Posted: Fri 9th Dec 2011
We were properly inspired by Tony Curtis of Alago's explanation of Freaky Fridays, where he puts a day a week aside to play with new ideas. So much so, that we thought it would be a good idea if we did the same. As of today, every Friday is Free Range Friday, where we break out of the battery cage of work and enjoy ourselves looking at things that are new, fun, creative, offbeat and might just give you some inspiration for your small business. We're trawling the web, picking up ideas from the people we speak to and we'd love to hear your stories, too. What are you doing that's innovative or even just a little bit different from the norm? It could be to do with your product, the way you sell it, or even just something you do during the week that improves the way you run your business. Tell us on Twitter every Friday using the hashtag #FreeRangeFriday. This week, we're inspired by the brilliant Springwise, which is haven for anyone who's interested in new business ideas from around the globe. We featured the Springwise managing director Chris Turner ahead of Go Global and he's picked this to share with you.
The members of Swedish farmers' co-operative Lantmannen were becoming dismayed by the amount of perfectly good food that was being thrown away by their customers. In an effort to cut down the waste, they came up with a fun idea: they set up a dating website based around sharing a meal together. So people who buy from Lantmannen can now join the Restdejting ('Leftovers Dating') site and combine their leftover ingredients with someone else's to make a meal. Members visit the site and list up to five ingredients and their lsit is then published on Facebook for other Restdejting singles to browse. If they find a match - hey presto! There's even a speed dating option.
Well, it shows how businesses can extend the appeal of their product or service into a social experience that brings their customers together. By creating a kind of club around the products and using the social web to encourage connections, they're increasing customer engagement and loyalty in a fun way. On top of that, it's ethically sound and we've no doubt the Lantmannen co-operative has picked up quite a few more customers, too. Winner! The question is - is there anything you can be doing to turn your product or service into a social experience?