I've been fortunate enough to work for a lot of great companies and most of them were open to new ideas and innovations in process, products, promotions and programs.
I'm sharing some of those examples here.
Brand Programming Innovation
Breath Savers National Targeted Sampling Program
Idea - Accelerate and widen product trial through innovative national targeted sampling
Beverage Technology Innovation
Coca-Cola Glass Front Vending Machine
Solution: We built a national, targeted sampling program focused on key service brands travelers rely on. These partners included airlines (Delta, United and American), Hotels (Marriott, HIlton and Holiday Inn) and Rental Cars (Hertz, Budget and Enterprise)
Results: Pilot test was successful and expanded to key, targeted, opportunity markets and we saw upticks in retail velocity which translated into distribution gains in key retailers and much positive feedback from both partners and consumers.
Challenge: Breath Savers had high product efficacy and a unique flavor/mouth feel benefit that couldn't effectively be conveyed through traditional communication mediums.
Insight: Business travelers have a high need for fresh breath and confidence as they move in and out of many different social and business situations.
Solution: We developed a glass front vending machine with unique and proprietary elements including a beverage "elevator" arm to transport the product and a Coca-Cola bottle-shaped opening customers retrieved the product from. The glass front also allowed all of the actual products and their packages to be seen as they truly are - - unique in design and refreshing.
Results: Venders in pilot tests saw single to double-digit increases in revenue/machine and test was expanded nationally and later, internationally. That vending machine remains one of the most breakthrough technologies in Coke's vending history.
Challenge: Despite having a captive audience where they had workplace vending machines placed, Coca-Cola didn't see the purchase/consumption levels one would expect from these indoor consumer groups.
Insight: Traditional vending machines did very little to evoke thirst nor to leverage the packaging designs and unique product package shapes of the key Coca-Cola brands they held. Office workers need positive, energizing distractions sometimes.
Idea - Change the vending consumer experience to better leverage product packaging to drive thirst and engagement
Financial Services Innovation
Financial Services Retail and Partnership Innovation
Financial Services Innovation
E*TRADE Investment kit
Financial Services Retail and Partnership Innovation
E*TRADE/Target Retail Partnership
Idea - Introduce a service brand through a packaged good experience
Challenge: E*TRADE only existed online and potential customers had no physical location to visit or discover the brand through.
Insight: If we could productize E*TRADE services, we could more easily drive awareness and trial through a physical product distributed online and offline
Solution: We created the E*TRADE investment kit. A packaged good which could be used for the consumer to easily open an account or give some an investment account as a gift. Inside the package was a mechanism to open an account with a prefunded $100 account balance and a copy of the Motley Fool investment book all for $49.95.
Results: Thousands of kits sold through online distribution (Amazon) and offline retailers (Target, Barnes & Noble and others) and thousands of incremental retail investment accounts opened for E*TRADE.
Idea - Leverage a credible retail partner to accelerate brand adoption for a new service offering brand
Challenge: E*TRADE had a limited physical presence in the marketplace. They needed to bolster their credibility in a meaningful and scalable way.
Insights: Female head of households had the majority influence on household financial services decisions. Partnering with a credible retail brand (to women) could leverage that brand's equity while also providing a physical, scalable partner with available retail space for E*TRADE.
Solution: We built a partnership with E*TRADE which created E*TRADE "zones" within Target Superstores. These "zones" could facilitate self-directed learning through educational kiosks with content. These zones were staffed and offered services such as opening banking accounts, depositing stock certificates. E*TRADE was also able to secure in-store E*TRADE Bank ATMs.
Results: Thousands of retail investment accounts opened and program scaled to more than 25 locations nationally.
Consumer Durables Naming Innovation
Lexmark Product Naming Innovation
Idea - Use product naming to differentiate and create engagement
Challenge: Lexmark was a challenger brand in the printer space (#4 or 5 depending on channel/market) and needed to stand out/differentiate in many ways.
Insight: Printer category names tended to be meaningless model numbers. This seemed arbitrary and limiting.
Solution: Create a memorable and meaningful naming strategy which was both differentiating within the category and more memorable and engaging for consumers.
Prospect, Prevail, Pinnacle and Platinum for Pro-Series and Home Series featuring Impact, Interact, Intuition and Interpret.
Results: Both printer lines won industry awards but most importantly, gained retail share in Office Retail channel; sourcing gains primarily from Epson and Kodak.
Lexmark's World's Lowest Black Ink cost $4.99 Ink Cartridge
Idea - Deliver meaningful SMB benefit of cost of operation through ink value, not additional product features
Challenge: Lexmark as a challenger brand was outspent in the market and didn't have the same breadth of distribution as other players. Needed creative ways to stand out.
Insight: The biggest pain point for printer owners wasn't lack of technology or limited feature sets. It was the price of ink.
Solution: We figured out a way to offer the World's Lowest Black ink cost/$4.99 cartridge and drove this message globally to differentiate and stand out.
Results: This initiative drove considerable unpaid, global coverage and media support. This benefit also helped drive double-digit adoption of Pro-Series printers who carried it. Numerous industry awards were gained form this effort as well.
Corporate Capability Innovation
Humana Internal Agency (Brandworks) Process and Governance Innovation
Idea - Drive accelerated adoption of enterprise rebranding through superior internal stakeholder tools and resources
Challenge: I was hired by Humana to help them launch a new masterbrand architecture across the Enterprise and also lead the large, internal agency (BrandWorks). When I started, there was no effective project intake system nor brand governance infrastructure.
Insight: Too many teams within the organization were creating content and marketing materials with little to no strategic foundation and there was much program duplication across the company. There also were no governance or education resources to help a large company efficiently and effectively evolve to a new brand.
Solution: I implemented the Brandmaker project intake and management platform, built out an internal help desk capability and created educational content and governance processes to help the Enterprise transition to the new masterbrand structure while also ensuring that projects were created based on strategic relevance not just because there was a desire to do something.
Results: Saved the company an estimated $22MM through a strategic and staged brand infrastructure build and rollout while also efficiently ensuring 2500+ projects during the year were on brand and on-strategy for their respective business units.
Customer Acquisition/Promotion Innovation
Challenge: E*TRADE was a smaller, challenger brand in the financial services category at that time and needed an innovative way to generate excitement and interest while also acquiring new investment account customers.
Insight: We were targeting middle-aged to older customers to ensure account size viability and learned through research that attending concerts was a favorite pastime of this group.
Tina Turner Tour Sponsorship And Customer Acquisition Innovation
Idea - Introduce disruptive and creative promotion by turning target customer lifestyle interest into unique brand adoption promotional offer
Solution: We ended up sponsoring Tina Turner's tour that year and also built out a market-by-market rolling promotional program whereby customers who wanted to see Tina's show in their market simply had to open an investment account with a defined minimum balance and they'd receive two tickets to the show in their city. This was promoted via promotional radio and sponsorships and supplemented with online media.
Results: Over 10,000 fully-funded accounts were open and the program generated significant levels of earned media due to the innovative structure and ties to the Tina Turner Tour. This success also culminated in a sponsorship of that year's Super Bowl halftime show for the E*TRADE brand.
Consumer Promotion Innovation
Consumer Promotion Innovation For Stoker's Brand.
Idea - Leverage social media to deliver a disruptive promotion focused on challenger brand's ownable packaging heritage
Challenge: Stoker's was a challenger brand which had limited resources but a well-differentiated product. Stoker's also had just started to build out a social media presence primarily on Instagram.
Insight: The dominant product form in the smokeless tobacco category was the 1.2 oz. can product but Stoker's made its name in the category by being the first to introduce the value 12 oz. tub. Stoker's couldn't go head to head against the major, can-dominant competitive brands, but could lean into the tub form for powerful differentiation and impact.
Solution: My team created an original promotion focused on building "The World's Largest Tub" (22 feet tall) of moist tobacco and challenged consumers to guess how many 1 oz. cans could fit in the tub to win one of 5 all expenses paid trips for two to Nashville's CMA Fest.
Results: The promotion generated 8MM+ impressions on Instagram, over 65K entries and significant earned media for the novelty of the execution, In case you're curious, the correct answer was 1,792,955 cans.