An exploration of the psychological mechanism and effectiveness behind the co-creation process in advertising, based on the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method.

Dublin Core


An exploration of the psychological mechanism and effectiveness behind the co-creation process in advertising, based on the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method.


Maria Gabriela Vivero Donoso




Scholars have referred to co-creation as the interaction between firms and stakeholders to create value. Co-creation for product innovation and campaign delivery is a growing trend in today’s competitive market due to a demand for consumer-centric communication and product development strategies. Even when traditional research techniques are relevant for evaluating brand messaging, they are considered backwards looking. Traditional research techniques (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, focus groups) rely on companies’ terms rather than the customer’s domain, limiting stakeholders to only react to market offers instead of cooperating to build them. The application of co-creation techniques does not replace reactive research but is the new next step to building brand and campaign strategies.
The Sharp Agency developed ‘Co-create by Sharp’, a co-creation methodology that aims to build campaign and brand strategies with a higher value of insight than other approaches. According to The Sharp Agency, their unique approach to co-creating ideas with stakeholders has demonstrated effectiveness in their clients’ performance (i.e., 400% of revenue increase, 33% growth speed, and 19% spending increase). However, the method lacks information that supports its efficacy, more specifically, an exploration of the perceptions of people involved in their co-creation methodology (i.e., co-creation participants, Sharp team members, and Sharp’s commissioning clients).
This report aims to identify the presence of plausible psychological theories that could support the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ methodology. Accordingly, this study intends to explore the dynamics, perceived effectiveness, and limitations of the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ methodology through a series of individual interviews with the people involved in the process.
The researcher worked as an intern in the Sharp Agency, and a qualitative experimental design was used to investigate the research objective. Three types of interviews were conducted to understand the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ process from its main perspectives: Co-creation participants, Sharp team members, and Sharp’s commissioning clients.
Findings indicated that the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method is supported by a specific psychological mechanism explained by Self-Determination and Implicit Self-esteem theories. Based on these theories, interviewees’ perceptions of co-creation suggest that the
‘Co-create by Sharp’ methodology generates participant engagement in brand co-creation. According to the literature reviewed, participant engagement increases the level of insight in co-creation outcomes. As a result, this report has determined that the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ methodology produces a chain of benefits that begins with psychological benefits and brand-self connection, resulting in higher campaign delivery effectiveness.
In conclusion, the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ methodology appears to be supported by a psychological mechanism that motivates participants to co-create in developing campaign strategies and brand building. Moreover, co-creating with stakeholders as a next step to gathering data with market research techniques could increase customer value in campaign delivery.



Co-creation, advertising, psychology, behaviour


The researcher worked as an intern in the Sharp Agency to better understand the company’s way of work and the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method. The internship allowed the researcher to be involved in various steps of the co-creation method:
1) Attend co-create sessions and observe participant behaviour (see Appendix K and Appendix L).
2) Develop post-co-create decks of information, including sessions’ outputs.
3) Participate in strategic brainstorming sessions.
4) Collate evidence of the final results of messaging and visuals for campaign delivery.
A qualitative experimental design was used to investigate the research objectives and provide answers to research questions. Three types of interviews were conducted with different participant profiles, including co-creation participants, Sharp team members and Sharp clients. Interview sessions lasted between twenty and thirty minutes, using a pre-determined discussion guide for each interview and received ethical approval. Interviews were designed to gather insights about co-creation perceptions from every person involved in the process.
A qualitative design allowed interviewees to express freely their co-creation experience with The Sharp Agency. Considering the research aimed to explore people’s attitudes, it would not have been appropriate to use a quantitative method. Instead, a qualitative design allowed for gathering a spectrum of people’s observations and feedback.

Representative sampling was used to obtain results that reflect each participant’s profile perspective. Interviewing involved five participants from the latest co-creation sessions moderated by Sharp, seven Sharp team members with roles involved in different stages of the co-creation process (including founders of the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method), and three company commissioning clients that represent market leader companies (i.e., Medical Protection Service, Barbour ABI, and Lonza).
Considering that Medical Protection Service (MPS) and Lonza are part of the healthcare industry and Barbour ABI provides data and intelligence to the construction industry, these companies manage technical language and require higher accuracy of message delivery. (Ekiyor & Altan, 2021; Mokhtariani et al., 2017).
This project received ethical approval under the auspices of the Lancaster University Psychology Department (see Appendix M). Participants gave informed consent using a consent form sent and signed via e-mail (see Appendix B). Participants were additionally provided with a debrief sheet, including contact details, should they have further questions (see Appendix C).

Interviews were regulated using three discussion guides (see Appendix E, Appendix F, and Appendix G). These were devised based on the objectives of the investigation set collectively with Sharp. Each discussion guide responded to a specific question based on participants’ profiles (co-creation participants, Sharp team members, and commissioning clients. Participants were encouraged to elaborate on their answers as much as possible. When conducted virtually, interviews were recorded using the current version of Microsoft Teams, and in person, interviews were recorded using Apple’s Voice Memo app.

Research Procedure
Participants were introduced to the researcher by The Sharp Agency and invited to participate in a scheduled interview via Microsoft Teams or in Sharp’s headquarters in the case of Sharp team member participants. The interviewer followed a discussion guide that began with questions that allowed participants to introduce themselves and warm up to the conversation. It concluded with questions that aimed to obtain the most robust responses. For further analysis purposes, interviews were transcribed using the software.


Lancaster University






Madie Lulek








Qualitative Data





Leslie Hallam

Project Level




Sample Size

3 commissioning clients, 5 co-creation participants, and 7 Sharp team members

Statistical Analysis Type

Qualitative (Thematic Analysis)




Maria Gabriela Vivero Donoso, “An exploration of the psychological mechanism and effectiveness behind the co-creation process in advertising, based on the ‘Co-create by Sharp’ method. ,” LUSTRE, accessed December 10, 2023,