What We’re Watching: Diversity and Inclusion as a Brand Strategy Imperative

We recently had the opportunity to attend a webinar put on by WE, entitled WE MOVE FORWARD SERIES: Next Gen in Our Next Chapter.  The webinar discussed how diversity and inclusion was viewed through the lens of younger generations—specifically Millennials and Gen Z.  It was well worth an hour of our time!

A few thoughts on key points from the webinar:

  1. Brands should be encouraged to address issues of diversity and inclusion head on—Millennials and Gen Z expect it!  Get clear on the goal of the communication and tailor it accordingly.  Most importantly, be true to your brand.
  2. Diversity and Inclusion encompasses more than just race or sexual orientation.  It includes inviting people with varied perspectives, interests, and roles to take a seat at the table.
  3. We all have an unintentional bias toward people that “look” like us.  This bias can stymie productive innovation.  In fact, it’s important to include those that DO NOT “look” like us in order to develop the best outcome.
  4. When developing a brand’s strategy, it’s critical to have a foundational true understanding of our consumer (not just by traditional demographics) and why they buy.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How are decisions made in building my brand?  Are we being inclusive of different points of view?
  • Do I know what’s most important to my consumer and do I understand how they talk about the “need” my brand is designed to fix?
  • Is my brand’s website reflective of all my consumers?  Do we make them feel welcome?
  • Are we really listening to our consumers? Am I encouraging loyalty amongst my customers by making them feel heard?

Challenging yourself and your team to be inclusive of people who have different outlooks and perspectives can only help drive brand success, especially with generations to come.

What We’re Watching: How AI Innovation is Transforming Retail

We had the opportunity to share our experience with AI and Accelerated Innovation at the CHPA Marketing Conference yesterday. This article shows another example of how developments in AI are impacting our industry daily. Imagine the data that might be collected from thousands of consumers in thousands of stores…providing insights on how they ask for and about different product categories.  Fascinating.

What We’re Watching: Gaining an Innovation Edge

Innovation is the fuel that keeps a company growing, especially in today’s fast paced marketplace.  Here is a link to a discussion around Apple and whether they are maintaining their edge with regard to innovation.  Here are a few takeaways on how this could apply to your business:

  • Invention vs. Innovation – your company needs to have both to really accelerate your business.  A unique invention comes to life with an innovative go-to-market model.
  • Innovation comes from multiples places: really understanding your customers and their needs, leveraging your company’s assets and organizational knowledge, and looking forward to anticipate future needs – skate where the puck is headed, so to speak.
  • A balanced innovation portfolio – to truly have a focus on innovation your organization needs to consider a variety of ideas with varying time horizons, cost to commercialize and likelihood of success:
    • Small, incremental improvements to existing businesses
    • New market innovations
    • Moon-shot projects

Only with a portfolio that includes a representation of all three will an organization truly develop an innovation eco-system.

  • Deep customer understanding – Successful innovation relies on a deep understanding of the customer and delivering against their “job to be done” – it’s a constant, but always worth emphasizing.