New York City, NY

How We Do It

Our Approach

Where other research companies talk about storytelling, we create an experience. Our approach acts as a hyperlink – whether it’s via a Word document, PowerPoint presentation, filmmaking and/or facilitated sessions. We create a way for customers to connect with our clients and the wonderful things they do while providing a way for our clients to “live the lives” of their customers and prospects.

Non-Traditional Research

We go beyond the boundaries of traditional research, combining ethnography, ecosystems and video diaries with more traditional methods such as focus groups and quantitative research.

  • We find the pieces of your story you didn’t even know existed.
  • We break through the social media static to see what’s really there and not only on the surface.
  • And we work in all media including produces internal viral videos, webisodes, short-films and 3-D interactive experiences.

The goal? To make the presentation of results as compelling as the work that comes from it.

Innovation is about Delivering Value to Your Customers

Innovation is something that customers say about YOU, not something you say about yourself. And what we’ve found in our $3 billion in innovation work is that innovation happens when the customer experiences additional value from you.

For example, you know that tingly feeling when you brush your teeth?  That has nothing to do with how your toothpaste is working, but it is how you experience it working. The same thing with soapsuds in the washing machine—suds don’t mean that the detergent is working, but it’s the sign most people cite when looking to see that the product is working.

Or we can look at it another way. We have a client that is a leading window maker. They created a window that cleans itself with rainwater. Amazing, right? Massive sales, right? No. Any guess as to why? There was no way for the homeowner to see that the window had cleaned itself. Thus, the customer experienced zero value from the product. We were able to find a clearer way to show how much product was crucial.

With consumers, taking an existing product and solving a small issue can also have a big impact.

There are different levels of innovation as follows:

  • Communication – doing a better of explaining or illustrating the benefits your product or service offers in a way that causes your customers to experience more value from what you do already.
  • Incremental innovation – taking what you do now and solving a key issue or making a key improvement in a way that causes your customers to experience meaningful additional value from what you offer.
  • Category innovation – new product or service development that brings something new to your product or service category
  • Game changer innovation – new product or service that re-calibrates the category.

At the end of the day, your work needs to connect to what matters to customers, not just what might be cool in terms of technology or the effort it takes to create it.

As a final example; let’s look at Febreeze. This is a spray product designed to remove odors from fabrics. When the company first went to promote it, no one was interested. The people who needed it didn’t see the advantage, and the people who might use it didn’t experience any benefit from it because there wasn’t that much odor to get rid of in everyday cleaning.

Febreeze then did ethnographic work and watched people clean. What they found was that at the end of a cleaning task, there was a gesture that said “all done” from fluffing couch pillows to turning off the lights. Febreeze could be used as a final “all done” gesture, but only IF they added something that was not necessary—fragrance. Once Febreeze added fragrance to their product, sales exploded because now customers were experiencing the value they were offered.