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  Lisa Hays, President / CEO

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What decisions do you need to make?

Our clients represent a wide variety of industries with very different backgrounds, situations, decisions to make and insight needs.  Fresh Perspective delivers insight to clients to guide them in making the right strategic decisions whether in customer, market or competitor initiatives.  Below are examples of situations and insight needs we’ve helped our clients address.  Your situation and insight needs will always be different.  However, these examples help demonstrate the breadth of our experience.



Customer Initiatives
We are developing our future company strategy. We have several questions we need to address in order to set our strategies.
  • What do our customers expect from us?
  • How are they evaluating our brand/company vs. others?
  • How can we effectively differentiate ourselves from competition?

Our industry is changing rapidly. We need to understand the perspectives of our customers in several areas.
  • How rapidly are they changing their companies?
  • Are we perceived as being as progressive competitively as we think we are?
  • What are their greatest concerns?
  • What role do they expect us to play in assisting them through the market transition?

To what extent will our brand equity benefit us when entering a new market segment? We’ve built a successful business and strong brand equity within the health care industry in one market segment and are ready to expand into another segment.
  • What do our customers perceive as our greatest strengths?
  • Do we have the credibility to effectively extend our brand into this new segment?
  • The customer base is very similar. Should we use the same sales force or a different sales force? How do the communications between the segments need to vary?

Our industrial product has a long decision-making process, and key influencers play a significant role in the selection of the type of product purchased and the supplier selected.
  • What is the awareness of our product type among key influencers?
  • What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of our product type vs. the other options?
  • How do customers and key influencers gain information about different product types and suppliers?
  • What are the key decision criteria when the choice is made among product types and suppliers for the product type selected?
  • What is the current perception of our company as a supplier? How does it differ among customer and influencer groups?
  • What are the characteristics of the “best in class” suppliers?
  • Among customers and key influencers what are the preferred ways for us to communicate with them about our company and the products we offer?

We know we’ve been losing customers over the past couple of years. We need to find out what the reason(s) are and get a handle on the situation.
  • What are we doing well from the perspective of our current customers? What issues do they have? What is important to them in their supplier relationships? Are we in danger of losing current customers?
  • What are the reasons that past customers have left? What suppliers are they using now? How pleased are they with those suppliers? Is it feasible to gain them as customers again? If so, what would be required?
  • For those companies we consider prospects, what are their perceptions of our firm? How do we compare to our competitors from their perspective? What is the likelihood we could gain them as customers, and what would that require?

We are launching a new product. We know that our customers are bombarded with new product information daily.
  • What communication vehicles, messages and frequency will help us break through the marketing clutter to effectively reach our customers?
  • Beyond the launch, what will be the best ways to communicate?

We’re getting ready to head into a new product development initiative.
  • What do our customers think of the current products on the market?
  • What improvements are desired?
  • Are they willing to pay for product enhancements?

The hobby enthusiasts using our products are becoming more involved in their hobby.
  • Given that we provide storage products for the components of this hobby, what are the drivers for purchasing more component products?
  • What storage methods are they using today that aren’t specialized to the hobby? What functionality are they looking for in storage products?
  • Where are they currently shopping for storage products?
  • To what extent is price a key consideration?
  • How seriously are our competitors expanding their offerings in storage products?
  • What do we need to do to assist our retailers in maximizing this opportunity?

It is important for us to increase our US presence. Although we are a prominent European luxury brand, we aren’t sure how well the advertising messages that are successful in Europe will be in the US.
  • Do our European advertising messages communicate effectively to the luxury consumer in the US?

We’ve identified several new academic programs and need to prioritize. As the second campus of a major university we’ve done a good job of growing so far. To continue our growth we’ve identified several potential academic programs to bring to this campus. It’s obviously a huge investment to add academic programs.
  • For the Kansas City area firms that would potentially hire individuals who graduate from these academic programs, to what extent do they believe these academic programs would provide significant workforce benefits to them?
  • Are the workforce sectors that would hire these graduates growing?
  • Do they anticipate future need for employees with these academic backgrounds?
  • What are they looking for in graduates that these programs can address?

Our conversion rate from those that visit to those that become students has decreased.  We are still the largest school of our type locally.  We deliver a premium learning experience.   We believe part of the reason for the conversion decrease is several new competitors.  However, we want to make sure we are delivering to potential students what they are looking for in a school visit and clearly communicating our programs and the value of our school’s learning experience, and subsequent job potential.

  • What messages are we delivering to potential students during the visit?
  • How professionally and effectively are we delivering our messages and the value of our school to prospective students who visit?
  • How do the school visits we offer vary from those of our key competitors? 
  • Are key competitors more effectively delivering their messages and value than we are?
  • How are key competitors positioning themselves?

We are launching a new veterinary pharmaceutical product.  We know that the veterinarians we serve are bombarded with new product information daily. 
  • What communication vehicles, messages and frequency will help us break through the marketing clutter to effectively reach our customers?
  • Beyond the launch, what will be the best ways to communicate?


Market Initiatives

It is clear that on a global basis we must reduce our use of fossil fuels, establish and maintain conservation measures and successfully develop substantial clean, plentiful and renewable fuels.  In addition, we must reduce our carbon footprint, capturing and sequestering carbon to the extent possible in order to reverse the trend toward global warming and the decline of natural resources for future generations.Our client, a global engineering firm wanted to understand the predominance of a specific renewable fuel on a global basis. 
The questions we helped them address included:

  • What is the current level of development of this fuel?  Who is leading in the development?
  • To what extent are governments funding the development of this fuel in addition to private funding?
  • How does the development, evaluation and funding of this particular fuel compare to other potential renewable fuels by country?
  • Who are the greatest supporters of the fuel?
  • How likely is this fuel to become a viable, substantial fuel that reaches a significant production capacity and large-scale usage?  Vs. other renewable fuels?
  • What are the primary pros and cons of this fuel vs. other renewable fuels?

As we seek “greener”, more sustainable and earth-friendly practices on a governmental, corporate and citizen level, we are beginning to see considerably more corporate responsibility reporting on the efforts and progress they are making to reduce the negative impact that their business has had on the environment and move toward a “net zero” impact in the future.  Our client, a large global engineering firm, is both assisting their clients in becoming more sustainable and determining specifically what steps they will be taking internally in the future.  The questions we helped them address:

  •   For competitors, clients, prospects and huge global players across industries, what key performance metrics are they using to evaluate their performance?
  •   For each of these organizations, how are they performing on these metrics?
  •   How is each organization speaking internally and externally about how they are addressing the issue of long-term sustainability, and what they perceive their role to be as good corporate citizens?
  •   How do the metrics, the performance and the messages vary by type and size of organization, country in which they are headquartered, etc.?

 

Technology has been a major driver of innovation and growth in just about every industry.  However, the infrastructure of the U.S. electrical power grid has not kept pace.  It is now time for a massive undertaking, commonly known as the “Smart Grid” that will begin with revisions to the underlying electrical infrastructure and continue until the new technologies – and the advantages they bring come into our homes.  Our client, a global engineering firm, is involved in developing, constructing and deploying the Smart Grid.  The questions we helped them address were:

  •   For each of our key competitors, what is their involvement level in the Smart Grid?
  •   To what extent are they currently involved, vs. making plans to become involved?
  •   To what extent are they partnering with other firms with complementary services to offer a  more “complete” solution to the electrical utilities?
  •   Which electrical utilities are moving most rapidly toward a Smart Grid?  What steps have they taken to date?  To what extent are they encouraged or hindered by their state’s legislation?

We’re considering purchasing a company in the dairy industry. We are concerned about the future supply and pricing of the key ingredient in this company’s primary product.

  • What are the future projections for supply and pricing of this ingredient? What are the key economic factors driving the supply and pricing issues?
  • Are there other market trends and factors that are important to consider?

We need to expand into other market segments. While we have been very successful in growing our business through our initial market segments, we know that to continue our growth we need to enter new market segments. We have identified 5 potential market segments. However, we need to prioritize.
  • Which of these 5 market segments have the greatest likelihood of success?
  • For the priority segments, how do we need to do business differently to achieve our desired growth?
  • Within the high priority segments, where should we start first?
  • What is the competitive landscape? Which competitors are of greatest concern?

Our industry is in a major transition, and we know we’re not changing as quickly as we need to be. We need to set our strategies and begin implementing quickly.
  • What are the most significant industry trends? How quickly is the industry changing? Which market segments are growing most quickly?
  • Who are the competitors of most significance? What is driving their success?
  • What are key competitors’ strategies, methods of executing their strategies and their target market segments of most importance?

We’d like to expand our product line into a new market segment that is experiencing significant growth.
  • What is driving that growth? Is the growth expected to continue?
  • Who are our key competitors in that market segment?
  • How do customers in that segment vary from our current customers?
  • Do we need to change our product, packaging or pricing to effectively compete in that segment?

We’ve identified the significant emphasis on increased renewable energy as a major opportunity for our firm. Given our strengths in building infrastructure, we want to pursue the progressive states that have already legislated Renewable Protocol Standards (RPS).
  • Among the states that currently have an RPS in place, what are the strategies of the key utilities within those states to achieve the renewable energy standards?
  • To what extent are they buying or building renewable energy?
  • Are their current strategies focused on meeting short-term requirements, or building long-term production facilities?
  • For each of the key states, what types of renewable energy are selected (e.g. hydro, wind, solar, biofuels, etc.)?
  • For each utility, what is the role of those who have responsibility for renewable energy strategies?

As an agricultural lender we are experiencing a great deal of transition in our market.
  • What are the key new products within the financial sector that have application to agricultural producers?
  • What is the expected growth for ethanol and other biofuels?
  • What is the impact of ethanol and other biofuels on the prices of crops, seed and land?
  • How can we assist in the generational transition of farms from those nearing retirement and the younger generations wanting to assume responsibility?
  • What are producers among the younger generations expecting from agricultural lenders?
  • Who is our major competition for the younger producers, and what is our current competitive standing?

As an industry association we know in order for us to grow we’ve got to help grow our industry. We need to become a greater industry resource for our members.
  • Which market segments provide the greatest growth opportunities for our members? What is driving growth in those segments?
  • How are our members perceived relative to other industry groups seeking to grow in these segments?
  • What can we do as an association to increase the competitive standing of our members?

What do we need to know about Generation Y to successfully grow our business? We know that the majority of our customers are young people. We also know Generation Y individuals are a lot different than individuals from previous generations. We’re just not sure how we need to change to appeal to Generation Y without alienating any of our current customers.


The “country living” lifestyle trend appears to provide an opportunity for us. We know that these individuals differ from traditional rural residents/farmers.
  • From a marketing perspective, how does communicating with this consumer segment differ from traditional rural residents and farmers?
  • How significant is this trend? Does it differ on a regional basis?
  • What is driving the trend? Is it expected to continue?
  • How can we most effectively market to this segment?

We see a potential market opportunity in Nutraceuticals.
  • What is required to expand from testing food products for contaminants to also testing supplements and other Nutraceuticals?
  • How large is the Nutraceuticals market in the US?
  • What is the expected future growth? What is driving growth?
  • Who are we competing with in that market? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Renewable energy provides a major opportunity for our firm.  Our strengths are in building infrastructure.
  • Targeting the most progressive states – that already have legislated Renewable Protocol Standards (RPS), what are the strategies of the key utilities within those states to achieve their RPS?
  • To what extent are they buying or building renewable energy?
  • Are their current strategies focused on meeting short-term requirements, or building long-term production facilities?
  • For each of the key states, what types of renewable energy are selected (e.g. hydro, wind, solar, biofuels, etc.)?
  • For each utility, what is the role of those who have responsibility for renewable energy strategies?

As an agricultural lender we are experiencing a great deal of transition in our market.
  • What is the expected growth for ethanol and other biofuels?
  • What is the impact of ethanol and other biofuels on the prices of crops, seed and land?

As an industry association in the construction industry, we need to assist our members in becoming more knowledgeable about the market trends.  
  • What is the impact of the trend in “Green Buildings”?
  • Is LEED going to become the standard for green buildings?
  • To what extent can participate with the USGBC in defining standards?

Our company’s products are livestock and companion animal focused.  Livestock products are sold through the farm & fleet channel and companion animal products through the pet specialty retailers.  However, the “country living” lifestyle may provide opportunity for our companion animal products in the farm & fleet channel.
  • How large is the “country living” lifestyle trend?  What are future forecasts?
  • Are there significant regional differences?
  • Can we effectively introduce our companion animal products into this channel?

We (animal feed manufacturer) have recently been acquired by a larger company. We need to demonstrate to our new owners/management:
  • The size of the markets we serve, and how growth of the “country living lifestyle” is contributing to market growth.  
  • The growth trends and potential within each of the key market segments (dog, cat, equine, goat, family flock, wild life, wild bird, small animal).

We have developed a new tuberculosis (TB) test for primates.  We are working on our marketing plan and want to ensure we are approaching the market correctly. 
  • Where are the largest concentrations of primates in the US?
  • Who makes the decision on TB testing for these primates?
  • What criteria do they use to determine what TB test to use and how frequently?
  • What is the best method for introducing our new product to these decision makers?


Competitor Initiatives
How do our customers and prospects currently perceive our brand? We want to ensure we are protecting our brand image. We are in a complicated and competitive industry. We need to take both our customers and individual consumers into account.
  • On what factors are we differentiated today?
  • How do we compare to our competitors on being progressive in key areas?
  • What can we do to improve our brand image and equity?

We need to gain the level of understanding of our top US competitors that our European headquarters has of European competitors.
  • What are each competitor’s branding, marketing and operations strategies? How are they pursuing these strategies?
  • What is our competitive standing in key areas?
  • What are our greatest opportunities and threats?
  • How does this differ on a regional and market segment basis?

A large European conglomerate made an offer to buy our company.
  • We need to know as much as possible, as fast as possible, about this company in order to know how to respond.
  • We need an overview of the company, its management, its strategic plan, its growth strategies, its acquisition history globally, its track record of US acquisitions, and anything else that will help us evaluate this offer – FAST!
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