Mindi Trank, VP of Strategy at Chute Gerdeman, shares the viewpoints she’s developed through her experiences working with clients in retail and restaurant categories.
How do insights fuel strategy and creativity at CG?
Insights are core to both the strategy and design teams at Chute Gerdeman. By gathering, analyzing, and digesting insights, we create exceptional experiences for the brands with which we work. That’s why brands come to us to create and use experiential currency to differentiate their brands from a crowded marketplace to cut through all of the noise and start a differentiated dialogue with their customers. Insights are critically important within experience design; they define the context of the moment and inform the content of strategy recommendations and orchestrated experiences.
What is the biggest challenge consumer insights and design research faces?
Everyone is talking about “innovation”. Marketing campaigns use it, shareholders use it, creative firms use it, and CEOs are demanding it. Our challenge is to make innovation meaningful to the consumer and respond to the increasingly common requirement to provide ROI with every recommendation we make.
Another big challenge facing brands today is to construct a meaningful inter-relationship between the individual touch points along a customer’s journey. This complex system of consumer-facing moments needs to be relevant, impactful, and flexible in order to meet increasing consumer expectations of powerful seamless experiences.
Luckily, there are emerging research platforms that help us analyze data within experiences, such as measuring emotional and functional responses to define the most valuable design elements.
How are brands using insights and analytics today? How is it different than a decade ago?
Obviously, the shift in our economy has been the biggest driver of design strategy during the past few years, along with changing customer expectations. The move from a goods-based economy to a shareable, service- and experience-based business ecosystem has opened new doors for brands across the globe.
Brands like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Uber, and Blue Apron have introduced integrated experiences, tapping into the full suite of disciplines through new or unique channels and offerings. This shift has included products and services, channel delivery, and an open dialogue with consumers. It is no longer a monologue or dialogue, but now a mega-logue. We can break down the complexity of each customer’s journey and use data to serve creativity (not limit it, like in the past). Insights can play an important role by uncovering fundamental brand pinnings and emotional threads. These allow us to develop and deliver content to users, shoppers, and guests by arming a brand with the knowledge to execute anticipatory triggers. We understand what real people do more clearly, what the real paths to purchase are, emotions at each touch point, and how to create unique sustainable advantages for brands.