Design Thinking: Boost Demand for Sustainable Products
Brands can boost consumer demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products and services through principles from Design Thinking. This was the advice given by Jamie Klein Daley, VP of strategy at CBX, in a column for Packaging Digest.
Emphasize Rewards of Sustainability
Daley’s argument starts with the claim that most consumers do not want to pay more, even in the name of sustainability. She also argues that anything that comes across as “preachy” will be a non-starter.
This does not mean that brands should not promote sustainability, even where it comes with extra costs. The trick, Daley argues, lies with the framing.
Instead of asking customers to pay more for sustainable products, packaging, and the like, brands should attempt to shift the conversation. Daley says that brands can emphasize the rewards of sustainable products and packaging.
The Role of Design Thinking
According to Daley, this is where Design Thinking comes in. Design Thinking has a strong focus on cultivating a deep understanding of the target customer. This means that if one understands what is important to customers, one can appeal to customers who will be responsive to arguments for the benefits of sustainable packaging.
When companies frame sustainable products and packaging in terms of “paying more because it is sustainable,” this makes sustainable products and packaging seem like a penalty.
If, on the other hand, companies frame sustainable products and packaging as easy, natural, and rewarding, customers will be more likely to view these solutions as a benefit.
Tapping Into Consumer Values
Daley points to the approach taken by kitty litter manufacturers Litter One. The company offers a subscription-based model wherein users receive completely biodegradable litter boxes that are largely self-maintaining. They portray themselves as easier, cleaner, and better for the planet. This framing encourages sustainability-minded consumers to feel good about their decision to use Litter One’s services.
The trend toward sustainability is already growing across multiple industries. Daley believes that over the longer term, brands should try to make all options available both sustainable and affordable.
Daley’s own company, CBX, has reduced its development cycle by up to 18 months through an initiative called Leap by CBX. The initiative combines elements of Design Thinking with Agile Scrum.
For Daley, the upshot is that the old formula “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is outdated. The future will belong to companies that can “Replace and Rethink.”