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Column: Developing Impactful Products for your Customers

How can you create good impactful products and avoid the risk of being accused of greenwashing? Ryan Bromley has three pieces of advice for you.

Tokenistic ideas like “buy Product X and we'll plant a tree” aren't enough to stand out from the crowd and attract and retain customers, Ryan Bromley writes. [Photo: JumpStory]

By Ryan Bromley

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PWC’s latest CEO Survey shows the extent to which ESG is now central to the financial services (FS) industry’s strategic purpose. Yet we know many companies are looking for new ways to turn their purpose strategy into action and ultimately impact.  

One way companies are approaching this is “baking” purpose into their customer facing products. As the report highlights this “...offers a once in a generation opportunity to drive innovation, win new customers and be at the forefront of sustainable economic growth”

But if you’re ‘on the ground’ in your company and responsible for creating these purpose-led customer products, the question is how to do it well and avoid the risk of being accused of greenwashing?   

Having recently worked with Aviva to develop a new home insurance product that delivers their sustainability vision and ambitions, we’ve been reflecting on some important differences between developing a standard customer product, and developing a ‘purpose-led’ product that delivers real impact. 

  • Tokenistic ideas like “buy Product X and we’ll plant a tree” aren’t enough to truly stand out from the crowd and attract new (or retain existing) customers. So what?
    You need to think more creatively, find ideas that leverage your company’s unique assets and that are authentic to your brand. 
  • FS companies are not experts in the social or environmental problems you’re trying to solve. So what?
    To do this well you need to co-create ideas with people with lived experience and impact experts to ensure you create more impactful ideas that can’t be accused of greenwashing.
  • Customers are the only true barometer of whether a product will succeed. So what?
    You need to effectively involve them in the product development process and rapid testing of early stage ideas so you can be confident you’re creating something they really want, before you invest heavily in launching to market.

Given more and more companies are looking to develop purpose led products for their customers, we’re on a mission to share what we’ve learned at Good Innovation developing impact-led products over the last 10 years.

So if you’re tasked with developing a new impactful product for your customers, or you’re thinking about it for the future, over the coming months we’ll be sharing our frameworks, tools and templates, alongside some inspiring case studies to help you along the way. 

Ryan Bromley is educated at the University of Sussex and has worked at the world’s largest independent cancer research organisation, Cancer Research UK. Today he is a partner in the consulting firm Good Innovation, which specializes in innovation within social impact. You can contact Ryan Bromley at

This column has previously been published on Good Innovation’s own blog.

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