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Brilliance@Work: Nick Graham Hears the Heartbeat Behind the Data at PepsiCo

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

Creating an effective customer story starts with empathy. Great storytelling evokes emotion, which causes your customers to take action. Help your organization build customer relationships that matter through empathy like they do at PepsiCo. Nick Graham is VP, Insights at PepsiCo. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nick Graham

Nick Graham

As a preview to his presentation, Nick shares his perspectives on “Hearing the Heartbeat Behind the Data: The Power of Empathy in a World of Big Data.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can leveraging empathy help shape an organization’s future success?

Nick Graham: In a world of big data, it’s important to remember that marketing is more than just a series of faceless transactions. There’s a real human heartbeat at the end of all those 1s and 0s, a person we can build a meaningful, lasting relationship with. And that’s where empathy comes into play. In building a deeper understanding of the people who buy our brands, we elevate our marketing beyond the generic and create products, programs and communications with the power to make people feel heard, moved and inspired. The time we invest in understanding their lives and what truly matters to them is time invested in building long-term customer value.

PB: What are some examples of how you leverage empathy at PepsiCo?

NG: At PepsiCo, consumer centricity (or should I say “people” centricity) is at the heart of everything we do. While we continue to invest in big data solutions, we’ve also made a conscious effort to invest in building empathy programs that help our teams really get to know the people who buy our brands.

This year, for example, we paired every single marketer in the North American Beverages marketing team with a consumer “pen pal.” Through a year-long program of video calls and online discussions, our marketers build a deeper relationship with their consumer pen pal and get to know them as an individual, not just numbers on a page.

We also get out and meet people on their own turf, experiencing the world the way they do. The Gatorade team, for example, routinely spends time with athletes and has discovered there’s a huge difference between hearing about the competitive spirit and witnessing it firsthand.

Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel, which we launched earlier this year, was inspired by the time we spent with the gaming community, watching them game and hearing them talk about what drives their performance. Everything from the ingredient benefits to the package design came from a deep empathy for this consumer. Above and beyond these specific initiatives, a focus on empathetic thinking encourages our teams to break out of their bubble, change their perspective and inspire more human story-based discussions.

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

NG: We believe that marketing has the power to move and inspire people at a deep, human level. Empathy helps our marketers break out of their blind spots, open their eyes to the human side of the consumer and flips the conversation from brand-led to people-led. Instead of starting with our brands and looking for ways to insert them into people’s lives, we start by understanding real people: their likes, dislikes, values, motivations, daily struggles, and everything else that makes them human. And that is the starting point for any great story, one that will truly connect with the listener.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?

NG: There’s no doubt that the future of marketing will be shaped by big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, but I hope people will find this a compelling reminder to find the human heartbeat in the data, the deeper why that can elevate our marketing and build consumer relationships that last a lifetime.

Want to hear more from Nick? 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: Lindsey Clawson Transforms Information into Insight at USP

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

Analyzing data is only part of conducting marketing research. Putting that data into context is what creates new knowledge and insights to support your organization’s success in the marketplace. Lindsey Clawson is Director of Knowledge Strategy at USP. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lindsey Clawson

Lindsey Clawson

As a preview to her presentation, Lindsey shares her perspectives on “Scanning the Horizon with Secondary Research.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How is USP’s Secondary Research team helping to shape the organization’s future success?

Lindsey Clawson: The Secondary Research team helps USP see trends in context. For example, we may be on top of the opioids crisis in terms of knowing the latest statistics and interventions, but what is the scale of that versus pollution-related illnesses? We need to be responsive to hot-button, pressing public health needs, without losing sight of the global landscape. The secondary research discipline maintains that awareness, surveying the global health environment and placing new findings in relation to others. This approach empowers informed, proactive decision making at USP.

PB: What role does USP’s Secondary Research team play in helping to measure brand performance?

LC: Brand performance is something many teams at USP investigate and support. The unique approach from secondary research is tracking down additional, sometimes surprising, outlets which offer unique insights. In the past we’ve looked at citations of USP’s work in academic literature as one measure of performance, search engine results and where USP ranks compared to other standards providers, mentions of USP in trade press, and even comments made by relevant stakeholders such as regulators, public health organizations, or aid organizations. At a high level this might play out in an overall balance of positive versus negative mentions, but also pinpoints recent changes in the context of long-term brand recognition and performance.

Follow-up secondary research then investigates what factors may have led to a performance surge or decline. By understanding USP’s history, its major milestones and interventions, we can piece together the context surrounding that performance in order to paint a complete picture and thus inform our leadership and staff.

PB: How does USP’s Secondary Research team help tell a compelling marketing story?

LC: We’ve found that time and again, evidence and quotes from those impacted make a story stick. The team works to find credible data as well as expert quotes from news outlets or their own works, and weaves those into the research reports. Our primary research teammates are great counterparts in this regard, as both thought partners and sources of original survey findings with qualitative and quantitative content. With both the primary and secondary teams, we can look at prior survey results and secondary materials and piece together new takeaways. Once we develop these insights, the secondary research group finds different ways to highlight compelling points. We’ve studied layout and design, and taken tips from our marketing group to use elements such as pull quotes or enlarged, high impact data points to drive a point home. For example, in past work we anchored a slide on the number of people prematurely killed by pollution each year (7 million globally).

The data also needs to be pulled into a story that connects a trend or problem to stories about people. Dry data and complex charts are great for backup Appendix documentation, but within the report we try a more narrative format. The team will use headers that advance the narrative, which is then fleshed out with slide text and charts. Together these elements present the secondary sources in a way which leads to a novel insight. We take the reader along on this path of discovery.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?
LC: They will learn about what a strong, nimble secondary research team can accomplish. I’ll be sharing approaches we take, from methodologies to collaboration and internal consulting, to how we overcome common challenges in the B2B space where information is not as consistent or comprehensive as in B2C. Attendees will learn about the approaches and takeaways which resonate best with different audiences – C-suite executives down to front line staff –with a sharp eye to the end benefit of such work when it resonates with those stakeholders.

There will also be a discussion about what the way forward may be, integrating different resources such as contract or temp-to-hire and globally dispersed researchers, refining our skills and reflecting on opportunities to improve, and utilizing new digital capabilities to amplify the impact of our work within the organization such as through Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice.

Want to hear more from Lindsey? 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: Laura Eddy Shares Her Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology

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

Creating an effective customer story starts with empathy. Help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers, like they do at Zillow.

Laura Eddy is Senior Director, Consumer & Customer Insights at Zillow. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laura Eddy

Laura Eddy

As a preview to her presentation, Laura shares her perspectives on “My Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in consumer insights shape your character and career?

Laura Eddy: Working in Consumer Insights over time makes you empathetic to the people around you. You begin to really internalize that everyone has a unique story and it is likely not just the story that they may present on the surface. That leads to listening more closely to what people tell you, and almost more importantly, what they don’t say.

I like to think this skill set has been applied to my job and career in a way where I can hear the deeper questions and needs that leaders have when facing critical decisions to drive business forward, even if they can’t always fully articulate them. This leads to stronger solutions that address the underlying issues and can significantly change the strategic direction of the organization.

PB: What role does technology play in the performance of a brand?

LE: Technology works on many different levels. First, we use technology to gain insight. It should be no secret that new technology is enabling us to understand our customers in new and interesting ways. For example, we listen to social chatter to learn about topics that we did not think to ask consumers about, and we leverage new tools like AI to determine consumer needs and wants without having to constantly ask. Second, we use technology to better access our customer and every bit as importantly, let them access and interact with us. We need to be where the customer is and as they get deeper into new technologies, we need to be there to deliver the very best context appropriate content. Third, we use technology to create better communication. New technology is allowing our marketing teams to create new and stimulating communication with improved media devices, enhanced graphics, and new voice technology.

Finally, we use technology to build better products and services to meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.

Zillow was built on the idea of data transparency and giving people the power of that data to make decisions for themselves in the real estate space. Keep in mind, as recently as 15 years ago, if you wanted to know what your house was worth, you were dependent on a real estate agent or your city’s tax department telling you that information. With technology, people now have that kind of information easily accessible. We continue to push the envelope in helping people stay informed.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

LE: There have been a few projects over several employers that I have been very proud of:

In 2010, Walmart became one of the first major companies to leverage Facebook to make social and local connections with customers – while there is a lot of value to this from a brand building perspective, the question came up of whether this drove actual business revenue. My team developed one of the first analyses for determining the value of a Facebook fan, even before Facebook themselves did this kind of analysis. I remember presenting that work to Sheryl Sandberg in a converted warehouse office at Walmart. Once Facebook developed their protocols, we went back and checked the results – it turns out we were off on our estimates by less than 10% of actuals, which felt pretty awesome.

At Amazon, one of the really cool insights we produced was around the idea that Alexa was seen by customers as a beloved member of the family (in fact, at the time, one of the top questions asked was “Alexa, will you marry me?”), which drove a step-change in how Amazon marketed some devices. Rather than focus on the hardware or on the device and ancillary features directly, the Marketing team pivoted its attention to Alexa and the AI. This idea helped create the idea of a device ecosystem all connected via customer-favorite Alexa for Amazon to interact with consumers.

Zillow, though, has been the place where I think I have had the greatest impact on the brand and business. We have delivered foundational work that showed just how painful the home selling process is for consumers, which led to the creation of a new business called Zillow Offers – this business now accounts for over 40% of Zillow’s revenue and is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of our new projects include envisioning the future landscape of the real estate marketplace – we are combining a series of methodologies like customer journey mapping, futuring and war gaming to construct an ideal customer experience. We are incredibly fortunate that hunger and willingness to embrace the needs and wants of the customer are the guiding principle at Zillow.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?

LE: Insight, of course! Great insight is often generated by real emotion, and making a major career change from one industry that you are familiar/comfortable with, to an industry that is new, different and constantly changing can create many meaningful emotions. We want to shine a light on the process of transitioning from one industry to another, and share what you might expect and how to prepare for it.

We want to try and answer the questions that might be keeping you up at night about making this kind of move – the risks, the reward, the effort. It is no secret, companies are not as loyal to their employees as they once were, you must be prepared for an ever changing future.

If you have been wondering if you should make this type of move and just want to learn more, please join us.

Want to hear more from Laura? 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: Jordan Girman Creates Experience with Context

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

Looking at user experience from a holistic viewpoint is critical to help grow your organization and change the way you innovate for your customers. Once you understand your customers, you can design experiences they will strongly identify with.

jordan-girman

Jordan Girman

Jordan Girman is Senior Director, User Experience Research at Glassdoor. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Jordan shares his perspectives on “Designing Connected Experience with the Context of the User in Mind.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in UX design shape your character and career?

Jordan Girman: When I started my career, there wasn’t really a field called UX. There were the beginnings of it, but most people were termed as information architects and the field was still getting defined. I think that what really drew me to it was that I could be a part of that definition, and I liked the “wild west” feel of developing process and seeing what worked and what didn’t. So, the first thing that UX taught me was to say “I can do that,” and then realizing I could actually figure out how to do it. It felt empowering and made me feel valuable.

The second thing I learned was how to separate myself from my work. When I first started to design, I would look at how I did something, then apply that to my design. Very much “I like the color blue, so everyone else must like this color too.” Changing my approach from “I think it should be this” to “What would the user do in this situation” radically changed not just how I design, but how I approach leadership and problem solving. Research and understanding context or the problem and people I work with are all major parts of why I have been successful.

Additionally, as I advanced in my career, I really learned how to step back from the item that I was working on and then view the project from a holistic perspective. Being able to see how what I am working on extends to a larger world, being able to zero in on small interaction and zoom out to a larger view of the experience translated into strategy and vision work.

PB: What role does UX play in the performance of a brand?

JG: Really any touchpoint plays into the user experience for someone interacting with your product. What that means is that someone who sees a YouTube video, listens to a radio advertisement, talks to a CSM or has an interaction with your website plays into that person’s perception of the company. Too often companies ship their org chart and think their users perceive their product the same way as the company does internally. But to a user, they are not interacting with ‘the mobile channel’ or ‘the brick and mortar,’ they are just interacting with the company, and it’s one thing to them.

Because of this, UX is tied to the brand, and the brand is tied to the UX. If the advertisements and overall design of the marketing assets are vastly different from the product design, then experience of transition from buying to using suffers. Same goes true if the user experience is poor on the product, then the perception of the brand suffers.

At Glassdoor, we are working on ways that brand design and product design collaborate to make a seamless experience throughout every touchpoint for the job seeker and employer. It’s not easy, but we will get there.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

JG: In my early days, I was a big part of redesigning the Mercedes-Benz USA site (MBUSA.com) for an agency called Critical Mass. From there, I was part of starting a UX agency working with a variety of clients. Eventually, I transitioned to product design working on large scale video games for Electronic Arts. There I did redesigns for NHL and the first iteration of UFC, and eventually building design systems for the overall EA online marketing experience. Currently at Glassdoor, we are looking at how to radically change how people search for jobs in the future.

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

JG: I hope to see people change their perspective of how their users interact with the internet and they can take the learning and apply it to their product. As we transition to mobile devices, user experience has so many more influences outside of the screen and every company needs to start thinking about how to accommodate those outside influences.

Want to hear more from Jordan? 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: Antony Barton Helps Bring Intel’s Technology to Life

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

Bringing technology to life includes having the creativity and imagination of an artist. It also requires having the insights and analytics to ensure sustainable success in the marketplace.

Jen Mahoney Photography

Antony Barton

Antony Barton is Director, Global Insights and Analytics at Intel. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Antony shares his perspectives on “Leveraging Insights to Drive Intel’s Future Vision of the Laptop.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How is Intel’s Insights & Analytics team helping to shape the organization’s future success?

Antony Barton: Our insights function is focused on driving insights into product development (e.g. 12 to 36 months) and marketing strategy (e.g. 0 to 18 months). This includes helping our business unit (focused on the development of next generation PCs) to bring forth the best products as possible; and support our marketing strategy team to develop effective marketing campaigns that communicate the benefits of Intel’s new technologies. We deploy a number of different types of insights methodologies to drive our insights into decision making including ethnographic studies, more traditional qualitative techniques, quantitative approaches including feature prioritization and optimization, pricing studies, audience segmentation, and message testing.

PB: What role does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team play in helping to measure brand performance?

AB: Measuring the health of the Intel brand among our target audiences (both B2B and consumer) is a key part of our insights function. From time to time, we also deploy more in-depth methods to better understand what our brand means and stands for; including looking by different age groups. This is important as perceptions of technology brands are constantly changing as new products and services arise.

PB: How does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team help tell a compelling marketing story?

AB: Helping our marketing colleagues bring our technology to life in an easy to understand and compelling fashion that encourages our target audience to buy a new PC is a super important part of our job. We are also often working with our eco-system partners to ensure we are coordinated in our approach (e.g. Microsoft and Dell and HP), including sharing insights.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?
AB: Today the ability to impact significant decision-making with insights is often dependent on how you can best bring together multiple streams of insights into a coherent story that executives can quickly understand and take action on. My talk will center on what I believe are best practices as its relates to leveraging multiple research methodologies (e.g. deep ethnographic, synthesizing secondary research, and traditional qualitative and quantitative) and the resulting insights that significantly impacted Intel’s most important mobile computing innovation decision in the past 10 years.

Want to hear more from Antony? 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: 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: 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: 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.