Data Driven Chicken Sandwiches

How do you compete in a world of extreme competition, demanding consumers and a shrinking availability of commercial real estate? Well if you’re Chick-fil-a you mix billions of data records, topped with predictive analytics and a side automation to get targeted locations that meet both the needs of consumers and the organization.

In only a few years Chik-fil-a has completely digitized their site selection and the results have been amazing. Site selection, especially for a restaurant that sees a lot of vehicular traffic is imperative to success. Chik-fil-a historically would take pieces of available data like traffic patterns, potential new development, and physical drive-bys to determine new sites.

Using new technologies, Chik-fil-a is able to import massive data sets into their system to analyze and simplify decisionmaking. Chan Lee, enterprise GIS manager for Chick-fil-A’s strategy and analytics team stated:

We’re looking at transactional levels of data.  You’re thinking about billions and billions of records. And that’s great and all, but really what we’re trying to do is trying to figure out, find the signals from the noise

Lee’s team developed a system to import all the available data sets into one centralized system. Taking into account traffic patterns, mapping data, development plans and even cell phone traffic, the GIS team can overlay relevant information on top of a map to get an informed picture of a potential new site. And so far the results speak for themselves. Chik-fil-a plans on opening 90-100 new locations this year.

 

Why It’s Hot

Data-driven decision making is a proven way of getting the complete picture, but the challenge today is less about finding and obtaining data – but turning those massive recordsets into something useful. Predictive analytic techniques use historical patterns and real-time information to deliver actionable insights. Combined with AI technologies these data lakes can now be sorted, ranked and used to make informed business decisions

 

Your Confirmation Bias Is Showing….

The mind – both conscious and unconscious is a powerful force.  Past experiences, upbringing and even current habits shape how people react to situations and stimuli. Confirmation bias is a form of cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is defined as

…systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.

meaning that individuals create their own “reality” from their perception receive around them. Confirmation bias is the filtering out of information that doesn’t fit the perception or attitude of the person. If an individual is very pro-vegetarian, they will filter out any information that shows the benefits of a carnivorous diet- thereby strengthening their own bias.

This bias is especially prevalent in how individuals are using social media. With the ability to like or block content, the user’s cognitive bias is amplified, giving that person only information that fits their pattern of rationality.

This same bias can be applied to patterns of health. Smokers for example – who most likely understand the fundamental risks, will filter out messages that vilify the activity of smoking.  People change, only when their bias shifts

 

Why It’s Hot

Confirmation bias is a powerful driver of human behavior, but what if it could be used to alter that same behavior? For smokers, they understand the strength of addiction and the “pain” of quitting. When they see ads showing black lungs their bias filters out that message. Their reality says “its ok, I’m already smoking”

But what if the message hit the bias head on? What if the campaign acknowledged the “suck”? That message would align with the smokers bias and perhaps not be filtered out. Capturing mindshare is becoming more and more difficult, perhaps understanding and confronting bias is a way to breakthrough.

 

That Sound You Associate With Brands? It Actually Has A Name: Earcon

Design comes in all shapes and sizes. In everyday life we interact, and react to visuals, interfaces and even touch and smells. But what about sounds? Earcons, or sonic branding is an often overlooked part of an experience, yet each one of us associates certain sounds with brands, events or actions.
Leveraging senses is a key way for psychological recall and in a world of “noise,” designers need a way to identify and alert beyond just visual queues.
Lost? earcons are everywhere. From the iconic Windows startup sound to the omnipresent “iPhone typing” clicks, sonic branding remains an important element of interaction, design, and branding.

Why It’s Hot
Brands have the opportunity to take their branding to another level with earcons. As seen with NBC, Netflix and T-Mobile, an earcon can cut through and identify a brand even if you don’t see it visually. This use of the senses works to leverage human psychology to not only increase recall but lead to affinity and familiarity.
Bonus!
We know that onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like the very thing it’s describing (  hiss, buzz). So whats the equivalent in sound design? That would be Skeuomorphism –  the design concept of making sounds resemble their real-world counterparts. ( think “recycle” sound!)

Take Your Storms Scattered, Smothered, Covered and Chunked

With the recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma making landfall, they bring with it the full destructive force of nature. Storms of these type are measured by the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale that goes from category 1 – 5. Not only a measure of wind speed the SSHWS also can indicate the potential damage and flooding an area could see as the hurricane makes landfall.

But how can you measure the aftermath? How can you judge the infrastructure and the locations ability to start to recover? The Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA) employs an untraditional metric in this case; The Waffle House Index.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate stated “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?… That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

Using a color-coded system, the Waffle House Index is purely based on how operationally ready the restaurant is. Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a sign that damage in an area is low, and that power is on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area as well as unsafe conditions in the surrounding neighborhood.

Waffle House has a history of being the “first food responders” in disaster areas. Their company heritage, as well as the management plan for these events, support efforts to stock up on items and work to be the only open restaurant in town.

In 2001, after Hurricane Irene, Waffle House lost power to 22 restaurants in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Within days, all but one were back up and running.

Why It’s Hot

When faced with disaster, it’s amazing the impact a hot meal can have. Waffle House spends almost no money on traditional advertising. Instead, they have built a cult-like following by being there when it matters. Whether that’s when you’re pulling an all-nighter, you have 500 more miles left in your trip, or it’s literally the only place in town for a meal. By implementing a customer strategy of “loyalty through service”, they can put people first and reach people in ways that traditional advertising never could.

 

Lunch? Head to the Grocerant

It’s that time…your stomach is growling. You’re getting hangry, but you’ve got a deadline. What to do? Run for fast food? Wait for delivery? Enter the grocerant. Perhaps the tastiest of the portmanteaus. This hybrid concept of traditional grocery stores offering “ready-to-eat” meals is on the rise.

A recent NPD report found that more and more consumers are wanting meals prepared for them, but without the desire to shop at traditional grocery stores. For them, pre-made, ready to heat and eat options are perfect.  This market shift has lead to the segment to grow nearly 30% over the past eight years, with the upward trend continuing as more and more consumers shift their cooking habits.  Both Wegmans and Whole Foods have been early and successful adopters of this concept. Their leadership feels this not only captures the demand for these ready made meals but encourages repeat visits for their other products.

 

Why It’s Hot

Tastes evolve, and so must the business that serves them. In a society where you can be starved for food – and time, this evolution of a business model makes sense. There are more evolutions on the way and the ability to react, embrace and execute on these changes is key to the overall success of brick and motor businesses

Money Can’t Buy (All) The Happiness

People who say “money can’t buy happiness” have obviously never lived under a bridge. Money can buy happiness, certainly in the form of one’s safety, shelter, and food. So logically you could think

“…if a little money buys some happiness…a lot of money buys a lot of happiness…I need more money to be happy!

But unfortunately,  we as humans aren’t wired that way.  Research has shown that people have a base level of happiness built into their lives. As good things happen, and bad things happen we tend to slide back to that base level.

I’m sure we have all gone through the phase of having to have the latest “thing”. We see it, we desire it, we literally crave it….then we finally obtain it. It feels great; then…we forget why we wanted it in the first place. Welcome to the Hedonic Treadmill

Studies show that the difference in happiness from earning $5,000 a year to $50,000 a year is dramatic. This type of change allows one to purchase shelter, food, and security. But the level of happiness from $50,000 a year to $50,000,000 is nearly identical.

 

Why It’s Hot

So if it’s not stuff that makes us happy, what will? Experience. The time we spend with friends and family, the adventures we take, the people we help – these are the keys to moving your overall base level of happiness. Experience acts as a differentiator not only in life but also in the market. Brands and products who go beyond the physical good and offer experience will achieve more customer loyalty and find brand fans quicker.

 

 

Your Perspective…is Biased

People are fascinating creatures. We have the ability to create, communicate and con. Even when someone excels at “reading the room” they can only read what has been “written”, and what if that turns about to be a bit more fiction than truth?

Empathy, especially through interviewing is a valuable tool in finding insight and inspiration. Both the interviewer and interviewee  play an integral part in the process.Those interviews can drastically change the outputs

Why It’s Hot:

I think the line “It’s like 6 totally different people” really captures how we as people can receive and process information. The lesson to take is – dig deeper. We’re all humans, maybe the person you’re interviewing is having a bad day, maybe they just won the lottery…without going in for a deeper dive we may miss the true essence.

 

Lemons to $weet Lemonade

Imagine its 1985 – Your flagship star Michael Jordan has just debuted his first signature shoe, the Air Jordan. No one had seen anything like it; a shoe designed and endorsed by a major athlete. The execs at Nike must have been grinning ear to ear at the sales potential. That is…until you get a letter from the NBA banning your product.

So whats a marketer to do? Countless hours, media spend and endorsement money is now at risk.  You leverage the technique of Succès de scandale (French for “success from scandal”) – or make lemonade out of lemons.

Soon after the NBA ban, Nike took their scandal and went on the offensive launching a nationwide print and media campaign including this TV ad:

With that they turned scandal into sensation. That year ( and for many after) the Nike Air Jordan became the best selling sneaker.

So what does this teach us? That there is opportunity in every situation. Sometimes our projects get a bad call, or miss the free throw – but with creative thinking and some grit you can still hit that buzzer beater and win the game.

A Doctor’s New Best Friend

When you think of specialist physicians we may get images of high risk-high reward surgery, fast paced operation rooms and dramatic moments on the table. However, when you dig deeper into a typical day most of these talented individuals spend most of their time on administrative work. So IBM asked “How might we remove some of these tasks and let doctors do more of what they are trained to do?”

Enter Watson – and the Medical Sieve – the intelligent assistant

In their work, IBM researches found that a typical ER radiologist may have to look, sift and analyze through nearly 100,000 images a day. This is increasingly time consuming and often leads to physician fatigue as they scan through page after page to identify the one or two images they really need.

By connecting the various imaging platforms, electronic health records and blood tests and combining it with machine learning, Medial Sieve is able to rapidly scan the image study and pull out the few images that will be most useful for the radiologist.

In addition to the primary images, the system is able to pull out key images that show an anomaly from what is expected to ensure a closer look.

This technology is not only reducing “time to diagnosis” but also reducing errors, misdiagnosis and unneeded or repeated tests- all leading to better patient care

IBM is one again pushing AI in a way that exists to support – not replace human interaction. Check out the video below for more detail.

Increasing Organ Donation With a Check Box

Over 22 people die everyday in the United States as they wait for an organ transplant. This area of medicine is a particularly tricky version of supply and demand. But what if a simple check box was all it took to help increase the supply to the thousands on waiting lists?

Enter Libertarian Paternalism. Initially coined by economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein, this is the idea that ones behavior can be affected without removing ones freedom of choice.

“it tries to influence choices in a way that will make choosers better off, as judged by themselves”

Many countries have used this method to increase organ donation with a simple check box. They have moved to an “opt-out” method – meaning citizens must choose to NOT donate. This is  behavioral economics in practice. Law makers can influence behavior, but citizens still have the freedom to chose.

So what difference does this slight wording make? In Austria who employs an “opt-out” method, has over a 97% rate of citizens sighed up for organ donation. Neighboring Germany? Only 12%. One can assume that cultural attitudes and customers between these countries have similar feelings on organ donation. The only difference? Opt-out vs. opt-in policies.

Using the theory of Libertarian Paternalism to set “defaults” can be a powerful tool and should be used with respect. We must remember that as problem solvers we hold the ability to not only work through complex issues, but also “nudge” people in one direction or another.

Cultural Understanding Through Typography

Its easy to take for granted the relative ease not to mention the broad selection of character sets English writers have access to. But what happens when your languages typed characters are very close to a neighboring country with a completely different language? You get the The Balkan sprachbund or Balkan language area. This area that contains Serbia and Croatia share similar languages but different writing systems. To ease confusion between these languages.  Designers Nikola Djurek and Marija Juza used design to solve the problem. Enter Balkan Sans. This new font combine Cyrillic and Latin scripts into a single font set. This allows these neighboring countries to share content in a simplified manner. The designers state that the font system

 “… demystifies, depoliticizes, and reconciles them for the sake of education, tolerance, and, above all, communication”.

So whats this all mean? Say you were written an email in  Serbian  but you’re unable to  read Cyrillic? Just change the font to the Balkan Sans!

Why Its Hot

Just imagine the possibilities – education, entertainment…pen pals! This is just another example of how thoughtful design can have an immense impact on peoples lives.

Finding Empathy In Healthcare

As a student and believer in human centered design, empathy is at the core. Without “walking a mile” in someone’s shoes, truly understanding their journey is nearly impossible. Especially in Pharma, it seems that empathy from providers and partners is hard to find.  A recent Harvard study showed that 53% of physicians reported declining levels of empathy after several years of practice.

As science reveals more and more about disease, how can people truly feel empathy for some conditions they may have little understanding of? Klick labs has taken a shot at a real world “translation” by using bio-engineering and technology to “transfer” the uncontrollable movements associated with parkinson’s disease – they call it  “tele-empathy.

 

Why Its Hot

 As you can see in the video, even the twin brother is overcome as he, for the first time, can truly relate to his brother – imagine the impact on a doctor or care provider. This level of experience can truly give others empathy that could never be imagined before. With this type of experience do you think that HCPs may try different treatments or options? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Design Iteration to Reality

Design sprint, iteration, rapid prototyping – all wonderful things in a world of iterative design, but when you boil it down do any of these actually create something new? Too often prototypes are sent to the wayside due to production needs, cost or feasibility. We can’t forget that the bottom line is business – at the heart of it all is the question “will this product benefit the company.?”

So when AutoDesk engineers realized their prototype could save airlines $200 million a year suddenly people started to listen.

The prototype was for a new airline seat. In an industry where literally every pound matters replacing seat bases with a stronger and lighter version translates into thousands of gallons of jet fuel saved.

…one journalist calculated that just carrying one fewer bags of peanuts on flights for a year would save an airline $2,000 in fuel costs.

What makes this interesting however is the execution. The design, a “hive like” construction can very easily be 3D printed, but tend to be extremely difficult to mass produce. AutoDesk found a way to keep the design, but allow the part to be cast in magnesium.

The AutoDesk team worked and developed an entirely new way to combine 3D printing and the casting process to create the seats

The new seats could save airlines $100K per year, per aircraft. In addition to a massive reduction in fuel burn and emissions.

 

Why It’s Hot

 Too often good ideas get put in the drawer, this shows that good ideas not only can make it through but create new innovations in order to make that a reality. Moral of the story: Keep Pushing!

The Art of Color in Design

No matter what type of design we take on – graphic, experience, code or visual; each will eventually employ color as a major pillar of the final product. Though following brand guidelines are paramount, we as designers have the opportunity to use the psychology behind colors to improve the overall experience.

 

Studies have shown that in many purchasing decisions, especially in retail , cite color and aesthetics as key reasons why a puras was…or was not made.

Why Its Hot

As we all work on diverse accounts, using color theory to create, reinforce or stop an emotion could be very beneficial. In our pharma work for example, imagine as a patient learns of a diagnosis, or is introduced to a new drug. What could they be feeling? What experience do we want them to have? And are the colors showin guiding them towards or away? These questions can help us drive creative and give our customers the experience they deserve.

The Future of Marketing or Invasion of Privacy?

Headlines…and voice prompts were made this week as Burger King launched the “Hack the Home” campaign. The short 15 second TV ad uses the premise that there is so much great about the marquee product that the spokesperson couldn’t possibly name everything, so then the character states” OK google…what is a whopper”

Leveraging the activation phrase of the popular in home device, causes anyone with a Google home to hear about the Whopper from wikipedia.

Though  the ad was cunning,  is it also an invasion of privacy? With the rise of these in home devices, tricky advertisers are always looking for a way to grab your attention. But as these new technologies emerge, what is the line consumers will draw?

 

UPDATE: Well, though creative, the internet rules the day and has completely hijacked the campaign. Though the ad team obviously thought of a creative way to launch the Google Home, they apparently forgot that ANYONE can edit wikipedia. The Whopper page is now in constant edit mode with everything from added ingredients like “cyanide” to new slogans like “the whopper is the worst burger ever created”. In addition, it seems now Google is not happy with the stunt, and has released an update to prevent the ad from triggering the device….well…it was fun while it lasted!

 

 

 

 

Authenticity Rules

Short and sweet- consumers are SMART…they are active, social and can see ( and will call out) a miss. On the other end, they can certainly carry your message and brand farther than a marketer ever expected.

Product Placement : Good!

 

Product Placement: BAD!

Create A Custom Sweater – No Perspiration Required

Adidas has taken the bespoke clothing trend a bit farther with a new machine that allows customers to design, virtually try on and then produce their own custom sweater. Using new body scan technology, the in store device exactly measures the customer and then allows them to design their own pattern from 100’s of colors. The machine then knits right in store and you get a custom designed sweater.

Why Its Hot

Creating immersive  VR/AR experiences that are truly relatable and useful is a challenge for any innovator. Finding ways to make something standard like shopping for clothes and integrated it with the latest technology is a great way to engage consumers that might not have had exposure to this technology. As we work to create the best experiences possible its not always the most flashy execution that makes the experience worthwhile.

Drug Discovery With Deep Learning

Pharmaceutical companies are often at a crossroads when it comes to the development of new drugs. The current FDA process not only takes an enormous amount of resources, but also time. These processes put a large burden of risk on Pharma and could be a deterrent to future innovation.

Why Does It Take So Long?

The typical drug can take upwards of 18 years to hit the market, then (assuming all is approved) companies only have a relatively short amount of time to sell the drug under patent protection.

A large amount of time is spent just identifying which compound might be a solution for the problem at hand. Thousands of tests occur even before clinical trials are conducted.

How Can We Make This Better?

What if the sciences could get a jump start on those 1000’s of possible compounds? That’s just what Atomwise has done. Partnering with IBM they have leveraged their powerful AI data platform to create, model and test compounds and a molecular level.  This allows the team to rapidly test compounds and compute score around the likeness of effect. In addition, Atomwise can use current compounds to find treatments for other diseases like Ebola.

Why Its Hot

 Using the latest in powerful processing will allow more advancement than ever before. As computing power continues to increase, so does the opportunity to solve complex problems in the most efficient manner. This not only leads to more opportunities for development, but reduced time to market.

 

Managing The Internet Of Things

All you have to do is look at any coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) you would have been bombarded with devices that are now internet connected. From bike locks to light bulbs it seems that everything is getting connected. While a sexy interface accompanying app may be “whats hot”, in this new landscape what is truly useful? Author Douglass stated

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

And I think that holds true. Technology should be seen as seamless and useful rather than only being flashy. So…with that line of thinking, why would anyone need an wi-fi connected oven?  Well GE thinks you do, and I agree.

The GE Appliances team has developed Kitchen OS, a way for appliances to interact with applications. Using the Drop Scale kitchen crusaders can now get the exact ingredient measurements, steps and even oven temperature to ensure a perfect pizza

Why Its Hot

This seamless integration between technologies solves a problem many are familiar with, but most have no solution for. By using IoT in a non obtrusive and useful way GE is effectively leveraging technology to better the experience for their customers.

If Brands Were Honest

Plato is quoted as saying

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.

In today’s marketing world, that sometimes seems to be the case. But in a world where consumers can do their own research, what is the risk to brands who stray away from the path of being truly authentic?

Being honest, truthful and authentic includes the ability to poke fun at ones self.  Designer Clif Dickens created a website – Honest Slogans that does just that. My personal favorite is the honest slogan for “Hot Pockets”

Why Honesty Is Hot

 In a crowded market, being totally honest is a way to get a reaction, a laugh and most importantly attention. When brands can own their mistakes, or perceptions they can build trust and loyalty as consumers relate and appreciate their effort.

Honesty In Action

My favorite example of this is Arby’s.  Arby’s and Pepsi Co. had a contractual agreement to have Pepsi featured in two TV commercials each year. When the Arby’s marketing team was closing out their year, they found they only did one commercial.  Being honest about their mistake resulted in the following commercial:

 

Not only did they honor their agreement, but owned their mistake. This honesty created a great commercial that stood out from other fast food spots.

Examples like this show that brands who own their honesty have the ability to turn the truth… into profit.