NEW YORK, June 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New methodologies allow brand strategy and design agencies to move with the speed, creativity and collaboration of scrappy startups, said Stacy Hintermeister, Vice President of Marketing and Growth for CBX, during a webinar sponsored by BXP (Brand Experience) Magazine.
Moving faster was a top priority for CPG manufacturers even before the pandemic, but consumer needs and behavior are now changing in ways that underscore the need for agility, Hintermeister advised during the June 24 webinar ("Branding with Ferocity: Thinking Like an Indie Brand").
"You need to think and act differently," she said. "The Agile mindset forces you out of your comfort zone. It gives you a new frame of reference from which to work, as well as new tools and tricks, which we can all use these days."
Larger companies, the executive explained, now need to be able to bring new products and brands to market in record time. Based in CBX's Minneapolis office, Hintermeister is formally trained and certified in Agile Scrum and Design Thinking. Combining these nimble approaches can allow agencies to trim up to 18 months off of the new brand and product development cycle, she said.
Hintermeister noted that CBX's approach hinges on four to six "sprints" of two weeks each—short, time-boxed periods in which designated teams complete set tasks. "Sprints are really just a tool that allows for more focused collaboration," Hintermeister said.
Elements of Agile and Design Thinking can be applied to large-scale innovation such as rolling out hundreds or thousands of SKUs at once, or to drive the development of a wide variety of smaller projects. "It's anything from a renovation to an identity update," Hintermeister said. "It works across the board and can yield some incredible results."
According to Hintermeister, supportive elements in such a program can include workflow tracking and accountability tools like Airtable, Trello or Microsoft Planner. "Or that could just be good old-fashioned daily standups—let's talk for 15 minutes every day and figure out our game plan," she noted.
And while safety concerns mean that most brand strategy and design firms are relying heavily on teleconferencing software like Zoom, the executive added, not everyone takes full advantage of their more advanced collaborative features. "I recommend learning about all of the operational elements inside of these tools," Hintermeister said. "They are powerful: You can operate a virtual work session or go into breakout rooms. We've also started using a piece of software called MIRO that allows you to have virtual whiteboards, run collaborative work sessions and carry out design reviews."
From the standpoint of workplace culture, Hintermeister told the audience, the goal should be to raise the level of focus and intensity and empower teams to make decisions in ways that bring out their problem-solving skills and foster a collaborative spirit. But that cannot happen, she said, without enterprise-wide buy-in that starts at the very top. "If you want to shift to a startup mentality, it really has to be top-down. You need the support of the executive team and management in order to effectively change the mindset of an organization. What this is really about is changing the mindset, not just saving time."
Hintermeister was joined on the panel by Dan Caldwell, President of Remote Director; Jon Denham, Design, Branding & Innovation Leader at Lextant; Lindsey Frimming, Chief Innovation Officer at COG; and Jennifer Giannotti-Genes, Colgate-Palmolive's Global Brand Design Director for Personal Care, Home Care, Hill's Pet Nutrition and Tom's of Maine.
CBX is an independent agency specializing in brand strategy and design services, including branding, innovation, packaging and retail design. Founded in 2003, the company currently employs nearly 100 creative and support staff at its New York City headquarters and Minneapolis office. Its client list includes Mondelez, Kroger, Keurig Dr Pepper, General Mills, Hain Celestial, and Merck.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Stacy Hintermeister of CBX is available as a resource for articles related to brand strategy and design. Please see media contacts at end of release.