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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: 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: Interactive Creativity Expert Gillian Ferrabee

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

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.”

gillian-ferrabee

Gillian Ferrabee

During FUSE 2017, renowned performance artist Gillian Ferrabee will lead an experiential workshop that introduces creative interactivity and shows why understanding how people play is essential to creating customer engagement and loyalty.

For over 20 years, Gillian has been a performer, creative leader and coach for artists and entrepreneurs. Most recently, Gillian was the Director of the Creative Lab for Cirque du Soleil Media, where she created original content for the international film, TV and new media markets, in collaboration with various partners such as Netflix, Google Chrome, Fox Studios and Samsung.

As a preview to her presentation, Gillian shares her insights on the value of play:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in dance and acting shape your character and career?
Gillian Ferrabee: Through dance I learned how powerful body-to-body communication is. Over 70% of what we understand in communication is visual, and our bodies are a big part of that. Dance is also a career that requires a very high level of commitment initially, and of re-commitment over and over. I learned a lot about the power of commitment and built inner resilience. Through acting I learned about the subtle interplay between audience and performer, and the flow of attention that occurs during a live performance.

PB: What are the main thoughts around the science of creative interactivity?
GF:
Creative interactivity is about agency, play and rhythm. Agency is the amount of recognition and impact given to each party in an interaction. Play describes a state of being, rather than an activity. It is the most natural way to learn, to invent and to socialize. Rhythm refers to the movement of attention between the parties interacting – how fast is it? How even is it? Is anyone leading? Following? How much room is there for improvisation?

PB: How is gamification essential to creating customer engagement and loyalty?
GF:
Gamification is about play and fun – two things that most people value highly even if they aren’t completely aware of it. We are wired for play and fun, and come back to it over and over. We also identify with our ‘tribe’ through our play styles.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of gamification as it relates to brand strategy?
GF:
I am by no means a brand strategist; that being said, what I see is that when a brand can ‘let go of the reins’ and invite their customers/clients/target audience more room to play within the conversation, that is a winning relationship. Listen and toss back (reply), then listen and innovate and toss back (reply).

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference workshop?
GF:
People will learn about the science of play, creativity and our brains. They will learn the eight key play styles and how to engage people from each of them. And they will play themselves and together with others, which it turns out is the best way to learn.

Want to hear more from Gillian? 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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Creating an Effective Customer Story Starts with Empathy

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Photo by paul bica

I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) last week! I met some great people and learned more about creating an effective customer story.

Here are some key nuggets of information to help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers:

Stay tuned for additional TCEL highlights this month. Thank you for continuing to follow these updates and sharing your experiences and ideas!

What are some good conferences you’ve attended recently?