whereas involvement of relevant experts guarantees that these will actually be delivered and can be explained in a credible way.

Back to the question we set out with: why does Complete Co-Creation yield successful propositions? Because if carried out well, its process leads to an offer from a source that is perceived as credible, makes the buyer feel good, and irresistibly provides him or her with the arguments needed to purchase. Or, in Aristotle’s terms, Complete Co-Creation makes sure that Ethos, Pathos, and Logos will do their trick of persuasion.


Authors: Maarten Pieters & Stefanie Jansen, Copyright 2014


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