Monday, November 30, 2015

Brand Measurement: Best Practices to Link Results to In-Market Performance


Brand Measurement: Best Practices to Link Results to In-Market Performance

Jim Lane, President & CEO, Directions Research
Jim Nyce, Former VP Insights, Sun Products |Kraft| Pepsi

This talk centers on how can insights-people can track data that leads to real market performance.

The old system is broken. The case example that begins the session was a major CPG brand that was tracked over four hours. The goal was to track how pricing impacted market share. Market share lost five points of share. Once they lowered their price again, share rose, but never to its former glory. The value for the money was stagnant.

What actions got taken based on the tracker?

The moral of the story is that brand tracking needs innovation.

Let’s take a quick look back at tracking history:

Brand Health Assessment—A Very Brief History
1.     Pre 1985: WE had annual attitude & usage studies
2.     Late ‘80s: Continuous Tracking comes to America
3.     ‘90s-‘00’s: Brand Health Tracking Ubiquity
4.     ‘00’s: Ongoing Brand Health Tracking

The problem was that Brand Health Tracking was insensitive to marketplace changes, vulnerable to trend disruptions, and rarely actionable. As well they are expensive, resource intensive, difficult to dovetail with other data streams. Most damaging, they were not reflective to the market.

Questions: Does your tracker align with market sales? Is your tracker sensitive to in-market changes?

Make sure trackers are valid, sensitive, cohesive, and timely.

You must think beyond traditional scales to capture reality.

You must win. You have to be the best. You must be first to win.

Ranking is better than ratings for more realistic data modeling. Rankings more accurately reflects the category. Rankings overly normalize the data without taking in contextual and cultural  factors. Warning: once a new brand is introduced into the herd, the measured changes.

Trackers can use social data as an early warning system.

The main point is that brand tracking is lagging, but the promise of social, mobile, online, phone, and surveys working together makes tracking more dynamic and actionable.


Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thrive in the Expectation Economy: The Most Exciting and Urgent Trends of 2016 and Beyond


TMRE Keynote Presentation

Thrive in the Expectation Economy: The Most Exciting and Urgent Trends of 2016 and Beyond
 Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends and Insight, TRENDWATCHING


Why track consumer trends?

To have a future vision and create products or services two to five years from now.

The first component of every trend is change: social change, technological change, environmental change, and economic change.  Yet, basic human needs do not change, including relationships, community, and survival.

The second component of every trends is innovation. The first example was Uber—and how quickly consumers change their habits to adapt to the app and service.

The third component is emerging expectations. Expectations transfer. One-touch service for amazon, created one touch for Uber, and even go to tender. This is an economy of expectations. It impacts all of your customers.

The good news is tracking Trends helps you surpass the Expectation Economy.

1st key thought: See technology through a lens of basic human needs and wants, not from the tech buzz.

2nd key thought: Explore the sharing economy. Cars. Umbrella.

3rd key thought: Who do people feel where they are? People are impatient. What are all the consumer touch points? You can study the Domino’s Everywhere campaign. So, how do you get to contextual omnichannel? Consider the use of emoji to understand customer behavior. Think of new channels—for example, Spotify’s partnership with Uber. Challenge yourself to think about new context and channels.

4th key thought: A compelling brand is still about feelings. Have you explored two-way transparency between brands and people? Uber rates passengers. In 2016 expect to see more brands rating customers.

Can you use two-way rating and transparency for all involved. Brand transparency is more important than ever. You must prove you have a healthy corporate culture—and show the world an inside out view of your company. People want to like companies and how they treat their employees.

Ask yourself which aspect of you company culture would you put up on a billboard?

5th key thought: Consumers aren’t behaving as they should. Roles are reversed. More women over 18 are gamers compared to boys. People break all the demographic behavioral patterns we used to hold as sacred. Why? We have the global brain. We’ve been urbanized. Lastly, we have cheap digital experimentation. These three forces shatter all of our expectations of how people should behave according to gender, age, and class roles.

We are seeing heritage heresy: Playboy is excluding nude photos. Harley Davidson is planning 35,000 trees. As cultures shift, brands must adapt their ethos.

The outcome: treat different people differently. Use taste-led targeting, like Spotify. Fine tune to individual preference.



Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

Friday, November 20, 2015

This Week In Market Research: 11/16/15 - 11/20/15


The terrorist attacks in Paris seen late last week have shocked the world and completely rocked the situation in Paris. The fear of terrorism has never been higher and analysts are now saying that this environment of fear could have a high impact not only on policy, but also on the global economy. According to an article put out by Fox Business this week, the biggest economic impact from these devastating attacks will be on how much people spend on travel and tourism. “France’s tourism industry is likely to take the biggest immediate punch from Friday’s gruesome events. According to 2014 data from the International Monetary Fund, France is the world’s sixth-largest economy – the second-biggest in the eurozone, and figures from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau show the tourism industry makes up nearly 7.4% of the country’s gross domestic product.” The article also argues that the Paris tourism industry will not be the only area economically affected. Analysts say that given data of past attacks and consumer behavior in the aftermath, people will be less likely to spend money on going to restaurants, cafes, and or concerts (all three of which were targets during the November 13th attacks.) “Recent data show overall consumer confidence in the nation fell from an eight-year high in October as consumers were less sure of their ability to add to their savings or make large purchases. In the wake of such abhorrent attacks, it is clear that on top of the emotional stress and trauma France will face, economic stress will also follow. 



In an extremely compelling article on Harvard Business Review this week, the idea of combining thick data with big data is discussed. Now many people may wonder, “What is think data?” According to the article, thick data is the data that is generated by anthropologists and individuals trained in observing human behavior and what motivated people. Recently the large majority of businesses either specialize in one or the other. “To date, thick data and big data have been promoted and employed by very different people. Thick data has been handled by companies grounded in the social sciences. Big data has been promoted by people with analytics degrees, often sitting in corporate IT functions.” As the article depicts, little dialogue has gone on between the two. The argument being made is that combining these two approaches can complete a full picture and real solution for some of the strategic problems that CMO’s face. “Thick data’s strength comes from its ability to establish hypotheses about why people behave as they do…Big Data has the advantage of being largely unassailable because it is generated by the entire customer population rather than a smaller sample size.” The article discusses a case study of a European supermarket chain and the tactics their CMO used. The conclusion of the study is that more CMO’s need to “familiarize themselves with the strengths and weaknesses of the two data types. I highly recommend this article to anyone in the field of market research, as it illustrates the importance of both types of data. 



An article on Fast Company this week discusses the development and design of Samsung’s Gear VR as it was largely spurred on by consumer insights. According to the VP of Immersive Products and Virtual Reality, Nick DiCarlo, “’Consumer and developer feedback is critical and all of the tweaks we’ve made to the device have been as a result of what we hear from the community. We are committed to continuously improving and bringing this amazing new technology to millions, and that takes a careful ear to listen and learn from the passionate VR community and developers we work with every day.’” Many consumers had comments from the previous version that centered around the touchpad which is located on the right side of the headset. In its newest version, Samsung changed the touchpad from being flat and squarish, to a cross-shaped groove that is more conducive to swiping up and down. This article is great example of how consumer insights and market research can impact the design of a product and its evolution thereafter. 


Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Capabilities New + Old: Complimentary Practices for Today’s Consumer Reality


Capabilities New + Old: Complimentary Practices for Today’s Consumer Reality

Sandra Kang, Director, Brand Insights, Digital Insights & Consumer Affairs, Clorox


Not so long ago, we could take out a TV add, take out a newspaper add—and win with consumers. Now, it’s all different for the CPG industry. The, retailers led.

We have moved into the Consumer Led Era. This is the era in which we compete.

Clorox responds to consumers with a social media team. We also increasing support our products on many e-tail channels.

We are on a journey to change the way we work. We call it Sense & Respond marketing.  We have a cross-functional team that includes a data scientist, an analyst, and insights person as well as technologists, and others. We are a prototype.

When we came up with the frame work of Sense & Respond, we saw that we moved from an aggregated, rear-mirror view of consumers, into a dynamic, predictive, custom view of each consumer.

Change is hard. Innovation can be even harder. The practical application of this framework means that “innovation is hard, you have to be bold, take risks, and challenge the things we think we know,” a quote from Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, Inc. 

Lesson one: Back to basics: Revisit the scope of insights; redefine what it means.
Call-to-action: Redefine what an insight is. Do store visits. Look at competitors. Play beyond the strategic cloud. Immerse yourself in what the consumer sees. Next, make allies within the organization. Find their pain points. Build a rapport.

Lesson two: Research innovation is not dead. Marketing technology can be a significant enablers of research innovation.

Call-to-action: Be bold. Be curious. Harness the power of these new sources of truth, this new world of data.  Turn attitudinal segments on its head. With big data, they were able to help the Britta brand test four distinct campaigns to test, then analyze the results. The exercise had the team re-imagine targeting, segmentation, and attitudinal work.

Lesson three: Insights, always on.
Call-to-action: Insights is no longer a job for one. Leverage your business partners. Give them voice. Establish a collaborative partnership. One-and-done insight creation is a thing of the past. Start with a hypothesis, and then turn it into a playbook for generating on-going insights. Gather a team.


Lesson four: Insight curation, not just creation
.
Call-to-action: Because three key drivers of change, aim for customer-centricity. Data is profuse and prolific. The explosion of Martech means that data is accessible to everyone.



Therefore, we are moving to a three-stage model:

1.     Insight cultivation
2.     Insight curation
3.     Decisioning


Here are the lessons learned:
·      Let’s be messy
·      Maintain reasonable expectations
·      Keep an open mind
·      Data quality is still a top priority
·      Make friends internally
·      Get support of senior leaders

This journey is two to three years old. We are both unlearning and learning new ways. The goal is to make this the default practice by 2020.



Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

Friday, November 13, 2015

This Week In Market Research: 11/9/15 - 11/13/15

In a very compelling article by The Herald this week, the topic of market research and how critical is it for businesses is discussed and analyzed. Similar to what we already know about market research, the article argues that the longevity of a business depends on its awareness of consumer taste buds, government policies, and what competitors in the market are up to. “Entrepreneurs should understand that knowledge about markets is essential for the survival and growth of their business. It enables one to improve the competitive nature of their business and to reduce risks.” The article also defines market research as the process of collecting data in order to determine if a specific product or service will meet and exceed the customer’s needs. Along with many other things listed in the article, market research has the ability to identify market trends, economic shifts, and the buying habits of consumers. Obviously this is nothing new, however it’s very encouraging to see articles argue for the importance and relevance of market research and how it can significantly alter the outcome for a struggling business.



This week Forbes posted an article on their site discussing how legal cannabis, big data, and leaders in market research joined forces to start a buzz (no pun intended). According to the article, Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer, CEO of New Frontier Financial, observed how data was powering big financial decisions on whether or not to back private companies and wondered why there was no one in the legal cannabis industry. “The one-time investment banker and consultant began attending the sector’s budding event circuit, pitching a Bloomberg for cannabis data. Her Washington D.C.-based startup, New Frontier Financial, began to publish reports assessing regional opportunities, upcoming legislation and the impact of looming price changes. Lawmakers, cannabis entrepreneurs and, increasingly, mainstream investors started to buy in to DeCarcer’s data.” According to the article, New Frontier is partnering with market research firm ArcView in order to create a market leading report for the industry that will make it easier for investors to confidently invest. “The partnership will allow each company to focus on its strengths without worrying about competing on the same data.” The full article is a brilliant read if you get the chance, I highly recommend it. 



The Wall Street Journal released an article this week that discusses Diageo PLC’s new effort to increase their emphasis on consumer research in an effort to reverse their weak sales numbers. Diageo PLC, a British-based liquor company, has lost a significant market share in the U.S. due to the competition from brands like Smirnoff and Captain Morgan. Due to this recent slump, the company has decided to enlist Deirdre Mahlan, the company’s former chief financial officer, to be the head of its North American business. “The move to beef up its marketing efforts comes during a year of tumult in the company’s North American operations. In July, the company confirmed a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into its distribution practices.” According to the article, the SEC led an investigation into whether or not Diageo had shipped excess inventory in an effort to boost results. This marketing effort seems to have not come at a better time for the company. Hopefully market research and newer marketing tactics can bring this company out of the long slump it’s been in. 


Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Answering the Call of the Omnichannel Shopper through a Dynamic Category Strategy

This afternoon at OmniShopper International 205 in Paris, France, Duncan Tyrrell, Category Strategy Controller at Warburtons Limited talked to us about reaching omnichannel shoppers through a dynamic category strategy.

We are in a time of transitional change in grocery. This could be an inflection point for the industry, according to Tyrell.

There has been a shift of control from the retailers into the hands of the shoppers. The source of omnichannel shopping comes from three places: societal change, technology revolution, and new business models. The way the societal change is manifesting itself is the way of the main shop is changing and diminishing in size.  “Little and often is becoming the norm,” said Tyrrell.

In the next 5 years, super stores will become less popular and the growth will be in convenience stores and online. For example, large stores like Tesco are buying a successful smaller store called Giraffe in the UK.

Warburtons translated the omni shopper change into action in order to adapt to that market. The company learned to understand their omnichannel environment to unlock category growth by implementing the following strategies:

1.       Provide a language for internal alignment
2.       New Opportunities for thought leadership
3.       A common purpose for retailers and suppliers

Now, Warburtons retailers in the UK are looking for a path to growth because they need new and disruptive business models in the market.

Tyrrell said, “We will look back on this time and realize it was around this time that things really began to change.”

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA where she manages social marketing strategy and content marketing across the business. She a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, life sciences, innovation, law, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big Design,  Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Blogs. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Your Future Shopper: Predictions for the Future of Shopping

This afternoon at OmniShopper International in Paris, France, James Llewellyn, UK Head of Shopper, GfK, shared four predictions for the future of shopping that has come out of their recent research. “Sometimes it can feel chaotic to understand shoppers in the real world,” he began.

According to Llewellyn, some key insights include:

1.       Nothing has changed: Execution has changed dramatically, but retail fundamentals are unchanged.
2.       But you need to get faster: When retailing you need to be fitter, more agile.
3.       Loyalty is dead: Loyalty. If it ever existed in a pure form, has been left behind.

In the last 2,200 years there have been four retail innovations. The first is the creation of the first chain of stores in China called Lo Kass. Next, came catalogue based mail order in Europe. Third, the first department store opened in Paris, France called Le Bon Marche. Finally, self-service was created in the U.S. known as groceteria.

“Retailing is not about inventing new stuff,” said Llewellyn. “Take comfort, the fundamentals remain unchanged.”

So, how should we understand the future consumer? Live in the jungle, ask shoppers, and observe shoppers. Retail is not as it once was. The door is open to experimentation. For example, Amazon selling via Waterstone, Tetely and Nestle collaborating to sell to need states, and stores sneaking to communicate through entertainment.

Convenience, choice, price, and experience are the four pillars of retail that haven’t changed, but now the new retail battlegrounds have been added to the mix. Is it the end of the queue? There are many new mobile apps that are accelerating the queue.

“My mobile device is quickly becoming my most important shopping tool,” said the majority of the world in a recent GfK survey.

Being convenient has been essential since retail began. To create attraction from the moment of trigger you must be continuously available, according to Llewellyn.


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA where she manages social marketing strategy and content marketing across the business. She a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, life sciences, innovation, law, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big Design,  Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Blogs. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Understanding In-Store Package Size Perception and Preferences

This morning at OmniShopper International 2015 in Paris, France, Pierre Chandon, The L’Oréal Chaired Professor of Marketing-Innovation and Creativity and Director, Sorbonne Behavioral Lab, INSEAD, took the keynote stage to discuss in-store package size perception and preferences.

“We are often acting mindlessly because of how our brain and emotions work,” he said.

Because of this, most people don’t look at the information on packages or labels, according to Chandon. In fact, of all the information shown on the package, the information about the size is completely neglected (only 16% of people pay attention to it).

The bottom line is, at the point of sale, in-store or online, they just get an impression of the size of the package about how much is inside of the package.  The environment is impacting the impression customers get about the size.

“Our perception of size is relative,” he said.  The environment can shape what we define as “regular.” We spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to eat, and very little time about how much we want. In general, we know that we want a “regular” but we don’t’ know what regular really is these days.

We underestimate the change and the increase in package size. Additionally, people underestimate supersizing, especially when all three dimensions change. In conclusion, you should supersize only in one dimension so that customers notice, according to Chandon. On the other hand, downsize in 3D so customers don’t notice.

When you think about sizes, according to Chandon, you have to think beyond “is this the right size?” and think about if you are branding it the right way.


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA where she manages social marketing strategy and content marketing across the business. She a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, life sciences, innovation, law, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big Design,  Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Blogs. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How to Innovate like a Start Up 101 (for those of us in big companies)


TMRE Panel

How to Innovate like a Start Up 101 (for those of us in big companies)

Ann Thompson, The Garage Group
Kristi Zuhlke, Knowledge Hound
Tarrae Schroeder, Kelloggs
Kristine Greiwe, LYFT
Luana Nichifor, Proctor & Gamble


Ann Thompson began the talk about her big company background, at Proctor and Gamble. Then, switched to her life no at a start up. The garage group helps enables corporates to innovate and grow like start ups.

Why should we care about start ups?
1.     Uncertainty—it is the new norm, accept it. Embrace it.
2.     Speed—faster speed to market wins. Gets faster everyday.
3.     Insights—insights are the new commodity. The question is what do you want to do with it.
4.     Talent—getting talent is the new war. The increase of those getting an entrepreneur degree has risen 550% over the past few years.

What do startups do differently?
1.     Operate with minimum resources. Most begin with two or three people.
2.     Get externally focused. You have to stay externally focused to win.
3.     Pursue multiple directions. Instead of getting deadlocked on one direction, start ups are adaptive and pursue several directions at once.
4.     They iterate and pivot. Fast, too. They pivot and adapt before corporate American sends a preview deck to upper management.

First question: What are the differences between how a corporate team or a start up innovates?

·      Kristi Zuhlke: Start ups move much more quickly. If I were to go back into corporate work, I’d launch and test things much more quickly.  You’d learn more, faster. Decrease the time to learning—that is the difference.
·      Kristine Greiwe: On the walls of LYFT is a sign that says Create Fearlessly; creativity is not fostered in a corporate meeting room. I’d like my team out of the office more, as it fosters a more inspiring culture.
·      Terrae Schroeder: The system is set up differently. The goal in a large company is to not fail. Organizationally, the rewards system and goals are different.
·      Luana Nichifor: We have five business units, five markets; so the size can slow you down.

Second question: Can you give us some ideas that you’ve been able to make a difference at a large organization?
·      Luana Nichifor: At P&G it can be easier than at some companies. We try to apply start up thinking wherever possible. We collapsed a 200-question survey to a much easier instrument.
·      Kristi Zuhlke: Find companies who you wouldn’t find in the typical RFP process to find a company that will force you to think differently.
·      Terrae Schroeder: If you get to the clear insight, it provides courage to innovate. This clarity can inspire innovations to move fast.
·      Kristine Greiwe: I am the first person to do consumer insights at LYFT, but the brand team is hungry for insights and consumer data. As a start up, we are resource and time constrained. The second thing I borrowed from P &G is storytelling, bringing the consumer stories to life. The way to do it is to get out of the office.

Third question: Have any of you had experiences in the corporate world where you had to find an answer quickly—and the organization used the data.
·      Terrae Schroeder: We are keen on developing the Institutional Gut. Remember, you are a consumer. Internal intuition is valuable. Google a question. Build trust in intuition.
·      Luana Nichifor: It is easier to grow and build insight depth at an organization. Give them immersive experiences. We have so much data, too much. We distill the data down to visuals the teams can use for their power points, which helps a lot.

Final question: each of you on the panel have gumption, so what is the role of personal risk and leading change.
·      Kristi Zuhlke: I left the corporate world for a real startup. At P&G my manager encouraged risks. He’s the CEO of Levi’s today. In corporate America you actually have a bigger parachute to take risks. Lead. Take risk. Or, you’ll follow.
·      Luana Nichifor: There are rewards for risks. It’s easier to start something for some people. If you encounter a Wow moment, then you cannot say no.

Some general advice was conveyed in the open question and answer session:

·      In terms of trying to force feed a product, listen to the market. Find the pain points. Solve those. Run test.
·      Some large corporations are open to working with Start Ups to solve problems outside of accelerators and pure open innovation projects.
·      Use your own network for research to move quickly.




Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

2015 TMRE: Seth Godin Question and Answer Session



Seth Godin Question and Answer Session: TMRE, Orlando 2015


Seth Godin is the author of 18 books. His blog is one of the most popular in the world.
After a keynote about the Connection Economy, Godin made time for a Q and A for 50 people.



Q: Companies are risk averse and market researchers are even more risk averse. What is your advice?

A: Reframe the questions. See how people respond. Companies aren’t conservative; they are afraid. They all want someone to stand up and shed light. They mistake their purpose as making the stock rise, instead of making something meaningful. Take actions on small things, build courage, take responsibility, give credit. Things will change.

Q: What your view of where marketing will be in five years?

A: This is the next big thing—market to the edges, the freaks, forget mass—market to individuals. The meta trend is the smartphone. Most teenagers would rather give up their car than their cell phone—amazing.

Q: Can you talk about scarcity verses Abundance?

A: The source of the scarcity mindset is two fold: 1. Evolution (not enough food for 1 million years and 2. Limited shelf space. Zero sum game … the shift is that attention is the scare-est resource. How do you get more attention? Ideas are abundant. You need to build trust.

Q: What is your view on Twitter?

A: The two stupid things Twitter can do is go public and sell ads—I wrote this in a post before Twitter went public. Instead, they should offer a tiered platform with power users who don’t see ads. Twitter will be less fun to use.

Q: You mentioned about The Weird. Please explain.

A: People move away from the center when given a choice. Look at people’s browser histories. This was inconceivable 50 years ago when we had three TV channels to choose from. Now, it is fragmented beyond conception.

Q: When you look at market research, you think about the push tactics you don’t want. So, what can market research do?

A: Start with reframing the questions, make sense of trends, not history, but pattern matching. You are charged with taste, not data.

Q. Discuss the art and humanity a little more.

A: Understand patterns. As soon as someone creates an algorithm, humanity changes, outmodes it.  It’s the quality of the experience of living, of life, of work.

Q. Thank you for using words like generosity or art in the realm of marketing. Can you help bring value?

A. I would say you wouldn’t say it yet. But I see it at many companies. Look at Spotify—the CEO knows that if he hires humans at their edge, it will bring the company more value. When I say generosity, it doesn’t mean give it away, it means recognize the humanity of the market.

Q: How do you take it personally when you’re told not to take it personally.

A: They don’t have to like it, but I made it and I have proud of it. You can say “I made it.”

Q: Turning strangers into friends—can you explain?

A: My book Permission Marketing is about this topic. Marketing you want to get works better than spam. Would the consumer miss you if you were gone? Do you have permission. The challenge is how you build a brand where people want to here from you. It requires humility. Find products for customers, instead of customers for products. Earn that asset first, and the other stuff falls into place.






Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.