In honor of our 15th year of Insight & Imagination, we recently kicked off a special project called “Quote to Self.” If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the submissions on Instagram answering this one question: “What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?” It’s been exciting to hear the sage advice (and see some great throwback hairstyles) rolling in from our research participants, clients, employees and friends from all corners of the country. And while it develops week by week on Instagram, the project will go global in May and culminate in a consumer insight report with an exhibit at our September anniversary party.
Here’s a spotlight on one of our early contributors – Jose:
Born in July 1965, Jose from Hazel Park, Michigan, turned 15 in 1980, when Rubik’s cube and Pac-Man were released and became popular icons. In that same year, Mount St. Helen’s erupted and the USA men’s Olympic hockey team won gold – after defeating the Russian team in the “Miracle on Ice” – while Blondie topped the charts with “Call Me.” When we asked Jose what advice he’d give to his younger self, he stated:
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid of what anyone else thinks. They don’t care or can’t know what you are capable of achieving. Be weird, be bold, be ready to step out and feel new air on your face.”
What memories do you have of being 15? And what advice would you give to yourself at that age? We’d love to hear from you!
Visit our Quote to Self website to download an editable form and submit your responses to email@example.com. And to see the project in action and watch for your own quote, visit and follow our Quote to Self Instagram and Facebook pages.
March 21, 2019 | Creative, Culture, Quote to Self Project, Research
While some best practices for communicating with consumers—like having a clear and consistent brand voice and honoring your brand’s values—are timeless and universal, how the marketing world carries out its objectives has evolved. The growth of social media platforms has caused a shift in the location of advertisements, and marketers need to be aware of the differences, strengths, and weaknesses of each platform in order to choose the best tool for effective communication. Having a clear understanding of an industry’s objectives can also help determine which platform to use.
In order to transform consumers into long-term advocates, it’s essential to learn strategies that can be applied on each platform to attract, engage, and convert consumers. Of course, attracting an audience is all about grabbing their attention long enough to further engage them, so striking visuals and brief copy are essential. Engaging your audience goes hand-in-hand with understanding what they find important and demonstrating that your brand gets it. Once the audience is hooked, compelling them with actionable content and an emotional connection will convert them into advocates.
Interested in learning more about how to effectively communicate with consumers in this digital world? Visit our Insight Library to download the full report.
March 20, 2019 | Creative, Research
Imagine yourself at age 15. Where were you living? What fashion mistakes were you embracing? What goals did you want to achieve in your lifetime? These questions have been on our minds as we reflect on our own 15 years of insight and imagination at Fusion Hill. And in honor of our anniversary, we’re launching our Quote-to-Self project. The goal is to hear how people answer this one question:
What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?
What would you say to younger you? We hope you’ll participate by filling out this form. Bonus points if you ask your friends, family and coworkers to complete it too!
As we travel the country – and the world – in 2019, we’ll ask the same question of our research participants we meet in the field. It’s all part of our drive to discover what similarities connect people and what traits make them unique.
We’ll share responses and insights throughout the year on our Quote to Self Instagram account. Be sure to follow us to see the project grow!
February 19, 2019 | Creative, Culture, Quote to Self Project, Research
You’ve probably heard the term “writer’s block.” Well, we can assure you that that feeling of getting stuck isn’t limited to those of us tossing around nouns and verbs all day. From our researchers and strategists to our accounting team and designers, we’ve all found ourselves staring at a blank sheet of paper or flashing cursor. So what’s the solution?
Inspired by our new Insight on Rapid Prototyping, we asked our fellow Fusion Hill-ers what they do to get unstuck. Here’s some of what we heard:
Change locations – By far our most popular solution, going to a coffee shop, outside, home or even another part of the building for five minutes, gives us the reset we need. Emily Sauer – a director of creative and strategy – notes, “The newness of my surroundings helps ‘restart’ the way I was thinking about the problem I was trying to solve.”
Pick up some inspiration – Reading a favorite magazine, scrolling through Pinterest or walking around a museum – an idea from senior designer Sara Rubinett – can provide just the inspiration we need. Designer Erin Stahel refers to this as “switching out of creating mode and going into ‘soaking’ mode.” Sarah Nelson, a strategy intern, shared the idea of an inspiration walk.
Make a list – Adding more things to your to-do list might seem like the last thing you want when you’re feeling stuck, but Danielle Bender – a senior research strategist – finds it’s exactly what her brain needs. “I start a list of the other stuff I need to do and try to get a few of those things done and actually feel productive. Then I can come back feeling fresh and accomplished and maybe even have some ideas from my time away.”
Make some noise – Listening to music, a podcast or the Headspace meditation app are all great ways our team resets. Jessica Helvey – a director of creative and strategy – says, “I listen to my favorite ‘magic’ song that fixes everything and makes me super creative!” Just what is that favorite song? We’re curious too.
In our quest for ways to get unstuck, we heard praise for funny memes, hot showers and even roller-coaster rides at the Mall of America. But one thing was clear: While it can be tough to take a break when we’re facing a deadline, stepping away for a bit makes us a whole lot more productive and creative in the long run.
What are your favorite ways to reboot?
We’d love to continue the conversation. Visit our Insight Library to download the full report.
July 5, 2018 | Creative
The importance of representation in marketing
Think about the last time you flipped through a magazine, saw an ad for a gym or visited your favorite retailer’s website. Did you see anyone who looked like you? And did you see various races, genders, ages, religions and even disease states represented as well? If you answered yes to the second question, the brands you’re engaging with deserve a high five for their representation efforts.
The concept of representation refers to speaking or acting on behalf of someone – typically those who don’t have a voice, vote or means for being seen by those making decisions that impact them. And when it comes to marketing, the imagery we choose is an important first step.
Little choice, big applause
Slack – a project management and communication platform – recently made a seemingly little decision that got a great deal of positive attention: It chose a dark-brown-hand illustration for its “Add to Slack” button. Kaya Thomas summed up why it matters in a tweet: “It may seem like a small thing but when you see graphics over and over excluding your skin color, it matters.”1
Emojis continue to evolve
A few years ago, emojis moved from the standard yellow to including different skin tone options, and later additions included variations such as red hair. In a review of 1 billion tweets, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that use of skin tones has been largely positive. Dr. Walid Madgy noted, “The introduction of skin tone choices for emojis has been a success in representing diversity and their extensive use shows that they meet a real demand from users.”2 Recently Apple submitted a proposal for 13 new emojis that would represent people with disabilities. The new designs include a prosthetic arm and leg, hearing aids, people using sign language, and a wheelchair.3
Marketing takes note
Cannes Lions – a major festival and awards for the creative and marketing communications, entertainment, design and tech industries – took on the topic of representation by announcing the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change award, which recognizes work that challenges gender bias and stereotypical images in marketing. The award was launched with the support of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization,4 and in 2017 the “Fearless Girl” statue installed on Wall Street received the top accolade.5
So how can we be mindful of representation in our own work? In our latest Insight, we explore how next-gen is leading the way with a look at apps, social media and mental health companies. Check it out and, as always, contact us anytime. We’d love to continue the conversation.
June 11, 2018 | Creative