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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: Jeremy Lindley, the Man Behind “The 10 Commandments of Brand Design”

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.”

Jeremy Lindley

FUSE 2017 presenter Jeremy Lindley is Global Design Director at Diageo, the world’s leading premium beverage business with an iconic collection of alcohol beverage brands across spirits and beer. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Talisker whiskies; Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas; Baileys, Captain Morgan rum, Tanqueray gin, and Guinness beer.

Prior to joining Diageo, Jeremy was head of design for Tesco Stores Ltd., where he was responsible for design across the portfolio of 19,000 private label products and for leading the store formats and design teams. During his early career, Jeremy was a design consultant and university lecturer.

As a preview to his presentation, Jeremy shares his insights on how design is at the heart of brand thinking and activity:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Jeremy Lindley:
I fell in love with the idea of being a designer when I was 17 years old and had to switch tracks from a very academic focus at school. Task one was to learn how to draw!  Forcing my way into a profession that my early education choices did not obviously lead towards helped me recognize that great talent and ideas can come from many non-traditional places, and it’s not just the “creatives” that can be creative.

My art school training taught me the importance of empathy (to create great design you really have to understand the end user), openness (great ideas rarely come quick and often from unexpected sources) and humility (as a designer you are not always right, there is always much to learn). These skills have served me well throughout my career.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
JL:
We operate in an era of multiple media channels where consumers are in control of whether to watch an advert or not. Each channel needs a unique solution – creating a 30-second advert and pushing it out to all platforms simply won’t work.

The reference point for brands used to be the advertising narrative. Today it’s the brand’s visual world – how the brand shows up across multiple applications. Design is the interface between the brand and the consumer, providing coherence and meaning throughout the whole consumer experience. If design is not at the heart of brand thinking and activity, the company will underperform.

PB: How can design connect on an emotional level with consumers?
JL:
The human brain is designed to understand images. We’re so good at this instinctive skill that we mostly don’t realize the meaning we take from visual stimulus. Consumers take implicit understanding from every visual output of a brand; these are influenced by existing memory structures, other brands and culture.

The question for brands is less “how can design connect emotionally” – it already does! Rather, the focus needs to be on understanding how the brand already connects, what the existing memory structures already are, and how these can be developed.

PB: What are some of your recent design projects?
JL:
As Diageo is the world’s leading premium spirits business with over 100 brands in our unrivaled portfolio (these include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness), there are too many projects to mention!  One recent project of which I am very proud is the redesign of Buchanan’s whisky that won a Gold at the Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards in London. I value this award because it demonstrates the business impact of design; to win you have to prove conclusively the link between design and business performance.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
JL:
I’ve been working as a designer for over 25 years; seven of those freelance and the remaining leading design within client organizations. I’ve tried to distill the key things I’ve learned from working on some of the world’s most iconic brands into a “10 Commandments of Design.”

Want to hear more from Jeremy? 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: Brian Robinson Tells a Great Story at Universal Pictures

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.”

Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson

FUSE 2017 presenter, Brian Robinson, Executive Vice President of Creative, Design and Development at Universal Pictures, spent 10 years in retail, leading brand strategy and new partnership ventures. Over the last four years, he’s been a brand leader in the entertainment world, building and cultivating brand and creative teams at DreamWorks Animation and now Universal Pictures.

As a preview to his presentation “DO NOT OPEN: A Tale of Resiliency, Imagination, and the Power of Curiosity,” Brian shares his insights on how unbridled imagination is at the heart of innovation.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your previous work in retail and brand strategy translate into success in the entertainment world?
Brian Robinson:
Have a seat and let me tell you a story, a great, grand story. But first, tell me yours.

Listen to the rhythm of culture, hear the dreams, ideas and aspirations of your fans and build an undeniable empathy for those that love what you do. This understanding, this empathy, will allow you to tell great stories, and great stories are the great connector. Whether campaigns, design, product development or innovation, the combination of empathy and great storytelling will always deliver success.

PB: How do your leadership values support your creative work and the work of your team?
BR:
The culmination of my leadership values – courage, authenticity, resiliency, respect –are intended to unlock the most exciting and purest forms of creativity, while encouraging individuality.

PB: What is the creative process you follow to bring your ideas to life?
BR:
The most unadulterated form of my personal creativity is free-form writing and is always the beginning of my creative process. Followed by editing, challenging, story-arching, and ultimately, pitching the idea.

PB: How do resiliency, courage and imagination drive your quest for innovation?
BR:
Life is a quest and trying to innovate within my own life journey means I’m living. I’m failing, I’m learning, I’m living, I’m failing, and in this cycle, it is my own personal resiliency, courage and imagination that continually drive me forward.

PB: What do you see as the next phase in the movie entertainment industry?
BR:
Phases no longer exist. The speed at which change takes hold is breathtaking. In the great renaissance of storytelling, one’s relevancy is the single most important idea in the entertainment industry and dare I say all industries. You must have compelling, empathetic stories that connect to culture, but unless you can make your stories relevant, they don’t exist.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
BR:
They’ll experience the amazing, courageous art of getting knocked out and the resiliency and determination to get back up and keep on fighting.

Want to hear more from Brian? 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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A New Twist on Storytelling – The Cleveland Clinic Empathy Series Continues

Flickr_-_paul_bica_-_high_parkPhoto by paul bica

To follow-up on my post “What’s Missing from Your Corporate Videos,” here is the next video in the Cleveland Clinic empathy series. “You’ll be moved by these life-changing stories, and astonished when you learn what these patients have in common.”

Cleveland Clinic’s Empathy Series Continues – Patients: Afraid and Vulnerable

As a guest blogger for this year’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL), April 9-11 in Miami, Florida, I’d like to make you aware of two sessions where you’ll “discover the emotional drivers that are critical in creating an effective customer story and how to factor empathy into the bigger equation to get a return on customer relationships:”

  • “Bringing Empathy into Your Organization,” Crystal Collier, CEO, Tarp Woldwide and Dan Hill, President, Sensory Logic
  • “Empathetic Marketing for Total Customer Experience,” Mark Ingwer, Ph.D., Founder, Insight Consulting Group
This year’s Summit focuses on “Return on Relationships: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation.” To learn more about the event and register, go to www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer.
Stay connected with TCEL:
  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

How are you developing more empathy in your professional and personal lives?


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The Critical Element Missing from Your Customer Experience Programs

Flickr_-_paul_bica_-_nature's_painting

Photo by paul bica

As a guest blogger for the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, April 9-11 in Miami, Florida, I posted my second pre-event article today called “The Critical Element Missing from Your Customer Experience Programs.”

This year’s Summit focuses on the “Return on Relationships: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation.” I encourage you to learn more about this event and to “discover the emotional drivers that are critical in creating an effective customer story.” Please also share this information with those who might be interested in attending.

Here are other ways to stay connected with this event:

  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

In the meantime, please continue to watch for my pre-event posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Customers 1st blog, and my blog, and please share with your networks. Let’s keep the conversations going!

How are you developing more empathy for your customers?


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Join Me for the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit

TCELbannerImage from www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer

Join me April 9-11 in Miami, Fla. for the Total Customer Experience Leaders (TCEL) Summit sponsored by the Institute for International Research USA (IIR USA). I will be a guest blogger promoting this event and blogging before, during and after the event to share the highlights.

I’m excited that this year’s Summit focuses on the “Return on Relationships: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation,” especially since showing empathy through strategic storytelling is the theme of my January, February and last week’s posts.

I encourage you to learn more about this event and to “discover the emotional drivers that are critical in creating an effective customer story.” Please share this information with those who might be interested in attending this event.

I will be posting daily during this timeframe to IIR’s Customers 1st blog and to Starry Blue Brilliance. Here are other ways to stay connected with this event:

  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

Be sure to check it out!

In the meantime, watch for my pre-event posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Customers 1st blog, and my blog, and please share with your networks. Let’s keep the conversations going!

Thank you very much for your continued support. I’m very excited about this opportunity!


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What’s Missing from Your Corporate Videos?

Flickr_-_paul_bica_-_skywalkPhoto by paul bica

Following up on last week’s post, How to Create Your New Slant on Corporate Videos, here is another example of a powerfully compelling video containing the one important element missing from many corporate videos: empathy.

Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care by Cleveland Clinic

You can also find The Cleveland Clinic video and an article about creating more empathy through video at www.teamworkandleadership.com.

As you can see, making a difference in people’s lives builds trust and credibility and of course, creates a better world for all of us! Want to learn how? Check out In Video, Connecting is King, from www.ragan.com, for some advice on how to get started.

How are you developing more empathy in your professional and personal lives?