The Mixology Of Strategic Design And Consumer Insights

The Mixology Of Strategic Design And Consumer Insights

January 16, 2020 Off By administrator

Desire, consideration and trial are the most challenging objectives a brand can strive for — a deal-breaker between what makes a brand a “showstopper” or “has been.” To stay on top of their game, brands invest considerable strategy, time, attention and dollars annually to remain relevant in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Increasingly, pencils are being sharpened and budgets are being consolidated or repurposed in order to improve bottom lines. This will continue to be an opportunity or challenge (depending on if you are a glass-half-full or half-empty type of person) for marketers now and in the coming years as they have to prioritize their innovation and engagement efforts to ensure they are top of mind with consumers.

To research or not to research — that is the question. If you are reading this, you have inevitably asked or have been asked this question or variations of this theme. And in the very moment that question was asked, someone, no doubt, piped in with the old adage that Henry Ford is unanimously credited with (even though it cannot actually be verified): “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

As detailed in a Harvard Business Review article, “Ford’s adherence to his vision of the mass-market car and how to materialize that vision was instrumental in both his early success in growing Ford Motor Company as well as his later failure to respond in a timely and effective manner to rapid innovation in the marketplace.”

According to the article, one of the first notable examples of consumer research influencing innovation was with General Motors (GM) under the leadership of Alfred Sloan. Although Ford’s share of the market decreased in the 1920s, GM’s increased due to its consumer-research-driven approach, which aimed to produce cars for distinct market segments as a response to the evolving needs of the marketplace.

This is a notable example of the importance of always understanding what drives culture and the market as they evolve. Consumer insights can drive leading innovators and push culture forward, such as with Ford, Tesla, Apple, IBM and Nike, or help seize opportunities as markets develop. Either way, you need to be prepared with the right information in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Despite challenges with marketing spend, it’s always a good idea for brands to engage with their insights and creative partners to connect with consumers as a way to evaluate perceptions, weed out assumptions, validate or disqualify opinions, uncover new ideas and explore unchartered opportunities. This is why adding insights to the strategic design process sets brands up for success.

Oil and water don’t mix, right? So too, research and design can often be seen as opposing forces that don’t blend very well. When research is used exclusively as a lagging indicator, or as a means of executional validation, research can push design outcomes down a rapid descent into mediocracy….

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