Jobs-to-be-done: Satisfying your customers’ highest needs

When asked to describe the “jobs-to-be-done” approach to understanding customers, Clayton Christensen remembers the milkshake. A major fast food chain had turned to Christensen and his Harvard Business School colleagues for help. Despite much market research and meticulous product testing, milkshake sales simply wouldn’t budge. This stagnation was inexplicable: According to the chain’s survey data, […]

Nudge theory: How brands can empower customers through behavioral science

As the fathers of nudge theory, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein have seen their ideas applied elegantly in business, health care, and government. But one of their favorite illustrations of nudging comes not from the lofty domains of corporate or public policy. Rather, it begins in a men’s restroom in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – inside […]

Your Brand Strategy Answer? Asking Better Questions

Ask any child what they know about Albert Einstein, and they’ll produce the fabled answer: E=mc2. He’d probably prefer his legacy to be defined by a question instead. Einstein always despised rote recitation. As a teenager in Germany, he ran away from school when his instructors insisted he memorize the content of their lessons. By […]

4 Ways Consumer Psychology Can Improve Your Marketing

One of the seminal psychological insights of the 21st century began with a jar of jam. Or rather 24 of them – a total that would soon prove problematic. Psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper set up a display table in a gourmet grocery, featuring two dozen jam varieties. If shoppers sampled their wares, they […]

Emotional Branding: How Consumers Make Subconscious Choices

David Hume had his work cut out for him as the title of his 1739 masterwork implied. The British philosopher’s “A Treatise of Human Nature” surveyed the work of ancient and modern thinkers with a skeptical eye. Chief among Hume’s criticisms was an insight about our bias when assessing human choice and action: We give […]

Emotions Rule the Roost

The power of any brand is, simply, how your association with it makes you feel. You might say you have rational reasons for choosing one brand over another, but even these reasons translate into emotional preference. They simply help us rationalize emotional choices to ourselves and, just as important, to others. We often hate to […]

Putting A Price On Emotion

Now With 30% More Emotion! Any Brand Manager worth his or her salt knows how to predict purchasing behavior. An increase in price will lead to lower demand while a decrease in price will lead to higher demand. It’s Economics 101. However, a definitive body of science tells us that human beings don’t like to […]

Innovation Starts With Empathy

The Heart of Game-Changing Innovation Everyone gets the power and potential of new ideas—but there is precious little research and understanding about how to create consistent processes around generating them. Yet enlightened companies with good innovation track records agree on one critical point—meaningful innovation is fueled by understanding customers’ lives and needs. In The Game Changer, A.G. […]

The Peak Customer Experience

It’s about the experience stupid! Can you imagine someone who works every possible angle to get a date with a special person and then doesn’t bother to shower, shows up late and is in a bad mood all night? That’s just crazy or stupid. But many companies are fine spending millions to attract new customers […]

Sleep on It

Songwriting Satisfaction I have a few friends who are songwriters. They spend hours in their homes, studios, coffee shops and anywhere they can find inspiration, picking away at their guitars and pouring their souls into notebooks, trying to find that one melody or lyric that will allow them to burst onto the music scene like […]

The Brand is Not Part of the Business; It IS the Business

People don’t invest a lot of time on details. They sort out the promise a brand makes and the meaning it evokes. That’s it. That’s all you get, nothing more, and nothing less. They create a short, simple mental model of how your brand enhances their own identities. To them, the brand they have in […]

Synthesizing Across Platforms, Channels and Partners

Last month, I attended the Shopper Insights in Action Conference at Navy Pier in Chicago. This year’s theme around synthesis to achieve more holistic activation struck a particular cord with me. To accomplish this synergizing of ecosystems including digital and bricks and mortar, presenters agreed you must have the right insights, which means more than […]