Jeremy Gutsche's innovation keynote features a very insightful and breakthrough section during which he discusses consumer driven innovation. Gutsche believes that innovation within a company must begin with the consumer. Teams looking to innovate or looking to revamp or revitalize their brand need to begin by intimately observing their clientele.
Observing a customer in their "zone" is, according to Jeremy, the most effective method to intimately understand them. He shares the tactic used by Cadillac's John Manoogian in his book:
"I interviewed Cadillac's head of external design, John Manoogian, about the Escalade, which was the bestselling full size SUV for several years. The Escalade was successful because it became an icon for hip hop culture. Eagerly, I asked him, 'How did you make it all happen? Product placement in rap videos?' Manoogian explained that the success was a surprise. The vehicle was targeted toward older affluent males.
John knew that the customer that would drive the Escalade's success was a customer he knew nothing about. Accordingly, he went to one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit and waited for an Escalade to drive by. Who do you think drives the Escalade in such a neighborhood?
He then introduced himself to the driver in a way that probably sounded like this: 'Excuse me, young man, but may I accompany you for a ride as you conduct your business?"'
The fastest way to gain perspective on your customers and their needs is by going directly to the source. For more information about consumer driven innovation and business advice, check out the FREE copy of 'Exploiting Chaos' here.
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