NEW YORK (MainStreet) —Mapping out environmental supply chains may not be the sexiest way to promote a new product. But some big brands are finding that sharing these stories offers a unique way to engage their customers in the making, use, and afterlife of their products.
“Brands are opening up about their supply chains in order to gain trust from customers who are concerned about their own health, the conditions of workers, and the environmental practices of their suppliers,” said Frank Millero, an industrial designer and visiting Sustainability and Production professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. “These concerned customers are motivated by different reasons, but the commonality is that they desire more information about the origins and manufacturing processes of the products they buy and use. I think that as the food industry has become more transparent, people are applying that scrutiny to other products as well.”
Patagonia was one of the first companies to incorporate life-cycle storytelling into its brand narrative. In 2008, the California-based outerwear company launched the Footprint Chronicles, an interactive microsite that tracked five of its most popular products across a world map, from raw material to retail.