Last Wednesday, Mona Chammas and I attended eat:Strategy, where the discussion centred around research, psychology, branding, and design, as they relate to strategy. It was a day filled with both agency and in-house perspectives.
One of the overarching themes was the importance of building continuity between data, insight, strategy, and execution, while also aligning with project objectives. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s quite remarkable to be able to accomplish in practice.
To illustrate visually, let’s have a look at Leona Hobbs’ strategic sweet spot Venn diagram, one of my favourite ideas of the day:
To me, business objectives and audience needs/wants can come together to inform strategies to some extent. What sets projects up for successful execution, however, are the other two components: organizational readiness and regulatory considerations. How many of us have found ourselves in a situation with a stellar idea that meets business goals and customer needs, yet have a tough time selling the idea through, whether with a client or internally to stakeholders? Innovation can be uncomfortable for everyone, so there needs to be an appetite for it, as well as the right (regulatory) environment.
I’ve handpicked the most potent thoughts on customer research, insights, and strategy from the conference, in bite-sized form.
Strategy vs. tactics
A shared gripe of those working in strategy is when others mistake a tactic (an action that can be taken to execute the strategy) for a strategy (an idea of how goals or objectives can be achieved). The realization for me yesterday was that if not for my business background, I wouldn’t have known the terminology. Part of the issue in my opinion is education and developing a shared understanding of the meaning of the words strategy and tactic. I would challenge the strategy community to help educate others on the difference in creative ways.
Here’s my simple attempt at an illustration:
(Organizational readiness could involve knowing how to drive. Regulatory considerations could mean driving on streets instead of the sidewalks.)
Customer research as secret weapon
Leona highlighted some facts from an Interbrand study that were telling: more than a quarter of the 672 companies surveyed across 10 sectors are not seeking customer input when developing digital experiences and 46% of those surveyed are not even making use of publicly available data for customer research. The takeaway for me is that there is an immense opportunity to improve customer research and set your brand apart from the rest.
Two ways to set your research efforts up for success
1) Align research objectives with business and project objectives (I am a big advocate of developing a shared understanding of research questions and business goals).
2) Invest in a robust analytics setup so you can get useful, actionable insights from your data down the road.
For more nuggets on eat:Strategy, check out Mona’s post.