Thursday, July 28, 2016

4 Tips for Mobile Market Research

By: Sarah Canning, Product Manager, Global, Lightspeed GMI

Mobile phones provide an ideal method to collect and understand consumer behavior. Given their ability to capture real time responses, there are endless opportunities with mobile market research that we can utilize or further develop. As researchers, to capture authentic and honest input, we must implement best practices. Marketing researchers need to think mobile and consumer, first.

From social media apps to text messaging, the average American spends one hour and 49 minutes in-app on their smartphone daily. What does this mean for marketing researchers? It means mobile devices play an increasingly important role in our research. We should consider not only the frequency consumers are using their mobile device, but who we’re trying to reach as well. Those difficult 18-24 year-old males you’re looking for to top off your project? There is a good chance you’ll find them on their phone faster than on a laptop. Now, put yourself in a respondent’s shoes. If there aren’t enough surveys for you to take, or the surveys you receive are challenging to view, will you stay active on the panel? Engaged? If researchers aren’t putting out enough surveys for the demographics more likely to use a mobile device over a computer, we could see capacity decrease over time. Because of these points and many others, we need to put more focus on utilizing mobile devices to reach our target audiences and create surveys that are enjoyable to take on those devices.
Here are four best practices to apply:

1.       Design for Mobile First: While both PC and mobile can produce informative results, mobile provides real-time, in-the-moment data. Eighty-seven percent of U.S. smartphone users under 34 are never without their phones. What does this mean for marketing researchers? Build with the smallest mobile device in mind, then adapt for desktop.

2.       Limit Length of Interview: Quality results are impacted by the length of your survey. The use of mobile phones, globally, has expedited everything we do in the 21st century; including the amount of time to complete a survey on smartphones. While aesthetics are a huge part of delivery, make your surveys short and to the point. Surveys that are as short as possible, never exceeding 15 minutes, will yield a more attentive audience.

3.       Build a Trusting Relationship: Panelists are people and they now understand the value of their personal data, their opinions, and their time. Assure your respondents that their personal information will not be shared.Consent is essential; however, this is an obstacle for many marketing research companies. Capture data that is insightful, not invasive.

4.       Gamify Your Research: Gamifying research can result in dramatically higher levels of engagement amongst panelists (3x higher) and should be incorporated more frequently in survey design. Marketing researchers don’t need an overhaul of their research solutions; they can simply form the questions in a more engaging way. There are now many avenues to pursue when marketing to the modern world and many distractions to overcome. Be the distraction by gamifying your research.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Customer Sentiment Drives Differentiation

By: Rick Kieser, Ascribe 

Customer Sentiment is more than just a feeling – it is a critical mile marker on the road to brand differentiation. In my last blog, I discussed the opportunity to compete based on customer experience – what that means, and how tricky it can be.  The follow up question: HOW do you harness CX insights to deliver a truly differentiated experience?

I also outlined three things you must do in order to truly compete on the basis of differentiated customer experience. Let’s dig in a little further to understand how you can use customer sentiment and insight from open-ended and other survey data to accomplish your goal.

1) Identify what makes (or could make) you special in the eyes of customers

When you ask customers about their experience, there are likely a few words they use more than others. In fitness centers, for example, “locker rooms” is a phrase mentioned over and over again.  Chances are this is an opportunity for differentiation. To determine whether or not you’re there yet, take a look at what your best customers – your biggest fans – say about your most important words. Are THESE customers satisfied with THIS part of the experience? Customer sentiment can reveal a wealth of directional cues about where you are and where you can and should be.

2) Understand the underlying drivers of the customer experience

It’s one thing to identify a key component of your customers’ experience; it’s a whole other challenge to understand what factors drive how they feel about it. To stick with the “locker room” example, we might guess that clean towels, friendly attendants or special amenities could contribute.  But how do we know what tips the scale between poor, average and exceptional? The point is, until you uncover those insights, you will only be guessing at what to invest in, tweak, reinforce or promote.

3) Deliver consistently, and monitor customer sentiment relative to your differentiator

Once you know what customers care about most and how to make sure YOU deliver it uniquely or better than anyone else, ongoing analysis can tell you if you are succeeding, if customer sentiment or experience is changing, and how consistently you are executing across your organization. All it can take to degrade your competitive advantage is one kink in the system, and watching variations among subsets of customers can help you stay ahead.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WholeFood’s CEO Discusses Leadership and Insights at TMRE: The Market Research Event

TMRE is the only event that brings you face to face with the brightest minds in business on the keynote stage. These gurus and best-selling authors have tailored their content specifically for the TMRE audience to leverage their insights for immediate impact.

The TMRE Keynote Stage..where Ingenuity is your ally, and Routine your enemy:

·         Stephen Dubner, Best-Selling Author, Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics
key takeaway: Inspire change in both your organization and your customers’ minds by understanding the power of incentives.
·         John Mackey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market, Best-Selling Author, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
key takeaway: Grow and evolve your leadership skills with help from John Mackey, to push employee growth and engagement, ultimately leading to growth of the company itself.
·         Alec Ross, NYT Best-Selling Author, The Industries of the Future, Former Senior Advisor for Technology & Innovation at the State Department
key takeaway: Gain a better understanding of the next wave of innovations that are going to disrupt markets and workplaces around the world, for better and for worse.
·         David S. Duncan, Co-Author, Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
key takeaway: Hear how the ‘theory of jobs to be done’ can be used to shape innovations that have a greater chance of success and how the approach can be institutionalized in your organization to create enduring competitive advantage.
·         Zain Raj, President & CEO, Shapiro+Raj, Amazon Best-Selling Author, Marketing for Tomorrow, Not Yesterday and BrandRituals: How Successful Brands Bond with Customers for Life
key takeaway: View the future of market research and see how next generation methodologies are crafting tomorrow’s marketers and meeting the demands of today’s consumer trust, respect and loyalty requirements.
·         Francis Glebas, Author, The Animators Eye and Directing the Story, Director, Storyboard and Visual Development Artist, Disney, Dreamworks Animation
key takeaway: Explore storytelling and visual presentation techniques from the storyboard artist for Fantasia and Pocahontas to help insights executives better sell our research into the organization
·         David Eagleman, Neuroscientist, NYT Best-Selling Author, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, Host of PBS’ The Brain with David Eagleman
key takeaway: Hear new data to show how people use the same brain circuitry to relate to brands as they do to one another, suggesting strong motivation for companies to work on reputation, loyalty and trust – subconscious issues which powerfully navigate customer decisions, but are missed by traditional methods of market research.
·         Thalma Lobel, Author, Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, Internationally Recognized Psychologist, Professor at the School of Psychological Science, Tel Aviv University, Visiting Professor, Harvard
key takeaway: Gain insights on how the strong influence of the physical sensations have direct implications to products and package design, to user interface as well as to business and personal interactions with family and friends.
·         Soon Yu, Global Vice President of Innovation, VF Corporation
key takeaway: Uncover the “T shaped” leadership model that goes beyond just developing inspired ideas to the organizational influencing skills required to execute them.
·         Zoe Chance, Author, Better Influence, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Yale School of Management
key takeaway: Learn the six keys of influence (Moments of Truth, Social Proof, Consistency, Anchoring, Reciprocity & Scarcity), why they work and how to recognize them.

Plus, check out the VIP package upgrade to join these experts for private lunches, breakfasts, Q&A sessions, and workshops!

ONLY TMRE can give you that level of access. Download the complete TMRE agenda:

Use code TMRE16LI for an additional $100 off. Buy your tickets:

The TMRE Team

Monday, July 25, 2016

Data Mining Power Tools

This post was originally published on Ascribe’s blog.

Like any other form of mining, data mining can be hard, dirty work if you don’t have the right tools.
Many customer experience professionals resort to hours of reading or excel manipulation to extract what they can out of their customers’ open-ended feedback.  It might be better than not using it, but it is like using a rock hammer to dig for oil – you may never get there.

To transform your feedback from unstructured to structured for actionable insights, you need far more than a rock hammer.  There are several kinds of “power tools” you can use for data mining depending on your comment volume, complexity, cost and maturity.  

Here are a few examples:

Data Mining Technology Options

If you have large data sets and the need to derive meaning, develop taxonomy or access a query tool, rules-based text analytics (NLP) may be the right solution.  This technology uses lexicons or dictionaries alongside series of deterministic rules to identify topics or sentiment, such as positivity or negativity.

If your program is more about large-scale, repetitive tasks, machine learning might be in order.  Machine Learning uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn how to categorize and interpret text automatically from a sample of manually classified training examples, so once trained, it can run as an automated process with minimal intervention.

If the highest degree of accuracy is required, you might do well with semi-automated classification.  These methods organize the work intelligently, and optimize human decision-making in classifying customer comments by using powerful searches.

Selecting the Right Set of Tools

Sometimes, you need more than one tool to finish the job quickly and well.  Your needs may change over time, or your data may become more or less complex.  Be sure to consider all the possibilities as you select the technologies to use for your data mining and analysis efforts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

5 Ways Traditional Market Researchers Can Stay Relevant

By: Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Informa

Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and ultimately, the world. That’s why we asked Adam Coleman, Director, Consumer and Market Research, Microsoft, for his advice to traditional researchers on staying relevant in the changing market research and consumer insights space.

Here is his advice:

1.       Experiment. Experiment with new approaches to solving problems – use the 70/20/10 model to look at your budgets and spend at least 10% of dollars (if you can) on trialing side by side tests.

2.       Use Multiple Data Sources. Ensure you are using (or assessing) multiple data sources which may require you to ‘up’ your collaboration skills with teams you may not previously have thought you’d need to work with. Particularly as Social Intelligence and Behavioral data come to the fore.

3.       Get Experience. Get experience to get comfortable with these new types of data sources so you have at least an educated understanding of them and their limitations/advantages - don’t get left behind.

4.       Pay Attention to Innovation. Don’t jump to use the first new shiny approach you see! There is so much innovation going on that a new firm, or one of the bigger firms with Innovation at the center, may have a better solution. Increase your networking with industry peers, or meet with other non-competitive firms who you can share new thinking with.

5.       Don’t Forget the Core Principles of Research. Don’t get away from what are core principles of research, whatever the data or information formats – Continue to ask yourself these types of questions: Do we have research learning or are there secondary sources that can already answer the question? Is it representative of the audience, market, or other requirement? What level of confidence do we need to answer the question – hence, can we assess the significance to the level we need? Does it truly answer the business question at hand?

“The world of product development and marketing has simply sped up in almost all industries,” Coleman explained. “There are more choices for customers every day, and more and more smaller competitors coming into markets they were not in before. Keeping ahead of the competitive threats and responding quickly requires even more agility without losing the appropriate research quality needed to help guide decisions.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Partnering With Data Scientists: How Market Researchers Make the Most of Big Data At LinkedIn

An interview with Sally Sadosky, Group Manager in Marketing Research, and Al Nevarez, Senior Manager in Business Analytics, from LinkedIn

The introduction and evolution of big data has opened up a whole world of new opportunities for market researchers. However, it has also brought with it a set of challenges, not least around the skills gap traditional market research teams are facing.

With 400 million members, maximizing this wealth of data is more pressing for LinkedIn than most. We spoke to Sally Sadosky, Group Manager in Marketing Research, and Al Nevarez, Senior Manager in Business Analytics, from the social media giant about how internal partnerships between departments has helped them gain invaluable insights from their data.

How has market research changed with big data?

SS: “There’s been lot of changes and all for the positive. At LinkedIn because we are able to look at the behavior of the members, we are able to do a lot more research in advance – looking at behaviors, looking at trends, testing hypotheses. When we actually talk to members, either through quantitative surveys or qualitative methods, we can really focus our questions.

We have already fully analysed what we know to be facts, so we don’t have to spend time asking them what they do, now we can spend all our time on the ‘whys’. Our surveys tend to be a lot shorter, which is great for response rates and completion rates. Our in depth interviews tend to be a lot more focused as well, as we can say ‘we noticed you do this, tell us why.’

What skills does a market research team need to take advantage of the big data opportunity?

AN: “It starts with a healthy, inquisitive, imaginative mind. We like to look at this Venn diagram of skills that refers to software skills, maths skills and business skills. We look for folks that have all three. If you only have two of those it is dangerous; if you’re the hacker with the business but don’t know the math and statistics, you can come to erroneous conclusions.

At the end of the day, it’s about being comfortable with all kinds of data – we have 400 million members on LinkedIn which is a lot of data. But we don’t collect 400 million survey records – that data is smaller. It’s about being creative and understanding the technology well enough that you can bring the little data and the big data together to help make big decisions.”

What tips do you have for other market researchers interested in collaborating with the big data aspects of their organization?

SS: “It’s a little bit of a scavenger hunt in the beginning because the data scientists are scattered throughout the company and they don’t report in to marketing where I sit. You have to create those relationships. I focus on small wins. We are jointly storytelling and that gets people asking for more, so I can go back and ask for dedicated resource, hire more people or ask for 20 hours rather than 5 hours.

It has to be a very proactive thing as in many companies they are still considered very separate disciplines with very separate approaches. We think about the same thing; we think about member empathy and telling the story of our members, and now we have a lot of facts and a lot of opinions and we are able to put those together in a seamless way which tells really good member stories. It’s being proactive and being persistent in getting those small wins.”

AN: “If you’re thinking about a data science team, think about how that team can really drive the bottom line for the company and then that will help that team thrive and grow and therefore be able to support all these other organizations.”

Watch the full interview below: 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Meet Your OmniShopper International Keynote Line Up

You’ve been charged with uncovering shopper research methodologies that generate innovative in-store behaviour analysis. To apply behavioural science to shopper marketing and brand building. And to integrate omnichannel retail strategies to connect with shoppers at every turn.

It’s not easy, but definitely achievable. OmniShopper International brings together the world’s leading FMCG manufacturers and retailers to spark new ideas and inspire revolutionary insights and activation strategies to win at retail (whether that’s in-store, online or in-home).

OmniShopper International
15-17, November, 2016
London Marriott West India Quay Hotel
London, England
Buy tickets:

The 2016 keynote line-up is filled with industry leaders prepared to share the secrets to Shopper Centricity, OmniChannel Success, Data Revolution and more…
·         Martin Lindstrom, Master Brand Builder & New York Times Best-Selling Author, Small Data, Buyology,
Brandwashed and BrandSense
·         Henry Mason, Author, Trend-Driven Innovation,
Managing Director, TrendWatching
·         Anders Fisker Olesen, Chief Marketing Officer,
System Frugt A/S
·         Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor of Management & Marketing, London Business School, Co-Author,
The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader
·         Nahal Yousefin, Director,
Culture & Engagement, Tesco
·         John Kearon, Chief Juicer,
·         Jenni Romaniuk, Professor, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia,
Author, How Brands Grow Part 2

Download the complete programme for the full speaker list and session descriptions:

Fuel your mind and prepare to win at retail this November.

Use exclusive Blog discount code OMNIINT16BL for £100 off. Buy tickets:

The OmniShopper Team


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day Three: OmniShopper threads - a day in reverse

- Aaron Keller and Kitty Hart, Capsule

The last day of a conference can be deserted and lonely, but that wasn't the case for OmniShopper this year. We can figure out who to attribute this to or just mark it up to the venue and content rich experience participants had already received. Whatever the case, it was well worth staying through to the last speaker of the day.

For the sake of turning this on its head, let's start from the last presentation and finish with the first. Crayola was the quiet finisher with relevance derived from the adult coloring phenomenon happening all around us. The research they have done was the kind of work we should all be proud to share. The findings were used to deliver a new merchandising approach and (if we can say so ourselves) a philosophy that goes beyond the all too common "stack it up and let it fly" approach to merchandising. If you missed this one, get the slide deck, you'll enjoy the nuggets.

Though, we'd like to warn you on one overlooked detail by many presenters throughout the three days. Most slide presentations were so poorly designed it was hard on the eyes of any average human being. By day two, we almost put out an offer on Twitter to redesign everyone's presentation before walking into these high impact speaking engagements. Respect the audience and design a presentation that's a pleasure to view, or just get up there and talk. The world would be a better place.

The Hanes brand was another presentation with great content hidden behind troubled design. We peeled away the crusty seal and looked closer to what C+R Research did with the Hanes team and the methods were intriguing, elegant and thorough. Studying the online buying behavior of women buying bras and panties is not the most common study and the team handled it with loving care. Their findings were used to make an impact on Hanes revenue and improved digital merchandising. We, of course, couldn't get past how many times we heard the word "panties" in a research presentation. Setting aside the cluttered presentation deck, the content was what we'd hope and expect at OmniShopper. 

Moving to the morning sessions we were treated to a dynamic author and voice for women in retail, Bridget Brennan. She facilitated a panel of ConAgra, PepsiCo and Unilever in a dynamic discussion on the relationship between retailers and manufacturer brands, the impact of digital and the efforts they are proud to share about their own research efforts. Having these three heads on the stage was a worthy gathering and the discussion was precisely facilitated by the Why She Buys author. 

On the topic of women as the economic engine of our future, Bridget delivered a fair number of stats many of us know, but she also delivered trends from her lens on the world. She mentioned the fact that the US childbirth rate is below 2.0. She posed a curious question in our minds. If this childbirth trend happens worldwide, what would be the result for the planet? 

Other nuggets like the Mini-Me phenomenon offered further evidence of the purchasing power women have in our economy. Now, if only we could get advertising (men) to notice women as an audience (specifically 50+ women). Oh yeah, that's right the most popular television show a couple years back was MadMen. I guess we've still got a long way to go. Keep up the hard work, Bridget. We look forward to your next book titled: "F*#kyou MadMen, we're MadWomen: Why madmen need to pay more attention to madwomen." Kidding. (But we give you our permission to use this title.) 

The first keynote this morning from Seth Shapiro was a bit all over the place and left us wondering when he would get to some good stuff. He did arrive there, just took him longer than a morning audience can usually handle. The good stuff was his augmented and virtual reality perspective, which certainly made some of us dream of an augmented reality where we could FFWD the first part of his presentation. 

We can't conclude our thoughts on OmniShopper without giving a nod to the talented couple from The Future Hunters. They did the opening act for a third and most challenging day of a conference with grace and style. They pulled audience participation out like it was water coming from a bunch of rocks sitting on slightly padded chairs. It is a thankless job as they never hear the applause for their work. Erica and Jared, the next time you hear an applause, that one was for you, no matter who was on stage. 

Here's the last thread we'd like to note, again and again. Design, from the larger version of the word (designing moments and conversations) to the smaller version of the word (designing better presentations) was heard many times. Let's keep that word woven into research conferences and when you get a chance to attend a design conference (FUSE) make sure research is woven into those conversations. 

Designing something means you more thoughtfully consider an audience and context, while looking to have them feel something from what you've designed. There are few things with more need for design than a shopper insights and research conference, so it was good to hear it come up so often. 

If you need more inspiration, check out our book, Physics of Brand. We look forward to hearing what you thought of the day, the conference and the conversations you had while attending.

Thanks to all those who stayed until the end. Remember...

Aaron Keller, Principal
I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader 
and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting 
idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it 
to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and 
numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, 
I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. 
Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior 
and design? Oh, it’s on.


Kitty Hart, Director
I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, 
colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy
and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall 
tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream 
is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise 
above business challenges through designed conversations.

Virtual Reality in Market Research Today

By: Gina Joseph, Communication Manager, InContext Solutions

The uses for virtual reality (VR) are growing in leaps and bounds, and market research is no exception. During their OmniShopper presentation, InContext Solutions’ Rich Scamehorn and Amy Hebard proved that VR has a place in research, today and tomorrow.

Right now, virtual 3D simulations through the computer are a tried and true way of conducting research. Respondents can stream the in-store simulations from their own computers and provide behavioral and attitudinal insights for retailers and manufacturers.

Yet virtual reality headsets, such as Google Cardboard, Gear VR and HTC Vive are beginning to make a splash in the research and marketing arenas. Only a small percentage of the population actually owns VR headsets, but companies can still start to think about ways to utilize the technology to glean in-store insights like never before. How?

Respondents might use a headset to “shop” a virtual store while at the same time being asked questions and giving their impressions. They would be able to pick up products using hand tracking, look at them in 360-degrees, and decide what they want to buy. This is similar to a typical shopalong IDI interview, but done in a completely virtual space, which means you could display items that don’t even exist yet, or products with new designs. It could also be used to create planograms or collaborate on planogram changes across offices.

Branded experiences were another way companies can measure and market new products or campaigns. Taking a VR gaming experience that involves your brand into a store environment could garner interest. Researchers can use that same VR technology to measure the impact of the VR branded campaign before it even launches. These types of campaigns could potentially create a deeper level of consumer engagement, one that will resonate beyond the experience and into sales.  
The challenge, Rich and Amy said, is to get over the skepticism and fear of VR, and just try it. The goal is to learn about VR through experience, and then create experiences that will help you engage with your shoppers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day Two: OmniShopper threads and nuggets...

- Aaron Keller and Kitty Hart, Capsule

Future Hunters warmed up the Tuesday (slightly hungover) crowd rather nicely. It isn't an easy task to deliver on the role of opening act, entertainer and experts in trend. The team of Erica and Jared did it again and certainly with a more cantankerous crowd than Monday as many cocktails were likely consumed just six hours earlier. Thank you for the caffeine for our brains to get us going.

The man, the Nobel prize winning author and the icon in behavioral economics was on the stage next. Daniel Kahneman, the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow sat for a discussion with Anthony Gell, author of The Book of Leadership. To start, let's all acknowledge Mr. Gell's exceptional job of interviewing such a brilliant mind without being tongue-tied. Now, to a hero of ours, Daniel gave us pages from his book but in his voice and while he didn't translate for shopper marketing it was worth every word. Just listening to how Daniel's mind works was insightful. If you need more on his models, the book is your best resource. It should be a required read for any research, finance or marketing department in any corporation. 

The next group on the stage was a panel of Sumaiya Balbale from, John R. Whitaker from Lowe's and Emily Shannon from Mall of America. Emily was a returning face to the big stage and she continued to deliver unique nuggets beyond her content from yesterday (also not easy). Sumaiya gave us a quantity of nuggets from the frugal next generation of shoppers who default to digital. John Whitaker balanced physical and digital with how relevant Lowe's is within Pinterest while still being a retailer with designed moments in a physical space. 

The subject was the future of retail, which is facing some tremendous challenges with Alibaba, Amazon and others moving so much of buying online. And, with some countries in the world going from open markets to digital markets and skipping "the mall" economic phase entirely. Based on what we heard, retail has a vibrant future when it is properly blended between physical and digital. For some of you this is confirming, but for others it may be helpful to know retail has been around, will be around and the ability to understand what happens in the moment when people and brands intersect will always be important. 

Our sleepy session, Kirk Olson from Horizon Media surprised the crowd with so many morsels of intriguing content it formed a moment of people asking for his presentation. While it didn't look interesting on face (printed) value, Kirk delivered a full meal deal (sorry, McDonalds) for this audience of curious minds. While we gathered some of the items in a Twitter feed under #OmniShopperEvent your best bet is downloading the pages of his presentation and carving it up yourself. It is well worth the space on your hard drive. 

Now, a bit on the conversations in-between. With some breaks, a lunch and other hallway conversations we discovered some of the larger threads of yarn from the morning. Here they are: 1. Cognitive Biases and how do we see beyond these to understand true human behavior; 2. The future of retail is bright and the design of moments is a big part of it; 3. The trends coming from wearables, getting back to authentic stories and vintage high-touch experiences. The morning had plenty of fuel for some empty brain tanks.

The afternoon slid a bit as the crowd may not have been into the conversations or perhaps we heard the term millennials just a few too many times. Whatever the case, the afternoon speakers had a larger uphill climb to get us back. Celeste Ireland spoke on telling stories with data and gave us a peak inside the culture of Maple Leaf Foods. From here we got a taste (actually no samples provided) of what Hershey is doing to break through some hard shell congestive biases in retail. While the lack of samples left this writer sorely disappointed, Kindle Partica delivered a concise and content rich speech with brain science, chocolate studies and a great case study with results. The lack of chocolate was overcome with great content. BTW, Welch's provided samples in their presentation. Just saying...

Last, the bonus from the day came from the number of times our favorite behavioral economist and Nobel winner mentioned the word design. Daniel Kahneman is a big fan of the design world and repeatedly spoke to the importance of design with purpose. We haven't met many economists and certainly few who talk about the importance of design. The birds sang and the words painted rainbows in our heads each time Daniel spoke (unprompted) on the subject of design. 

Hello world, we are a design firm and we're here to help, reach out when you would like to talk. We'd love to hear more challenging problems to solve. It's the stuff that keeps us energized. 

Now, let's get some rest (in the form of a cold glass -or five- of Pinot Grigio) and we will see you back here tomorrow for day three. 

Aaron Keller, Principal
I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader 
and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting 
idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it 
to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and 
numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, 
I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. 
Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior 
and design? Oh, it’s on.


Kitty Hart, Director
I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, 
colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy
and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall 
tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream 
is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise 
above business challenges through designed conversations.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Day One: OmniShopper threads from the sessions...

- Aaron Keller and Kitty Hart, Capsule

The Future Hunter's Erica Orange and Jared Weiner got us started with some opening remarks. The warm up was worthy and got us all pressing forward into a day of data, mobile, shopping experiences, authenticity and granule insights on human behaviors. 

Jessica from Saatchi & Saatchi X forced us into a conversation about emotion and the contrast with the big "asterisk" data conversation. She made a case for a complement with the rational data we use in the form of "gut" check and the importance of emotion. Jessica's story of CoverGirl was certainly a good example, putting emotion on a pallet and selling it in Walmart. Yes, emotion on a pallet. 

Our next discussion was led by Todd Henry, the author of Louder Than Words. His story of asking people to walk along a plank of wood on the floor vs a plank 100 ft in the air and how the risk / reward equation changes helped clarify the risks we ask people to take when taking on new opportunities. But, Todd's best story which came out of his more recent book, Die Empty, used a tree metaphor. The idea was presented by a DJ he met who talked about going out on a branch and Todd asking the snarky question, "what happens if you go too far out on the branch and it gives way?" The DJ had a brilliant response. The branch falls and starts to grow a new tree (fan base, participants and revenue are the tree). This is a natural metaphor for how innovation happens, by going far enough away from the tree trunk out on a branch. Nature is so beautiful. 

From here we digitally walked into one of the North America's largest shopping centers, the Mall of America. Emily Shannon walked us through all the trials and tribulations of managing the digital strategy for a gargantuan mall. She had some amazing points and insights, but the threads pulled into the next discussions included the text response team (which we tested and tweeted the results), her perspective on beacon technology, augmented reality and the power of digital media blended with physical spaces for a "phygital" experience. Her example of the "Twizzard" was a brilliant example of a snowstorm of tweets inside the Mall of America. A blizzard without frostbite, but plenty of digital content to enjoy, finally chocolate has some competition for our attention. 

The next sessions were breakouts and the conversations in between. The ConAgra Foods conversation was around wearables and food brands. With a mere big toe dip into the possible data coming from mobile, Thatcher Schulte had the crowd looking on with open mouths and wide eyes. The term "big data" needs a rebrand to "huge effin gargantuan data" once you add in mobile and human data from all the human / technology interaction data points. Could someone get on that rebrand? Soon. 

The Red Bull presentation with InfoScout was a waterfall dive into what Red Bull knows and (strangely enough) doesn't know about the crazy people who buy their drinks. It surprised us how much was unknown for such a dynamic brand like Red Bull. Yet, we shouldn't be, the shopper insights world needs to be scaled to match the number of unique places you can shop. Red Bull is certainly bought in a large variety of venues and consumed in an even larger contrast of spaces and places. The point seemed to be, even with all the resources Red Bull has, it is still a constant and deliberate hunt to find more knowledge on the human being consuming your brand. 

Now to the conversations in between. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of tweets, instagram photos and updates in social media on the conference. We were equally pleased by how much attention our book, The Physics of Brand, is getting with this analytical crowd. The world of research is just as hungry for new thinking and content as our typical design world.

We are looking for research partners interested in participating in client engagements with our team around this new articulation of brand-thought in the book. Please reach out if you'd like to discuss this in more detail. 

Aaron Keller, Principal
I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader 
and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting 
idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it 
to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and 
numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, 
I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. 
Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior 
and design? Oh, it’s on.


Kitty Hart, Director

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, 
colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy
and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall 
tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream 
is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise 
above business challenges through designed conversations.