Content: Travis Nipper

Valerie Jacobs, Chief Insight & Innovation Officer at LPK will present The Brand Rebirth Formula: When, Why, and How? on Friday, May 20, 2016. Our own Travis Nipper got to have a chat with her.

@TravisNipper: Let’s get to know you a bit. So what’s it like being the Chief Insight & Innovation Officer at LPK?
@futureglimmer: There are two aspects to the job. One is just like it sounds; I’m responsible for the experiences our clients have with LPK when they engage with our insights or innovation products and services. But perhaps more importantly, my job is about understanding the shifting marketplace and the dynamics of our clients’ businesses, and innovating our own offerings to deliver against those that. I talk to our clients on a regular basis to glean insights on their challenges and unmet needs, and I run an Innovation Lab with a great team of people who focuses on developing new, relevant products and services for our clients.

@travisnipper: To some of us marketers working the less sophisticated fringes, things like trend forecasting sounds complex. Boil it down for us.
@futureglimmer: Being a trends forecaster is really part art, and part science. While it may sound like it relies mostly on intuition, there’s a solid technique. A lot of people think trends aren’t data, but they are – trends are data from the future. The way I do my work, and how I’ve taught others for over a decade, is to do five things: curate your inputs, notice what you notice, connect the dots, ask yourself why, and apply it. Lastly, I’d advise not to spend so much energy on the trends themselves. Accept them, create ideas against them, and then test the ideas. Don’t ask a trends forecaster to make trends relevant to you. Likely that will cause you to miss things you’re not already thinking about, which is the power of trends.

@travisnipper: You recently wrote about innovation evolving into the more coveted and lucrative cousin, disruption. How do we get in the mindset of disruption?
@futureglimmer: It might be too late to think about disrupting your own category. Instead, seek out opportunities to disrupt an adjacent category where you can apply your existing knowledge and beat the disrupters at their own game. Apply your strengths to a problem that’s new to you—one that you can approach with a fresh perspective and solve better. Take Amazon, for example, which uses its operational strengths to disrupt everything from fresh food retailers to web service providers. I also have eight tips for how to “think, act and work like a startup,” which I believe are helpful in adopting and emulating a disruptive mindset.

@travisnipper: What role does research need to play as we think about innovation, disruption, and brand rebirth? How do we kick-start these and use processes?
@futureglimmer: I was recently talking with a client who had a great insight into this. He noted that we’ve all been spending the past several years creating contrived conversations with consumers about our brands. And overestimating the role our brands play in peoples’ lives. Now, we have a vast array of places where we can go observe and listen to peoples’ actual conversations, to give us an unfiltered sense of people’s true sentiments, behaviors and needs. To that end, like many other agencies, we’re embracing things like conversation analysis and virtual ethnographies to get rapid, direct insights versus inauthentic, and potentially, biased dialogues.

@travisnipper: You’ll be joining Cincinnati AMA later this month to talk to marketers and your admirers about The Brand Rebirth Formula. What can we expect?
@futureglimmer: In a world where heritage brands are constantly facing disruptive market entrants, many are in a position to consider what I like to call a “rebirth.” In my talk, I will explore the importance of this fundamental transformation and how it comes to life through strategic and creative decisions. I will identify scenarios that signal a need for a rebirth, and share insights on how brands should approach the endeavor to ultimately preserve their relevance in the market.