Monthly ArchivesJanuary 2017

Why research is as important as ever for your brand: a few minutes with Sue LaRue, SMZ Director of Strategy and Insights image

Few people are as enthusiastic about their work as our own Director of Strategy and Insights, Sue LaRue. Golden Retriever Derby Michelson, SMZ’s goodwill ambassador, is right up there but Sue is more likely to positively impact your business’s bottom line. Sue has worked in advertising and strategic research for over 20 years at such agencies as Doner, Mullen, BBDO, Carmichael Lynch and J. Walter Thompson. Her client experience includes Ford Motor Company, IKEA, The UPS Store, DuPont, Owens Corning, Panera Bread, Maytag, Virgin, Chrysler and more. Recently we sat down with Sue to ask her about her work, research and a few personal tidbits.  Incidentally, if Sue ever gives up Diet Coke, sales will plummet. What did you want to ...

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You need not be a brilliant brainiac to enjoy brainstorming image

Our SMZ process is “Listen. Think. Do.”  No need to come up with the perfect idea instantly, it’s important to listen first. We listen to our clients and consumers. We listen to research. We listen to category experts, we listen to data and we listen to each other. Then we think about all we’ve heard. We think about it strategically and realistically, looking for insights, comparing trends and exploring different perspectives and solutions. Part of the “Think” portion of our process includes brainstorming by individuals, in groups, department- wide or as a whole team.  We use fun exercises. We play well with others. No one’s title matters in these brainstorming sessions and crazy ideas are encouraged.  All ideas can be ...

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Trust Building by Brands Helps Customers Stay Loyal image

Trust comes into play in a lot of different ways in our day-to-day lives. We trust our friends and family to be there for us when we need a helping hand. We trust our alarm clocks to go off each morning (whether we like it or not) and we trust that our cups of coffee will give us the energy to tackle the day. Trust helps us build relationships, too. With the people we encounter throughout life and with brands. And just as some people are more trustworthy than others, so are certain brands. There are several brands I’m loyal to: Tropicana Orange Juice, Kate Spade and Dove Chocolate to name a few.  I’m loyal to them because they are ...

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