A recent Fast Company article by Meg Miller, How Fashion Brands Are Starting To Design Like Tech Companies, investigates how clothing brands, like Lululemon and Ministry of Supply, have established labs to test new product designs directly with customers. Just as tech companies employ iterative test-and-learn methods, fashion companies are adopting similar co-creation approaches.
In our work at Farland Group, we build customer listening engines for our clients, known as Customer Advisory Boards. Imagine twenty C-level clients sitting around a Board table with your executives—this Board becomes a lab.
Unfiltered, direct customer feedback heard during advisory board meetings often leads to product and service improvements—or even new product areas. When a company listens to its customers, iterates based on feedback and adjusts its course, it stays competitive. As Meg mentions,
Putting the time and effort involved in soliciting feedback and prototyping designs will pay off, the thinking goes, when you have a product that you know your customers will want—because you asked them.”
Given the pace of change taking place in the market today, companies need fast ideas that will have impact within a short time frame. Customer Advisory Boards are a great approach for B2B businesses to foster this type of innovation.