Situation/Objectives: A leading food service supplier is in a bind: their moderator informs them – the day before – that he/she is snowed-in and will not be able to lead a scheduled ideation session with one of their top customers. The objective is to brainstorm new products to help both the client and the customer gain new business in one of the largest quick service restaurant chains in the world.
Action: Bruce learns about this on a Sunday afternoon; gets briefed that evening, pulls together a quick discussion guide, and is ready to go with R&D, Sales, and Marketing – from both the client and a customer – at 7:30 AM the next morning. He suggests beginning the session talking not about R&D or products but brands, and uses a simple positioning ladder as a discussion guide. The discussion generates insights about the supplier’s and customer’s brands; identifies common brand equities and how they complement each other; specific product opportunities; and a stronger selling story.
Results: The ideation session generates many innovative product ideas, which are then culled down to fit three retail price points, and graded on ‘reality’: development time and production capacity. Several winners emerge for presentation to the customer and execution at retail in a three-to-twelve month time frame.