Tag Archives: customer insight

Design Thinking

Indra Nooyi


Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

When I first came to PepsiCo, every time we talked about products for women, people would just put it in a pink bag, or put on a pink label. And I thought: Whoa! We have a problem in how we think about innovation, not just in terms of form function—the package it’s going to be put into—but how it’s going to be used and all the way back to the early stages of the value chain. I believe deep consumer insights are really important.

So one day, I gave each of my direct reports an empty photo album and a camera. I asked them to take pictures of anything they thought represented good design

… after six weeks, only a few people returned the albums. Some had their wives take pictures. Many did nothing at all. They didn’t know what design was.

  1. design is not packaging (“should we go to a different blue?”)
  2. bring a designer into the company (Mauro Porcini, fmr. 3M)
  3. rethink the entire user experience (purpose generates margins)

Market growth alone doesn’t give you enough tailwind. You have to create your own. The way to do that is by designing products for consumers that wow them. Not just the way they look, but that every aspect of what they buy delights them.


Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

Indra and I are really on the same page when it comes to marketing research. In many corporations, marketing research is heavily used to validate rather than to generate insights to drive innovation.

Design is to create meaningful and relevant brand experiences for our customers any time they interact with our portfolio of products

Design is a strategic function that focuses on what people want and need

As for the return, look at consumer engagement, and brand equity.

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Innovation can — sometimes, okay, maybe often — be a battle


Dr.-Ing. Norbert Reithofer, CEO of BMW AG:

Why BMW started the risky BMW-i3 project?

Because doing nothing was even a bigger risk”.


When is it last time you…
  • visited start-ups challenging your position.
  • invited a trend watcher to confront you with how quick the world is changing.
  • visited customers who just changed provider to an innovative substitute.
  • went to Tech Universities to see experiments with new technologies.
  • read articles on new successful business models.
  • visit young customers and asked what they think of your brand — and products.
  • visited customers … and simply talked to them while they are at it


If you are reading this, your organization is probably less innovative than you are. You have a game-changing role. Build awareness that your company needs to innovate. Top Management will only change their conservative views if they get fresh new insights.
Keep confronting them with signals that your market is changing rapidly: changing customer preferences, new substitutes, a small new Danish start-up, et cetera… until the urgency to innovate will be understood and is top-of-mind.

Present your innovative breakthroughs propositions (bring new business, not new ideas) not as something really extraordinary (and risky) but as the normal next thing to do for the company. Your chances to convince will increase dramatically.

The voice of the Customer (VoC) is your best friend, ever. Use Customer Insights results and enthusiast testimonials to get internal support.

And Oh, one last thing, of course they’ll say no to your innovation. What would you do if someone came up to you out of the blue, saying you have to do the things you do totally differently? Or do totally different things. Innovation is always provocative by definition. So when they say “no” to innovation, don’t take it personally. It is not the end of the battle. It’s only the beginning!




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How creativity works

James Adidas









James Carnes, Global Creative Director, Senior VP, Adidas

It’s not difficult to generate ideas, to generate something new. What is hard is to find out what resonates to people, so that they have this Ha-Ha moment when they see it, or use it.

For years we went through loads of creativity sessions, brainstorming of all sorts… those workshops never really succeeded. They have not even helped us show the value of creativity. When you let free thinking rule the agenda, nothing comes out of it.

The only thing I truly believe in is Insight – Customer Insight. As simple as that: talk to people. Why things have to be this way? You need to uncover things. You need to think about the benefit they see in things. So go ahead, and spend time with them!

What is a Big Idea?

Do you solve anything? Do you bring anything new to someone’s life?

What’s not??

How to make runners run better? Or run faster?

We were missing the only right question: why are they running to begin with? We just made the assumption for decades that people run because they wanted to be good runners. So they went to buy running shoes. In fact, that is true for way below 10% of the market… and declining.

People want to stay in shape, or they want to socialize, or connect with other people, a way of feeling better about themselves, an escape from work pressure, a confidence builder, … we really need to find out why they run to begin with. Our goal is just to increase the pleasure while they are at it – or reduce the pain, most of our customers hate running.

So it does not happen in a lab. You have to go and visit the locker room. What’s in their mind? What’s the ritual? The ceremonial?

If you – just – listen to what people say (focus group), you will come up with something small and boring. If you want to go for the Big Idea, you need to go beyond and uncover what is it they do not say, what is it they cannot articulate.

So, No, creativity is Not Design Thinking.


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Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Purple Cow
Seth Godin
Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
What makes a great product?
Not advertising, advertising is intrusive. We don’t want advertising, and we don’t watch advertising. So advertising is gone. Mass is gone. It is sooo XXth. Daddy’s marketing. Average products for average people is risky business. Consumers don’t care about you, they are drowned by choice, of products that all look the same. Plus they don’t have the time for you. Too many choices, too little time.
Today, most products are boring. While driving through France a few years ago, my family and I were enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing in lovely pastures right next to the road. For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the window, marveling at the beauty. Then, within a few minutes, we started ignoring the cows. Cows were invisible. The new cows were just like the old cows, and what was once amazing was now common. Worse than common: It was boring.
The essence of the Purple Cow — the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows — is that it would be remarkable (“otaku” in Japanese). That’s what is talked about (what is worth making a remark about).
So the only way now to gain attention in a market, is to make a remarkable product. We are all in the fashion business. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable. Make an offer that your targeted customers will desire, and talk about. They will want it just because it addresses their wants and needs. That’s how you make and market remarkable offers. Ideas that spread win.
All you have to do is figure out what people want… and give it to them.
Innovate or die. That’s all folks!

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Why (Steve Jobs’) Apple (was) #1


Why Apple is #1?

Simply because Apple (Steve Jobs) is the most innovative (not inventive, not creative) company of the past 15 years.
Apple didn’t create the first MP3 player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet. And yet they, along with rival technology companies like Google, Blackberry and Microsoft have access to the same materials, the same bright minds, and the same funding. Nothing distinguished them structurally from other companies, so what’s the difference?
Why are more people buying iPods instead of Zunes, iPhones instead of Nokias, iPads instead of Samsung Galaxys?
This post isn’t just to rah-rah about Job’s marketing prowess. At Apple, they think, act, and communicate differently. Marketing is at the “core” of the company, i.e. the customer occupies center stage. Don’t think of Apple as having a single “marketing department” that controls all its advertising and design, rather, the whole company connected to its customers, are the marketing department.
The iMac’s biggest selling point was how easy it was to get onto the internet. Just plug in your phone line and go. That feature alone made it very enticing to new internet users.
With iTunes, Apple had completely reinvented the way we looked at music files. Suddenly, we could download just the songs we wanted, and we did not need to go and get/order CDs (and place them on a shelf).
So the takeaway lesson to remember from Apple Mac’s sudden surge in popularity is to discover what people really want (and not what you, in your office, think they want) and determine if they’d be willing to change and experience your idea in order to get that want fulfilled.

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