Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 28th, 2012

How powerful are consumers? Demonstration in a few examples

I have watched recently documentaries on the power of consumers in action and a book of interviews with famous brand designers.

There are two professors at Berkeley, and they form a team to coming to the rescue of engaged consumers who want safe and healthy products…

One of the professor is in charge of examining and investigating the toxic and poisonous ingredients, and the other professor handle the data-base and the online internet program that evaluate and rank products on a scale of 1 to 10 according to their health content and environmental quality…

For example, a serious consumer goes to a supermarket and take a picture of the ingredients and then check the value-rank of the product as designed by the Berkeley teamAny product lower than 7 for example is discarded for a better healthy quality product…

Maven, those people who are addicted to gathering knowledge and information and disseminating what they know, like this consumers taking pictures of products, were rare a couple of decades ago.  Currently, Mavens are increasing exponentially due to the affordable ease to use tools to connect fast and efficiently to internet data-bases and social platforms.

Modern mavens are putting the heat on corporations to change their habit and culture. Corporations are being flooded with angry feedback on their less than satisfactory quality products.

Amazingly, corporations are buying this validation system from the Berkeley team and other ready data-bases doing the same work of evaluating products, and doing their best to interchanging harmful ingredients with safer substitutes.

This system is spreading in the US and in Europe.

A few years ago, designer and advertiser guru Alex Bogusky developed the Eco-Index to measure everything about a product by computing a sustainability score.  This Eco-Index is an open-source index.

Alex Bogusky recalls that, as a Miami kid, he lived on Burger King Whoppers “Burger King, yeah! McDonald’s, screw them!”  And Burger King’s products were no longer different from McDonald’s: “Corn and soy get cut up and sliced and diced up, and turned into tasteless beef system…”

Alex Bogusky created FearLess Cottage to in order to change the equation to: “In exchange for my dollar, I demand from the corporation a transparent look at how “you behave and how you create this product…” Building consumer awareness and giving him the easy tools to investigating the health, safety, and ecological nature of a product will vastly increase the expectations from a relationship with a corporation…

The other example is the proliferation of “Connectors“, those rare species who have the capability to connect to vast network of people and clients.

Four years ago, a 30 year-old guy from San Francisco got an idea and decided to apply it. He visited his local small supermarket and struck a deal with the owner: “Listen, your lighting and freezing systems are archaic and need to be replaced by energy-saving systems.  I can flood your shop with plenty of customers, and in return you invest a quarter of your revenue generated during that day in renovating your energy system…”

At the marked day, people responded to the call.  Consumers even drove an hour just to join the line outside the street in order to transform an energy waster of a supermarket into an ecological and sustainable outlet.

In Texas, an engaged consumer bring with her a team of specialized contractors in lighting and cold spaces.  Once the client agree on a deal to renovate, the contractors get into action: a win-win situation for everyone concerned.

This idea is spreading in Europe as a wild-fire.

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