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5 examples of brands driving customer-centric innovation

Written by Alida

Published August 23, 2022

Customer centricity is now the ultimate “must have” for business empowerment that is assured to drive organizations to success.


By now you are probably familiar with the concept of “customer centricity”. If it’s yet to ring any bells, it essentially means to put the customer at the heart of your business to provide genuine customer value and consequently create an outstanding customer experience. Listening to and understanding the customers’ evaluations of your brand is an important part of this strategy, given that their feedback can drive continuous improvement. To do this, you must pay attention to what they have to say, be selective, gather the right data, and always find ways to put your customer-centric strategy into action.

We’ve highlighted five brands that stand out for their excellence in customer-centric innovation


1. Autodesk - Driving innovation and collaboration in the research community

Autodesk, Inc. is a multinational corporation ​​with a portfolio of software products and services for the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), manufacturing, media and entertainment, and education industries. As a customer-focused company, Autodesk invested in building an insight community for feedback and development. However, the company had to refocus their research efforts when a group of Revit customers—one of the first products they offered—contacted Autodesk unhappy about the business model and perceived investment in the product line. 

This prompted Autodesk to launch a response campaign that included listening sessions for feedback with customers worldwide and across social media channels. They also used their member hub to collect feedback and post sharebacks. Although this campaign allowed their Revit customers to feel heard and valued, a short-term solution wasn’t enough. the strategy shifted to an all-encompassing customer-centric strategy.

Autodesk created a two-tiered program that allowed them to achieve long term goals such as:

  • Higher representation and diverse perspectives in AEC research activities to ensure a wide variety of customers are being heard
  • Best-in-class research experiences that lead to a more positive brand perception and loyalty.

Within a year, Autodesk increased their research activities with Revit customers by 30%. Today, Revit customers show an 84% satisfaction rating, an increase of 12% from the previous year. Product users singled out the improved communication feedback loop as their highest driver of satisfaction (40% improvement).


2. Toyota - Putting the customers in the driver’s seat

Toyota strives to create vehicles that transform the way customers move and drive. With the emergence of new technologies and business models, the traditional car ownership and dealership model was being challenged. Customers demanded a change in the way the company interacted with them and conventional research wasn’t cutting it. Toyota Great Britain (TGB) needed to enhance their existing programs by finding a new way to truly ‘listen’ to their customers, prospects, dealerships, and staff, and put their voice at the heart of every decision.

ConsumerOne —a consent-based, engagement, and transparency-driven insight community—  was established in 2016 to support the acceleration of customer experience improvements through rapid feedback and testing. By combining traditional metrics with consent data from their communities, TGB now enjoys an authentic 360-degree view of stakeholders, such as existing customers, prospects, dealerships, and staff. ConsumerOne’s ability to get customer feedback in less than 24 hours has allowed TGB to rapidly scale insight gathering activities and meet deadlines.

This customer-centric enterprise can also be used internally to draw insights from past activities, and save time and money whilst accelerating project timelines. ConsumerOne also ensures a two-way value exchange with customers by delivering “behind the scenes” information regarding how their insights have inspired action at Toyota, thus motivating them to keep sharing their feedback.


3. Condé Nast - Consumer-centric focus Supports Condé Nast’s global vision

Condé Nast is a global media company that produces high quality content with a footprint of more than one billion consumers in 32 territories through print, digital, video, and social platforms. The original structure of Condé Nast’s custom insight teams spanned 12 countries and 19 brands. Each insight community worked independently and ran separate initiatives and research programs with limited centralized direction or support. This resulted in a challenging and fragmented understanding of their audience. It was clear Condé Nast needed to create a more holistic and integrated customer global strategy.

Condé Nast’s diverse insight communities are now integrated, deliver feedback on an ongoing basis, and have grown to include over 70,000 audience members across 12 countries and 17 brands. By having fast, agile access to highly-engaged customers, Condé Nast has found an efficient way to test ideas, reduce decision-making risk, test and launch programs that are optimized in near real time, and support revenue-generating programs in development. For instance, user experience teams have access to continuous feedback on how to refine their products and services whilst editorial teams can test content ideas before publishing.

Condé Nast considers consumer input and feedback part of their overall consumer-centric mission: it enables a better understanding of audiences’ preferences and motivations to ensure an optimized user experience and long-term customer value creation.


4. Keurig Canada - How ongoing dialogue with coffee fanatics enables Keurig to foster a consumer-centric culture

Keurig, a pioneer and leader in the single-serve coffeemaker business, uses consumer insight to accelerate product innovation, reduce business risks, and improve relationships with retailers. Keurig wanted a platform that continuously engaged with their target consumers, so they decided to build an organizational culture of consumer-driven decision making.

In effort to achieve this objective, Keurig launched Coffee Insiders, an insight community of 8,000 coffee fans. This community has allowed all major departments in the company to get a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape and identify opportunities.

By validating ideas with Coffee Insiders, Keurig is not only focusing their resources on viable and customer-valuable ideas, but also avoiding potentially costly mistakes. Likewise, the community delivers actionable insights and data-driven recommendations that Keurig shares with retail partners to help close deals faster.


5. Haggar’s Insight Team: Relying on the voice of our consumers is a trusted process

Haggar Clothing Co. is an innovative and growing menswear brand currently available in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company wanted to become the leading brand in the casual non-denim dress pants section of the market. Amidst pressure from the competition and turmoil in the retail sector, they realized that if they wanted to achieve their objective, it was time to change their strategy.

They used to make their marketing decisions based on gut feelings, instincts, and outdated industry files which they looked at on an annual basis. Haggar had to become more customer-centric in order to engage a hard-to-reach sub-segment of the population.

In 2017, the team launched Haggar Advisors, an insight community wherein they could gather customer feedback and have everyone in the organization in the loop, enabled and empowered to make smart business decisions with the customer in mind.  By testing their products before going to the market and iterating on go-to-market decisions, Haggar was able to validate investment decisions with their consumers before commitments were made.

Needless to say, this program was a success. The organization was impressed by how engaged consumers were with the brand and by the fact that they were willing to invest their time into providing feedback. The implementation of Haggar Advisors has helped accelerate innovation, increase customer satisfaction, deliver actionable insights to de-risk decisions, and grow revenue. A future goal of Haggar’s is to incorporate customer feedback in the product development process as well. 


Bottom Line

There are many advantages that come with a customer-centric approach: higher satisfaction rates, de-risked decision making, revenue growth, optimized user experience, delivery of genuine customer value, agile feedback collection, and a 360-degree view of the customer.

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