9 rules for developing a socially-constructive product, process or service

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[tweetmemediggfacebook] 9 rules for developing a socially-constructive product, process or service from North Venture Partners, a Los Angeles and San Francisco based strategic consulting and investment firm that works with early-stage, socially-constructive ventures.

1. Innovate Your Approach.
From what you’re offering to how you’re selling it, to where you’re saying it. Hey, if you’re number one tactic for creating mainstream awareness and action in this space is sending street teams out to organic grocery stores with clip boards and free t-shirts, please go back to the whiteboard and push yourself to innovate.

2. Feed The Early Birds.
We’ve talked a lot about how to the target the mainstream consumer, but don’t forget to the use the influential circles of your early adopters (including appropriate celebs). Where and when appropriate, these tastemakers still have huge pull and can be extremely beneficial in changing the consumption behaviors of the bigger flock.

3. Quit Hatin’. We can’t express this enough.
Stop attacking people that are a lighter shade of green than you. Consumers don’t respond well to criticism. Quit preaching and expecting perfection. Highlight the good they have the ability to make, not the bad they will cause by not participating.

4. Exercise Patience. This is a courtship, not a one-night stand.
First, get them to be more comfortable with the process of thinking constructively about their shopping choices. Sure, we’d like to make it Earth Day everyday, but this is going to take some time to sink in.

5. Psst. Listen Closely.
Before you can motivate your consumer into action, you must understand their emotional and rational drivers. By listening to them and offering up better ways for them to collaborate with you (customer feedback forums, message boards, blogs, social networking communities), you will have a better idea for how to deliver meaningful messaging that gets results.

6. Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse.
Many consumers still need to see the price/quality value relationship swing in their favor before they jump onboard. Not only do you have to convince this crowd that consuming your product does something worthy, but you have to show them it’s worth it as well (yep, rewarding them helps).

7. Make It Personal Not Planetary.
We said it earlier – make it personal, make it relatable, make it simple. We know consumers respond to more tangible connections – whether you relate consumption to their health or to their monthly energy bills. Don’t overwhelm them. Not everyone has a PhD in Environmental Sciences. If your call to action is stating less and less about how the consumer can benefit and more like an internal press release, hit the delete button.

8. Don’t Wait. Lead.
Nothing can hurt credibility with consumers more than a company that won’t take proactive measures to become more purposesful. So instead of waiting for someone to come down on you (they will, it’s only a matter of time), step outside of your comfort zone and begin developing alternative methods, products, and programs that will be viewed in a positive light.

9. Encourage Participation.
Let your consumers know that they’re in control and they can truly affect change on their own. No one wants to feel overwhelmed and helpless. Idealbite.com (a greenish Daily Candy) does an excellent job of this with their daily “Bang For The Bite” Their facts are fun and easy to digest: “If 10,000 Biters skip the airplane bathroom, we’ll avert the CO2 caused by one Biter flying roundtrip between LA & NYC about 15 times.” Sign up and give it a spin.


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