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Brilliance@Work: Jen Handley Shares How to Harness the Power of Fandom

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

Jen Handley

Jen Handley

How does your brand make people feel? Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and sustaining that level of success requires a healthy “fan base.”

Jen Handley leads technology and innovation initiatives at Fizziology. 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 Fandom,” Jen shares her insights on the importance of activating your fans for business success.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can leveraging brand advocates or “fans” help shape an organization’s future success?

Jen Handley: Your fans are those who know and love your brand the most. They’ll voice their opinions, hopes and wishes, and they’ll also be the most critical of you. Brands who actively listen to their fans, understand who they are and what they want, can shape their products and market for future success.

PB: What are some examples of how you leverage brand advocacy for your various clients?

JH: MarketCast Group’s companies take a unique approach to understanding brands’ fandoms. For example, at Fizziology, we assign “evangelist” ratings to the fans who talk about a brand in social media. This allows us to consider fans on a spectrum of those who casually engage and those who strongly advocate for the brand. We then dive deep into their behaviors, their needs, values, personality traits, and what’s driving that advocacy.

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

JH:  Consumers connect most with brands that are authentic. Our research has shown that brands need to deliver on three key areas to satisfy fans: innovation in product and marketing, providing ways for the consumer to enhance their identity and relevance through being at the forefront of culture. Brands can prove authenticity in each of these key areas by showing that they’re listening to their fans and to the greater trends happening in the world.

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

JH:  Attendees will walk away with an understanding of what constitutes a true “fan” versus a consumer. We’ll use real-life examples from the worlds of Media & Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands to show how fandom can vary from brand to brand, what our best fans do for the brands they love, what drives fandom, and ideas for activating their own fan-base.

Want to hear more from Jen? 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: 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.


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Brilliance@Work: Retail Design Expert Maria Gustafson

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Maria Gustafson

FUSE 2017 presenter Maria Gustafson is Senior Vice President of Global Creative at Kiehl’s, where she leads the creative vision of one of the world’s leading skin care companies.

Her expansive creative career bridging fashion, beauty and lifestyle began with Peter Arnell, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, and Lloyd & Co, where she created campaigns for Burberry Blue Label, The Standard Hotels, Club Monaco, Cole Haan, Gucci, and Samsung.

Maria also developed creative at MAC Cosmetics, Gap, and the L’Oreal luxury brands Giorgio Armani and Shu Uemera.

As a preview to her presentation, Maria shares her insights on how good retail design can increase brand engagement:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Maria Gustafson:
I was that lucky kid who was raised by two super creative, imaginative parents who nurtured my artistic curiosities. Every weekend my parents, brother and I were building something together, whether it was a tree house, a skateboard or a piece of furniture. And then we’d sleep in the tree house or ride the skateboard. My dad and I even started a business repairing vintage wicker furniture. He was building the skeletons, and I was building the architecture around them. That business eventually paid my way through college.

Design is a way to communicate, tell stories, build an audience, and evoke a feeling about what it is to be human. It’s a spirit, an essence of who you are; it shouldn’t feel like work. For me, it started as a connection, developed into an expression, and then became a passion that gives me a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification. It’s even grown into a bit of an obsession – always an extension of everything I do.

PB: What role does retail design play in the performance of a brand?
MG:
Good retail design creates a theater for your brand’s DNA – a place where customers can discover your brand story and have a positive, memorable experience that makes them want to stay. In that sense, it functions as a salesperson; even if the staff is busy, the shop itself has the ability to engage customers and sell. You experience this when you’re in a space that’s done really well. You just get it, you escape into the brand’s story, and you want more.

PB: What are some of your most notable design projects?
MG:
To this day, my favorite projects are still the ones I create with my parents. But professionally, I’m very proud of the projects Kiehl’s does that give back to our community. We create partnerships with high-end artists such as Jeff Koons, Kenny Scharf, Kaws, Faile, and Norman Rockwell’s Foundation. They design packaging, patterns and objects that are true to their styles and also complement our Kiehl’s DNA. These unique items fly off the shelves, and they generate money and awareness for the charities that Kiehl’s support.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
MG:
An interesting, purposeful discussion of how to create engagement through the retail experience and some great visuals. You might even be able to touch a texture or two.

Want to hear more from Maria? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Storytelling Juggernaut Stanley Hainsworth

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Stanley Hainsworth

FUSE 2017 presenter Stanley Hainsworth is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tether, a storytelling juggernaut creating branding, design and advertising for a diverse range of clients such as Google, BMW Motorrad, Pepsi, Microsoft, Amazon, Gatorade and many others. He has written books on branding, is an educator, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a sought after speaker on branding and design worldwide.

As a preview to his presentation, Stanley shares his insights on how design is the face of the brand:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in branding shape your character and career?
Stanley Hainsworth:
It was kind of the other way around. I was an actor before I fell into the world of design. I was a trained storyteller. I assumed different roles, always observing others and situations.

When I started my first job in design at Nike, I approached it in a very storytelling-centric way. And, of course, Nike had great stories to tell. When I started a project, I researched like it was a role I was going to play. I came up with the story, the backstory, the situations, the audience, all that was needed to bring a story to life, and most importantly, to make someone care about it.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
SH:
Design is the face of a brand. It is many times the first thing that a consumer sees – the way a brand looks and speaks. Brands are born from the inside out and the outside in. Design strategy plays a role in the inside out and design meets it from the outside in. A well-designed product, brand or experience makes the person interacting with it feel uplifted and betters that moment in their day.

PB: How can you transform a brand into the role of a consumer’s “friend”?
SH:
When you think of a brand that you use regularly in your life – your beverage of choice, your shoes, clothes, car, phone, etc. – these are brands that you initially experimented with, and you liked the experience, so you eventually made those brands part of your life. You might spend as much or more time with those brands then you do your human friends. So, if the definition of a ‘friend’ is someone or something you choose to hang around with, then yes, those brand friends are part of your life.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
SH:
The design projects that give me the most long-term satisfaction are those brand projects that have a resulting product or experience that I see being incorporated into someone’s life. When I see someone walking down the street drinking a beverage that we’ve designed, or eating something we’ve designed, that makes me smile as I remember all the time and effort that went into that end result, from strategy to concepts to design to production.

Awake is a fun one. This is a brand we were able to create from scratch and come up with the positioning, design the product, the packaging, the social media program, the website, the advertising, the events and the retail elements.

Also, another one is Tatcha. This prestige beauty brand is something that we named, created, and designed all of the products and experiences that people have when they use the products in their homes. And to be able to read and view the responses from the brand fans as they experience and use the products is very heartening.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
SH:
They will have fun seeing that brands are kind of like people, and people are kind of like brands. We all try on different exteriors and personalities to find what works for us. And sometimes we need to morph them as we and brands change.

Want to hear more from Stanley? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Blue Sky Innovator John Silva

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

John Silva

FUSE 2017 Co-Chair John Silva is President and Senior Creative Director at design innovation agency DuPuis Group, where he leads national campaigns for Hormel, Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay, Dole and WD-40.

John has been in design for 25 years. As an author, artist and diplomat, John brings design thinking to organizations as a culture shift toward more vibrant problem solving.

As a preview to his presentation, John shares his insights on how design thinking inspires new and meaningful propositions:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
John Silva:
For me it came in a different order. I think the character I was born with is what compelled me to design, which then manifested as a profitable lifestyle (aka “career”). I’ve always been vastly optimistic and curious about how everything works and was that kid with “Yeah, but WHY?” Then that became, “Well, how about THIS?” But once I found that creativity and resourcefulness could make things in our world more beautiful, exciting and useful, I knew what I was going to do with my life.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
JS:
Small d “design” is fundamental to how a brand looks, smells, feels and is the trigger and incentive for engagement. Big D “Design” is underneath and inside how a brand inspires, moves, relates and evolves. It is this higher purpose of design that forms strategies that win over time and triggers activation that provokes and disrupts.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
JS:
Both of these terms have been beat to death, so I’ll rephrase as, “How can emotional intelligence spur new, meaningful propositions?” That new question answers itself.

Emotional intelligence forces non-linear, human qualities like empathy, desire and optimism into how we problem solve and build stuff. Innovation on the other hand is often dumbed and numbed too often to be only iterative change.

Meaning is what fuels the type of innovation that your original question is poking at. It’s a deeper vibration than simply “new” as it alters the relationship between people and products.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
JS:
I’ve been fortunate and privileged to work on great, global brands, but the noteworthy programs (aka “meaningful”) are not always the most visible.

Working with PepsiCo, for instance, has allowed us to contribute on many brands with high-expression, yet a very notable initiative involved designing solutions that are behind the obvious. In this case we pulled together environmental scientists, logistics and supply chain experts to assess and rethink how PepsiCo could approach the PET plastic life cycle in more sustainable, less costly and even consumer-excitable ways. Recycling was the baseline, and we blew up the entire model from there to create new, non-waste streams and behaviors that not only could solve the problem but create fresh, inspiring drivers for their business.

Another example is our strategy and design work on a wearable technology for women by Cyrcadia Health that can detect pre-cancerous cellular activity as advance warning of breast cancer. Very human and very inspiring in purpose.

PB: What is the best part of being the Co-Chair of FUSE 2017?
JS:
It’s a privilege that gives me the chance to elevate the dialog around design as a driver of not only business, but more inspired living. I appreciate the opportunity to share what I can and meet others who have the same fire for fresh thinking and growth mindedness. FUSE to me is like opening day of Design Season.

Want to hear more from John? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Global Brand Marketing Leader Larry Logan

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Larry Logan

Larry Logan

FUSE 2017 presenter Larry Logan has more than 30 years of success in developing brands that become the industry leaders in their respective markets. Among them were Larry’s roles at Immersive Media (the developer of Google Street View), Healtheon/WebMD, Verde Media, and Playboy’s Entertainment Group.

Currently, Larry is Chief Marketing Officer at Digimarc Corporation. He is the recipient of more than 100 Gold- and Platinum-certified records in entertainment marketing campaigns. The World Brand Congress also recently named him among the 100 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders.

As a preview to his presentation, Larry shares his insights on the symbiosis between branding and design:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in marketing shape your character and career?
Larry Logan:
I was with PLAYBOY magazine and the company’s Entertainment Group for 17 years in various creative and marketing roles. Playboy is obviously a globally-recognized entertainment brand, and from my time there, I became acutely aware of the symbiosis between branding and design.

At the end of the day, Playboy isn’t selling a magazine, of course, but an entire lifestyle centered on a certain attitude toward life, a way of moving through the world—and the branding of everything at the Playboy Entertainment Group was very consciously cultivated in service of that brand impact.

PB: What role does marketing play in the performance of a brand?
LL:
Marketing is the driver with respect to articulating the attributes of the brand and providing the necessary vision and support tools to help fellow employees support that vision. These attributes must be authentic and consistent and also resonate with the ecosystem of customers, partners, vendors, the media and financial markets.

Marketing also serves as the ‘brand cop,’ with its antenna up, searching for any deviances from the attributes of the brand or lack of compliance by others in the organization, as well as with partners and vendors in the ecosystem.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
LL:
It’s been well recognized for some time now that design itself is a competitive edge, and not just with an attractive logo or pretty collateral. And, more recently, this has been seen in relation to the concept of Consumer Experience (CX) at every touchpoint.

There is little doubt designers play a critical role as thinkers and innovators, for (hopefully) they ‘live’ among the people who consume the products they work on, and it matters little whether we’re talking about a B2C or B2B marketing context because knowing the consumer is essential. Designers are also natural innovators because they have specialized skills and talents in abstract thinking, which is a key element of innovation.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
LL:
My career has been extraordinarily eclectic, ranging from VP Creative Director at Playboy to working on breakthrough agricultural technologies. One project that comes immediately to mind was at Healtheon/WebMD, where I was the VP of Marketing and Communications. We went from the #14 most visited healthcare site to #1 in less than a year. We did this by focusing on the highest level and quality of content, served up in a way that addressed the anxieties and concerns of our site visitors, and their desire for the same data their doctors might access.

I often reflect back on my ‘experiences,’ and there are some great memories, such as producing the first-ever live Internet video broadcast from Mt. Everest for the Everest Environmental Expedition. Similarly, I produced the first live 360-degree video stream from the 2010 Olympics and documented the International Space Station and Space Shuttle mock-ups in 360-degree video for astronaut training.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
LL:
Packaging and packaging designers are under pressure as never before. There’s contraction among companies, a race to cut costs, and timelines are not getting any easier. But a looming threat is today’s consumers, who expect and demand information and content right at their fingertips. Unlike any previous generation, this one cares deeply about the food they eat and the products they buy.

Yet, packaging real estate is exhausted; there is no longer any room left on the package to convey detailed information. The only viable means of content delivery, either in the store or later at home, is through The Connected Package.

We’ll explore the different types of connected packaging and how brands and designers can choose the right one for their product. And, we’ll look at how this new form of modern packaging can deliver benefits to the entire enterprise, such as streamlining the supply chain and reducing waste.

Today’s packaging is not complete without a real-time link to digital content, and this is an opportunity for designers to be heroes and deliver exciting new capabilities to the brand.

Want to hear more from Larry? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.