Tag Archives: Design thinking

Using Design Thinking for a Family Glamping Trip

How can we make our marketing research projects even
is a question we often ask ourselves here at April Bell Research Group.  So, it’s awesome when you find a framework to
do just that! I first learned about Design Thinking from Lisa Helminiak, founder of a
human-centered design firm, Azul 7.  We met at a women-owned businesstraining event, where she turned me on
to some great resources from Stanford’s Institute ofDesign: d.school
Since then, we have
used this thinking in many of our research projects.  When I heard about Azul 7′s Design Thinking Workshop/Bootcamp, I decided to trek up to Minneapolis to attend.  I wanted to deepen my
understanding and find new ways to implement it into our research
practice.  What I discovered is that
Design-Thinking is more than a ‘process’, it’s a way of life.
This mindset includes:
  • Focusing on what others need
  • Feeling free to experiment while working through
    a process
  • Getting really clear about what you’re trying to
  • Having a ‘bias toward action’
  • Radial collaboration

It’s a simple process to reshape thinking. You state the challenge, and then
follow 5 steps ‘ Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test ‘ to elevate
creative thinking.
Creativity is an
essential skill for leaders trying to make a difference. Yet developing the
ability to think and act creatively remains a thorny challenge. While there’s a
hunger for skill development, elevating creative confidence doesn’t happen via
traditional modes of executive education.
Tim Brown, IDEO’s President and CEO
Here’s how I incorporated Design Thinking as I planned my
trip to the Boot Camp!
State the Challenge:  How can
I take 3+ days away for training when I have so many obligations with work and
The Steps:
  • Empathize
    ‘ immerse yourself, observe what people are doing, how they’re doing it and
    why. Discover other’s views.  Sidenote: this is MUCH easier to do
    professionally as a moderator than it is with your immediate family!!! 
    But here’s what I got from the ‘empathy
    gathering’ stage:

My husband and daughter didn’t want me to drag
them along on a trip where I was unavailable for most of the day.
They also didn’t want me to go on a trip unless
it was a ‘real vacation.’
They wanted to go ‘camping’ ‘ I did not.
I didn’t want to feel guilty about going.
I wanted to create a great experience for

  •  Define
    ‘ this is tricky because you’re still not solving ‘ you’re just unpacking what
    you learned, and getting clarity on WHAT needs to be solved. ‘Unpack’ all of
    your learnings, then translate these into a Point of View statement ‘ (User)needs‘ (Need) ‘because’ (Insight)

My definition: 
The Family
(User) needs’
‘to find individual
activities while vacationing together
(Need) because’
‘we want
to be together yet have our own idea of what ‘fun’ looks like!
  • Ideate ‘ our ‘family’ brainstorm looked a little different than the typical innovation ideation sessions we facilitate with our clients but let’s just say our little familia ‘tried‘ to build on each other’s ideas.  And we ‘tried’ not to judge each other’s opinions (some of us were better than others but I’m not pointing any fingers!)  And, my 5 year old is DEFINITELY the most creative and best ‘ideator’ of the family!
  • Prototype
    ‘ You stop talking (and thinking) in this step – and start building.  It’s a challenge because our nature ‘ at
    least mine ‘ is to get it right, get it perfect before showing others. This
    step forces the reverse thinking.  To get
    better, you must build/create something to test SO THAT IT CAN get better for
    the user! 
  • Test ‘ Then,
    we tested our first ever 10-day Family Glamping + Training trip!  Our user testing was ‘doing it.’  Would we do it differently next time?  Yes, we would tweak a few things like making
    sure our A/C in the camper was working properly before departing.  And allowing 2 weeks for the trip, not 10
    days’but we learned a lot.  This was our

Pull camper from Dallas to Oklahoma, spent
our first night in Sequoyah State Park in Hulbert, OK
to Des Moines, IA where we played with our friends, then left our daughter +
camper to play longer.
and I drove on to Minneapolis where I attended Azul’s Design-Thinking Boot Camp and
hubby happily biked in a city with some of the best biking trails in the US.  
we made our way back home, picking up our daughter and camper in Iowa
2 more nights in Kansas before heading back to Dallas.
Here’s a visual map we made
with Fotor, another fun tool we’ve added to our tool kit. That
and PicMonkey are
both great  at quickly helping you bring
ideas to life visually for ‘quick DIY design needs.’
Loved the Boot
Camp. And Design Thinking has not only enhanced our innovation projects but
also helped us create a mindset for innovation in our boutique business and even personally!
April Bell. Owner, Researcher, Facilitator and the ‘force of nature’ at April Bell Research Group, a full service boutique market research agency helping researchers shine.

Dad’s wallet is open. His heart and mind are too.

- Kitty Hart, Capsule

Jen Drolet and Julia Eisenberg from iModerate provided a deep-dive into understanding Dads of today and what motivates them.

A study was done with 2,500 dads with kids living at home. They were asked about what they put in their cart, what they see in retail, who is with them and how they felt. Interesting to see that statistics show dads are becoming the new “regular” shopper. In fact, 80% of millennial dads are becoming the primary shopper or at least equally sharing the responsibility.
Well, we always knew dad was a softy, but the research definitely put some insight behind this theory. 
Dad’s wallet is open as are his heart and mind. 
In a snapshot, the study shows dad is brand loyal, adventurous, convenience-driven, less phased by price and seeks information. While mom seeks value and deals, dad is actually less concerned with price. See, we’re not always the spenders.
The findings support the fact that he is primed for impulse purchases. So what circumstances lead to these purchases? What can retailers do to motivate dad? To answer these questions, research needed to uncover how dad feels.
Using the Luminoso text mining tool iModerate was able to dig into the language they use to describe their experiences.
Why do dads impulse buy?
They have cravings. They want to reward. Dads love convenience and they love to treat and/or indulge their loved ones as well as themselves. Dads are brand loyal so if they see a trusted brand come forward with something new, they are apt to try it. And, dad will impulse buy if he sees a good deal. 
We are all kids at heart. 
Part of the study included a look at how impulse purchases differ when dad is alone versus with kids. Well, well, well. Check this out. When dad is alone, he fills his cart with ice cream, chips, beef jerky, beer, tools and electronics. Wait, was the study done on adults or teenagers? 
When dad shopped with kids in tow, the impulse purchases included less beer, fewer tools, toys, DVDs, candy and games. Dad rocks!
Research showed that dads feel amazing, appreciated, proud and accomplished when they can treat or indulge their kids. But don’t worry, there is also some conflict here about spoiling or creating ungrateful kids. As with everything, it’s another example of a need for balance. 
One brand doing a great job in speaking directly to these dads of today is Cheerios and their recent #HowToDad by Cheerios campaign. 
If this spot doesn’t make you want to be a super-hero dad, there’s something wrong with you.
So, how can brands tap into dad’s open wallet?
Within the store environment, prompt dad in the following ways. Create opportunities to treat his family, to share experiences, to make memories. Helping dad reminisce about his childhood and helping him embrace his status as a parent are highly motivational. Dad wants to feel cool, successful and have great feelings about his kids in general. 
So dads, let go of the macho persona. We know you’re all just big teddy bears.

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations.

Moving Beyond the Bullseye: Building a Powerhouse Home Brand within Target

-Kitty Hart, Capsule

Tisha Boarman, Group Manager Owned Brand Strategy from Target drew a crowd. Everybody loves Target insights, right? Right.

In 45 minutes we got the cool, inside story on how Target took a hard look at HOME, one of their original owned brands, and decided it was time to rebuild.

Target knew they needed engage in a more authentic way. Consumers are more connected today than ever so they knew they needed to leverage their brands as a connection to guests. With this in mind, they made a commitment to the philosophy of relationships first, transactions second.

Expect more, pay less.

But the question remained, how do we get our owned brands to stand on their own? And further, how can we get the owned brands to actually contribute to the master brand? Wouldn’t it be great if Target’s owned brands were actually trip drivers?

So, the new goals established included:

Move from “labels” to loved brands.

Engage the guest beyond the product.

Maximize owned brands for the future.

They went to work on HOME because this once flagship brand had been declining in sales. They needed to know why. A comprehensive process began with data mining. They also engaged Target loyalists and got them talking. Core Target team members collaborated in work sessions to generate ideation and then again, loyalists were engaged to provide feedback and insights. The major finding? The brand lacked a point of view. The brand no longer resonated with guests.

When Target spoke with guests during the exploratory research, they learned something very important. When the guest shopped, she wasn’t just thinking about products. She’s busy and wants her home to be a reflection of her. Her desire is to unlock the home’s potential. The HOME brand had not delivered on this.

The brand was rebuilt from the ground up. Brand position and framework informed name ideation generating 8,000 potential names. Once they landed on Threshold, the identity was designed along with a whole new product line.

Again, thinking about relationship first, transaction second, they saw great opportunities for launching the new brand. They now had an opportunity to bring guests and designers together. This was the birth of the Threshold Design Event in select markets.

While social media had done great things for bringing consumers closer to brands, this concept would take engagement to a whole new level. Guests came to Target with drawings, notes, photos, ideas and dreams. Designers conducted workshops first and then offered one-on-one sessions with designers to bring their visions to life.

Huge success. The Threshold brand is now aligned with the guest and delivering on established goals. But the effort doesn’t stop there. The questions now focus on scaling the effort and continuing to push the brand. This is just the beginning.

Tisha closed with one of her favorite quotes from Scott Bedbury. “A great brand is a story that is never completely told.”

We look forward to future chapters.

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations.

Private Label brand quality : I’d serve that to company!

- Kitty Hart, Capsule

There is always place for conversation about private label brands, no matter the conference. This category continues to grow so it was great to hear from Peggy Davis today, a pioneer in the space.

Facilitated by my friend Chris Durham of My Private Brand, Peggy shared her experiences with the birth of private label and her career.

Have you been around long enough to remember this brand?

Back in the 1970s, Why Pay More? was Laneco’s entry into the private label brand business. Laneco was a grocery chain in eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. At the time Peggy was starting her career in grocery and was instrumental in helping Laneco explore this new path. Through trial and error, new product categories were explored and the concept stuck. Surprisingly though, back then, quality didn’t matter. It was all about price. Well, no wonder many private label brands have a bad reputation.

In 1985, Peggy made her way to Daymon Worldwide and Wegman’s, one of my favorite premium grocers on the east coast. Wegman’s had just started exploring private label, a big step in the premium space, and asked Peggy to lead the way. Creating some disruption, Peggy pushed the team into categories they hadn’t considered before. They went into the space of private brands conservatively but have embraced it fully. Continuing to focus on building the premium reputation of the Wegman’s brand, the product had to meet quality expectations if it was going to take shelf space inside this beloved retailer. Customers expected quality no matter the brand. This expectation was met and Peggy could confidently say that at no time would you hear any Wegman shopper say, “I wouldn’t serve that to company.” 30 years later, Wegman’s continues to embrace their private label family of brands and likely has one of the best selections in the country. 

Peggy has done great things as a pioneer in this space. And while she pleads for more women to enter this traditionally male dominated category, she is proud to be the only female inducted into the Private Label Hall of Fame. Peggy continues her career today as VP, Vegetable Business Unit and Industrial Sales for McCain Foods.

If you’re female and working in the grocery and/or private brand space, I encourage you to get involved with WISE – Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence. You can learn more here. Womeninstorebrands.com

Peggy, thanks for paving the way.

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations.

OmniShopper Day 1: The blades of a windmill – my new favorite metaphor

- Kitty Hart, Capsule

For 15 years, retailers and brands have gathered at this conference for jam-packed
days of shopper insight education. Obviously, the world was different 15 years
ago. So it was quite appropriate
that Shopper Insights changed its name to OmniShopper. The growth of the
internet and technology in general have driven all brands to consider new
channels and a need to focus on all channels consistently.

Ah, music to our ears. The philosophy of engaging through multiple channels and all senses when possible is what we’ve preached ourselves over the past 15
years ourselves. So I settled in this morning to hear about approach and tactics. And I’ll
admit, I made sure I was fully caffeinated. Sometimes these conversations can
be a bit dry.
But it looks like this week’s line-up of speakers and topics
will bring new thinking, practices and insights into the conversation. From
this morning alone, I’m jittery from Jonathan MacDonald’s windmill blades. Understanding modern
context, leveraging opportunities in disintermediation and managing perpetual change is the driving energy behind business success or failure. No more talk about the third leg of the stool. I’m digging this new metaphor.
MacDonald’s rundown of the evolution of discovery,
investment, ownership, design, energy, connectivity, relationships, experience,
presence, touch, banking, production, information and more was fascinating. You
see, we’re writing a book on the physics of brand. We’re intrigued with the
topic of why and how brands exist in our lives. How can the intangible manifest
and hold such significant grip on our hearts? Well, when MacDonald talked about the technology that travels through your bloodstream to carry information to your brain, I knew we were in for a ride.
MacDonald set the bar pretty high on this first day. He is
not a Futurist. He is a Now-ist. His message of ‘managing perpetual change’
could probably be translated to ‘get off your asterisk and make sure you have
disruption inside your organization.’
We are off to an aggressive start here in Day 1 of
OmniShopper. So enjoy the plush surrounds of the Radisson Blu while you can. When you
get back to your office you’ve got some disrupting to do.

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations.

How to Prepare for the Customer of the Future

Photo by Barry Haynes. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

How can YOU prepare for the customer of the future?

Join me June 3-4 in Miami, Fla. for the Total CX Leaders Conference sponsored by the Institute for International Research USA (IIR USA). This year’s event will help you “learn how to listen to your customers, understand their differences and set the foundation to build a road map to create a seamless experience for modern customers.”

With hands-on workshops and featured speakers from companies like AT&T and Marriott International, the Total CX Leaders Conference “brings together thought-leadership to focus on higher level thinking around the strategic alignment of customer strategy, technology and business aspirations.”

2015 content areas include:

  • User Experience Design
  • Data-Rich Insights & Analytics
  • Digitizing the Customer Journey
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Design Thinking
  • Omnichannel Experience
  • Analyzing and Measuring VOC
  • Aligning Data Touchpoints
  • Customer Centric-Culture
  • Customer Behavior Trends
  • Translating Insights into Actions
  • New Technologies & Methodologies
  • Big Data Initiatives

This is my second year as a guest blogger for this event. I will post daily during this time frame to IIR’s Customers 1st blog and to Starry Blue Brilliance.

Here are other ways to stay connected with this event:

  • twitter.com/#TCXL15
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders

Be sure to check it out, and please share this information with those who might be interested in attending this event.

In the meantime, watch for my pre-event and post-event stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Customers 1st blog, and my blog. Please share with your networks – let’s keep the conversations going!

This article was originally published on Starry Blue Brilliance.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Data to See: A Design Approach to Data Visualization & Storytelling

As a fan of the arts, my mother instilled in me a love for poetry, literature, arts and drama, overall the ability to tell a story that resonates on a deep level. It’s the presence of those universal, humanistic properties, those boiled down to the core or gist that really get us and that we really get.

I think this early understanding fueled my ability to write poetry and later on in life, as a marketer, tweets. In the past year, I’ve become fascinated with the appeal of the visual web and experiment on Instagram, often posting powerful images with very little text, sometimes 1-3 words and/or hashtags and nothing else to see what sort of resonance they receive.

While researching data visualization tools and tactics, I came across this free film by Edward Tufte, and while its a few years old, I think it’s definitely worth watching for those interested in further developing their visual data narrative skills and thinking conceptually with the mind and empathy of a trained designer or artist:

Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Total Customer Experience: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation

Explore the new realities of building brands and customer relationships in today’s socially driven and data abundant world at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, where senior decision makers will gather on April 9-11, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

This year we focus on the emotional drivers that are critical in creating an effective customer story.   Hear from high-level visionary keynotes and in-depth case studies that examine linking insights & data, data measuring & mapping, design thinking, and synthesizing intelligence from B2B and B2C companies across verticals, disciplines and cultures.

Linking- Explore how to connect attitudinal metrics to behavioral data across the enterprise.
Data Mapping- Discover new approaches to measuring and aligning your data.
Design Thinking- Go beyond transaction and strategize a new way forward.
Synthesize- Integrate insights and intelligence to get at the heart of the emotional experience.

All new keynote presentations from leading visionary keynotes:

Lou Carbone
Founder & CEO Experience Engineering and Author,
Clued in: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again
Keith Ferrazzi
Ferrazzi Greenlight and Author, Never Eat Alone
Stephen Gates
VP, Global Brand Design
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Mark Ingwer
Insight Consulting Group and Author, Empathetic Marketing: How to Satisfy the 6 Core Emotional Needs of your Customers
Richard Margetic
Director, Global Social Media
Those attending are senior decision makers facing tough choices and looking for candid peer-to-peer exchange amongst counterparts who are experiencing the same challenges.

Download the brochure for the full agenda and speaker list: http://bit.ly/1eTivgq

Don’t miss out, register today and lock in the lowest rates for Total Customer Experience Leaders 2014. Mention code TCEL14LI & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/1eTivgq

Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014
April 9-11, 2014
Trump International Beach Resort
Miami, Florida
The TCEL Team