Starry Blue Brilliance

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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.