Danny Baker and the art of co-creation

20th February 2013
Paul Bailey

If you want your brand to develop through collaborative contribution then how can The Danny Baker Show help?

If you’re not aware of it please let me introduce you to The Danny Baker Show. The show is a very popular Saturday morning, 9-11am, radio show on BBC 5Live in the UK covering a wide range of topics with its predominant focus on sports entertainment. There are the usual elements to a radio show, such as celebrity sporting guests, but why do I think brands can learn from The Danny Baker Show?

Danny Baker is a unique presenter, with a sharp wit and intelligent approach. He combines being likeable with being knowledgable, never coming across as aloof or condescending. His show has a clear purpose, sports entertainment, with a coherent tone, witty, fun and intelligent. However, this is where brands can learn from The Danny Baker Show. The show is never rigid, it is never too structured, it is always able to flex and adapt to what is happening at that time. And it needs to be this way as the bulk of the show’s content is contributed by it’s listeners, and this is my point.

At the start of the show Danny Baker will set up some leading questions to which he encourages listeners to call in a contribute stories. Examples of this might be ‘What are the strangest items you have used as football goalposts?’, ‘What is the most convoluted name for a league in Britain?’, etc. The questions are set ups for listeners to contribute, but they also clearly reflect the witty, silly, left-field approach of Danny Baker.

Throughout the rest of the show listeners call in sharing their stories in response to one of Danny’s questions. The listeners are contributing a great deal of the content for the show, but not only the content but the values of the show too. The stories are generally witty and funny, and are often things you simply couldn’t make up. The flexibility of the show goes further though, contributors might answer a question from weeks ago, or might even simply tell a story which vaguely relates to what was being discussed that week. The show feels loose and relaxed, it develops and evolves through the contributions of the listeners, but it never loses it’s core purpose or approach.

Danny Baker perfectly creates an environment where shared values and purpose are always there without the show ever being rigid. Listeners contribute because they want to be a part of the community, to share their story, the value to them is to be a part of the show. The show can veer wildly off-topic at times but Danny Baker revels in these tangents and encourages them. There is a clear affection and respect for Danny Baker, in what he does and how he does it. His knowledge and intelligence combined with his self-deprecation, wit and humour allow him to create an environment where contributors can genuinely co-create his radio show without ever taking it over.

And this is what brands can learn from The Danny Baker Show. If you can create an environment which encourages people to contribute freely to it, where they will feel valued whilst adding value, where there is a core purpose without being rigid and inflexible, where your authenticity is clear to see, then you can genuinely develop your brand through collaborative contribution. You may get contributions you never expected, but surely that is a good thing.

Image 1 © Jack Two
Image 2 © Alan Wild

Danny Baker perfectly creates an environment where shared values and purpose are always there without the show ever being rigid. Listeners contribute because they want to be a part of the community, to share their story, the value to them is to be a part of the show.