Author Archives: aeidson

What the Iowa Caucuses Can Teach Brands About Earning Consumer Trust

The run-up to the 2020 Presidential elections is well underway and a wide field of Democratic candidates are competing for the party nomination. After several debates and months on the campaign trail, the first big moment of primary season is fast approaching – the 2020 Iowa caucuses. As the Des Moines Register reported this summer, the candidates’ campaign stops and events in Iowa alone surpassed 1,000 in August and are expected to reach nearly 3,000 by February, when voting will take place.

For me this prompts a question: in today’s digital world, why are candidates flocking to Iowa to make a record number of personal appearances? With massive media budgets and social media staff at their fingertips, the sheer commitment in dollars and man-hours from candidates speaks to one vital goal – building trust.
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Markers of Trust: Finding Great Restaurants

One of my favorite local restaurants is Story in Prairie Village, Kansas. My wife and I have enjoyed many meals there and admire their consistent quality and first-rate service. In 2013, the head chef and owner of Story, Carl Thorne-Thompsen, was named a James Beard Award semifinalist nominee for Best Chef in the Midwest. This is a very prestigious nomination from the James Beard Foundation, which highlights the best of the best in American food culture by recognizing talented chefs, world-class restaurants, and the media platforms that make a difference through their food coverage.

A few years later, Alice and I found ourselves traveling in Minneapolis and searching for a place to have dinner. The thought occurred that we should look at local listings to see which restaurants had been recognized by the James Beard Foundation. Through this process, we discovered Corner Table. It was a delicious meal and a memorable dining experience. It is currently closed for a “refresh” according to the owners.
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Embracing “Constructive Disruption” in Marketing and Beyond

Pioneered by startups and tech companies seeking innovation by reshaping systemic processes and industry landscapes, the goal of creating disruptive change has trickled down through nearly every aspect of today’s business environment. In fact, the term is so ever-present that its value risks becoming diluted.

However, recent remarks from the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference might prompt us to see disruption in a new light. Speaking to a crowd of attendees, Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Mark Pritchard praised what he calls “constructive disruption” in marketing practices. What does that look like in practice? Pritchard’s answer provides a road map for the ways in which brands can best reach consumers in the future.
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Discovering What’s Next: Accidental Innovation

Some of the greatest discoveries in human history have happened by accident. Whether the result is penicillin or Play-Doh, the microwave or the Slinky, many curious minds have stumbled across products that have impacted (and sometimes even saved) our lives. 

One of the challenges of innovation and leadership, as we recently discussed on our blog, is recognizing “what’s next” when we see it. Too often, our pursuit of a specific result keeps us from recognizing something brilliant that happens along the path. Let’s take a look at a recent accidental innovation that probably won’t change the world, but might change how we value the process of discovery.
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Managing Major Change: How Brands Navigate Pivotal Moments

Our recent exploration of sustainability initiatives in the fast fashion industry raised one big question: faced with increasing consumer demands, how can brands make big changes without compromising their identity? For the fast fashion space, this is a tricky proposition – after all, their identity is built on providing clothing that is trendy and disposable. When consumers decide they want to support sustainable brands, how can the giants of fast fashion (or any industry) make those necessary shifts?

Incremental change is the safest approach, but when consumers are clamoring for something new, they expect brands to act quickly. The issue of sustainability is particularly time-sensitive, as reports continually surface about the environmental damage caused by industries including fashion. The change process isn’t easy, but consumers are ready to reward the brands that take the lead.
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Sustainability in Fashion: Where Do We Start?

The fast fashion model is built on trendy, cheaply made pieces that are only meant to last through a few seasons before being retired or forgotten. As a result, unprecedented amounts of clothing are ending up in landfills (or on bonfires) after being worn once or twice. We recently examined fast fashion brand Zara’s new sustainability goals, noting that while it’s encouraging to see a major brand step forward to start a conversation about sustainability and environmental impact, these goals will require enormous change within the fashion industry as a whole.

Faced with the need to make monumental changes, where do consumers and the fashion industry begin?

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Stretch Goals: The Fast Fashion Industry Grapples with Sustainability & Change

Research shows that consumers, especially younger buyers, favor brands that have a track record of sustainability. As a result, leaders in many industries are moving in a more environmentally and socially conscious direction. However, sustainability is a complex goal. 

Depending on your business, sustainability initiatives can encompass everything from updating facilities to be greener, examining ingredients used in manufacturing and analyzing supply chain practices to considering how products are packaged and shipped. True sustainability usually requires major structural change.

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