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Brilliance@Work: Rachel Lorraine Shares Pizza Hut’s Customer Success Strategy

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Rachel Lorraine

Rachel Lorraine

Satisfied customers are the heart of your business. Keeping them satisfied keeps them loyal customers. Pizza Hut capitalizes on this strategy through the right digital strategy, pricing and market research.

Rachel Lorraine is Director of Strategic Pricing at Pizza Hut. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to her presentation, “Pizza Hut’s Secret Sauce – a Virtual Test and Learn Platform,” Rachel shares her insights on the importance of getting your digital strategy, pricing and UX testing right.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How does the right digital strategy help shape an organization’s future success?

Rachel Lorraine: For Pizza Hut, our digital strategy is critical. We live in a world where more than half of our transactions take place online – and that number is steadily growing – and even more consumers are using our website as a menu, virtual coupon drawer, etc. As our biggest storefront, the website carries a big responsibility – it must capture consumers’ attention, be easy to navigate and shop, ensure transparency throughout the process, communicate key brand messages… the list goes on and on.  For all these reasons, getting it right is paramount to our success.

PB: What role does pricing play in helping to enhance brand performance?

RL: Pricing is a mechanism that is essential to helping us achieve both short and long-term success. We want to make sure that we’re pricing items appropriately, based on what consumers are willing to pay and what the market will support. However, we must also always ensure that we’re delivering profitable transaction growth. It often feels like a tightrope, but when we get the balance right, the impact is significant.

PB: How does the “test and learn” platform data help tell a compelling marketing story?

RL: For us, it has been a great tool for helping us to prioritize strategies and workflow based on anticipated consumer behavior. We have a robust UX testing program, but often times this is solely focused on the online experience – what consumers see and think – as opposed to what they actually do in response to changes. A virtual test and learn platform has helped us take our analysis one step further, so that we’re making holistic decisions with an eye towards how it will affect the bottom line.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

RL:  Hearing about a new research methodology is always interesting, but I personally love to see actual use cases to better understand and visualize how I might apply something. My hope is that the presentation will bring to life a unique research approach in a meaningful way. It also has some fun information on Pizza Hut overall and how we’re thinking about our business moving forward.

Want to hear more from Rachel? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.

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Brilliance@Work: Emily Higgins and Amy Shea Create Brand Memories

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Emily HIggins

Emily Higgins

Memories are the key to who we are. Marketers, like Emily Higgins, VP Client Services and Amy Shea, Director of Brand Experience at Ameritest, use the latest research on the brain to help create experiences that evoke positive memories of their brands.

Amy Shea

Amy Shea

They are also presenters at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to their presentation, Emily and Amy shared insights on how memory and emotion create stronger brand connections.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What is the science behind the brain’s three major memory systems?

Emily Higgins and Amy Shea: As scientists focus on the study of memory in relation to work on devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, we are learning more every day about the link between our memories and our self-identity, present-day choices and thus our future.

Scientists have known for some time that memory is three-dimensional. Academics call the three types of memory semantic, episodic and procedural memory; advertisers long ago have translated this into a communications philosophy, calling these three dimensions think, feel and do.

At Ameritest, as we collaborate with our clients on branded communications designed to solve business challenges, we use Head, Heart and Hand—a much better model to diagnose the visual and verbal narratives brands use to create branded memories. The most successful brands create memories across all three systems. And these memories drive choices at decision time.

PB: How does this relate to emotion?

EH and AS: Episodic memories, or what we call heart memories, are our social memories. They are the autobiographical memories that create your sense of self—including the brands your ‘self’ has chosen. A brand story that emotionally engages you forges a heart memory link.  This connection can be quite strong, as emotion drives behavior more powerfully than does logic. We will be talking about how emotion drives behavior specifically in the Casual Dining Category in our presentation, “Are Consumers Eating Their Feelings?”

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

EH and AS: We will share a case study of our own research—so, no data is blinded or embargoed in any way—to demonstrate three core aspects of creating brand memories: how the head searches for and embraces attribute, benefit and value equations that deliver their ideal experience; how the heart seeks the emotional satisfactions of their brand choice; and how the hand part of memory wants to see that rehearsed in a visual storytelling that is powerful and category-relevant. This is the work we do on a daily basis, focusing on the importance of creating brand memories and the role of a visual language in creating those memories that drive choice.

Want to hear more from Emily and Amy? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Lean Innovator Terrae Schroeder

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Terrae Schroeder

Terrae Schroeder

Terrae Schroeder is the Director of Insights & Innovation in the snacks division at Kellogg’s. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to her presentation, “Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurial Approaches to Innovate and Grow Faster at Kellogg’s,” Terrae shared insights on the business value of a Lean Innovation approach.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can a Lean Innovation approach help shape an organization’s future success?

Terrae Schroeder: Whatever you put energy into, grows. The Lean Innovation approach allows the organization to focus and concentrate resources; people, processes, ideas on one challenge at hand. There is a lot to be gained by having this much organization focus on one tough challenge. It produces holistic thinking, brings in external and fresh ideas, and creates solutions that may not been uncovered without the intense focus.

PB: What elements of a Lean Innovation approach were leveraged to help transform the culture at Kellogg’s?

TS: We will talk about 3 key approaches we leveraged in the presentation; having a growth mindset, the need for hustle, and taking a 360-degree approach to innovation. While this was an exercise (the Boot Camp), we’ve adopted many of these approaches in our day-to-day, therefore shifting the culture a bit more entrepreneurial. A few changes we’ve implemented since the boot camp are: including packaging design much earlier in the process, building in retailer considerations, leveraging a consumer-centric lens for innovation and focusing more effort, time and resource on “big bets.”

PB: How does this approach help tell a compelling marketing story?

TS: The maniacal consumer focus enables us to win big with consumers and the external/retailer focus allows us to execute with excellence and enables best in class partnership with our key retailers. Finding a “win/win/win” with consumers, shoppers and retailers results in big innovations. I think execution has to be 50-75% of an innovation’s success, and these are typically “end of the line” type of tasks in a traditional linear innovation model. Having more of a hub-and-spoke innovation model ensures greater executional excellence leading to greater innovation success.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

TS: For companies looking for a different way to get to bigger and better innovation, this will lay out some key principles for success in implementing a new process and unlocking greater benefit from your organization’s resources. The market is moving very fast and we need to adjust to be quicker and more agile as well. You’ll learn how to leave your “we can’t” at the door!

Want to hear more from Terrae? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Corporate Research Leader Reed Cundiff

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts. 

Reed Cundiff 2016

Reed Cundiff

Knowing your customer is essential for your organization’s success. One corporate research team in particular is helping Microsoft “accelerate into the future” by providing enormous business value through their research and insights.

Reed Cundiff is the General Manager of Microsoft’s Customer and Market Research Team.  He’s also a participant in the panel discussion, “The Corporate Research Department – Accelerating into the Future,” at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to the panel discussion, Reed shared insights on the business value of corporate research teams.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can the corporate research department help shape their organization’s future success?

Reed Cundiff: I think the answer to this question is simple to say, and very challenging to do.  With the data and analytic tools at our disposal, corporate research departments can insert actionable insights at every stage of product development and customer engagement. That includes timely analysis of future market opportunities, clear-eyed views into customers’ wants and needs, detailed value assessments of product concepts, and insightful opportunities to position ourselves relative to competition.

Executing quality research in these areas is 15% of the work. The challenge comes in moving from data to insight, and from insight to action. Having the right blend of talent across research suppliers, corporate research talent and engaged stakeholders is what determines how we move from latent opportunity to truly driving business impact.

Our opportunity to drive the success of the larger organization has also been very consistent over the last few decades. The good news is that the thirst and pull from senior executives has reached a fever pitch in recent years. More than ever, leveraging research and market data for competitive advantage is the primary way senior leaders are looking to drive growth and business success.

PB: What role does the corporate research department play in helping to measure brand performance?

RC: It plays a huge role! To be clear, financial, social and behavioral data are interesting, valuable data types that we have spent a lot of time ingesting, understanding, and harmonizing with our more traditional data types. But even while alternative data types like social or telemetry have grabbed mindshare lately (as they should!), market research is a unique, valuable, enduring discipline. Market research is especially good at providing insight into why people do what they do, and building understanding of what they intend to do next. When we want to understand current brand performance and more importantly predicting future brand performance, market research conducted by our corporate team is the foundation for measuring brand performance.

PB: How does the corporate research department help tell a compelling marketing story?

RC: If there aren’t already 10 books on the topic, there should be! I would just note two of the main ways we try to support our internal marketing partners as they engage with our customers and partners. Foundationally, it’s important that we speak the same language as our customers.  Especially in a jargon-filled market like the Tech sector, it’s easy to either talk past your customers or lose your audience completely. We leverage qualitative research and social analytics to help our marketers understand how we can communicate to customers in ways they can understand and take action.

Second, we want to make sure that the messages we do put out in the market will come across as interesting, genuine and believable. We spend a lot of time with our marketers making sure that we test and optimize the nature and volume of communications we put out to customers and partners. With a diverse product set and fast product cycle, making sure we have high-quality messages in the right volume is critical.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

RC: I’m part of the panel discussion on ‘The Corporate Research Department – Accelerating into the Future,’ and I’m excited to attend this one! I think the audience (me included!) will get a chance to hear from leaders of some of the most innovative, industry-moving corporate research teams on the planet.

I’m looking at it as a great learning experience to see how insights leaders from Merck, Marriott, Prudential and Microsoft are grappling with topics like digital transformation, industry disruption, necessary skills for the future, and driving impact with senior leaders.

To me, this insight into the minds of senior corporate research leaders is helpful for corporate researchers looking to bring ideas and case studies back to their teams, and for folks on the supplier side to better understand the strategic agenda for some of their larger clients.

Want to hear more from Reed? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.