MUMBAI: Brands are looking to harness the creativity of Indian consumers as the growth of digital media offers new opportunities while at the same time generating new demands.

Cynics have suggested that the interest in crowdsourcing is a response to the underperformance of creative agencies, while more generous observers see it as the result of the increasing economic pressures that require marketers to explore more cost-effective ways of getting their message across.

"Digital and social media have put brands in a position where they must create and distribute content that traditional processes can no longer accommodate," noted Arun Mehra, chief executive of Reliance Entertainment's Talenthouse India.

"They need new tools and processes to meet this demand," he told the Economic Times.

Recent examples of successful crowdsourcing include Ford's introduction of its EcoSport model, which generated over 250 pieces of video content and gave 90 consumers the opportunity to drive the car ahead of the launch.

And Zodiac, the clothing brand, crowdsourced its 360-degree campaign for the sub-brand Z3 and open-sourced TV scripts for its clubwear brand ZOD!

"Increasingly we are all living in an era, where people want their voice to be heard and brands are creating campaigns around this reality," stated Vidur Vyas, PepsiCo India's marketing director for foods.

Even as marketers are showing enthusiasm for this trend, agencies are more wary. "Crowdsourcing is not the answer to agency lethargy," said Josy Paul, chairman of BBDO India, while conceding that it did have a place.

"It can aid in stimulating a new point of view because it's coming from fresh eyes that are not trapped in client-agency mindsets and issues," he added.

The ex-head of Qyuki, a social media company active in crowdsourcing, identified three essential ingredients in effective crowdsourcing.

Poonacha Machaiah pointed to a "targeted community that is 'emotionally' engaged, curation that is all about effectively sifting through the content and surfacing the 'shining stars' and finally, reward and recognition for the contributors."

Data sourced from the Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff