Here’s a hot tip for companies wanting to succeed with sustainable solutions: Get into the
habit of involving your customers more. Their knowledge and input may give you just what
you need – or need to avoid.
Co-creation has been a buzz word for years, but a central element often neglected is what
customers get out of it – which eventually also gains the company. Absorbing valuable
knowledge from customers enables these individuals to get (and feel) closer to your brand’s
sustainable features through active involvement and value creation. Positive brand
perceptions and brand loyalty will increase, leaving both you and the customer satisfied. As
an interactive processes of learning together, co-creation can be applied to each stage of the
production process such as product design and delivery. Not only can you learn which
aspects to improve, but also what to drop or change.
My lead argument to invest in co-creation is positive effects through a brand community,
where customer participation leads to higher involvement with the brand. This should be an
essential part of any sustainable and circular economy business DNA. It allows customers to
take an active part in the various product processes and to aid the company in delivering the
right solutions. In this way, integrating customers can also aid in discovering emerging trends
and adapting to preferences before entering the market. Learning those lessons now and not
after a launch is sustainable in itself.
A product’s or service’s value has traditionally been left within the company’s internal
domain to define and develop. Yet today’s growing emphasis on consumer engagement and
empowerment, often in the light of new technologies, should be used as an opportunity. If
there is inclusiveness and dialogue, your customers’ input will steer you to more long term
success. After all, isn’t that what sustainability is all about? Involving customers is therefore
in line with a more intentional circular economy model, where all parties rely upon
collaboration and innovation. As a key note speaker said during a Norwegian Circular
Economy seminar in March: “you simply cannot go circular without involving them”.