Monday, May 24, 2010


I am fascinated by the following stipulated "success traits" of a competent Market-Consumer Insights Manager for a MNC:

Success Traits:

Analytical Ability:
The ability to identify problems, analyze relevant data, think critically, generate alternatives, and select appropriate solutions. Ability to think rationally and logically, recognize and test assumptions. Move to problem resolution by identifying facts, causes and issues and present solutions.

Business Acumen/Brand Championship:
Demonstrates good business sense, including the ability to make effective and efficient use of financial resources to achieve intended results. Consistently demonstrates the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of the brands to allow them to make decisions that will support long-term brand growth and generate greater profits.

Business innovation:
The ability to identify articulated and unarticulated consumer and customer needs, and demonstrate solid business sense, and the ability to generate unique and effective solutions by being sensitive to the true business issue(s) spoken or otherwise. This includes: the ability to generate options and alternatives to problems or issues, present and encourage new ideas, appropriately question accepted ideas or solutions, and recommend alternative approaches as necessary. Asks "what if" questions, and, can, individually and within in a team context, ideate to tactics, ideas, and new directions.

Coaching and development:
The ability to provide opportunities for development and feedback that enhances employees' skills. Motivates, instructs, directs, teaches, mentors, or in any other planned manner, influences the development of individuals' skills and competencies relevant to current or future job. Provides helpful and thorough answers to questions. Fosters comfort with consumer and marketing research applications. Uses a flexible personal leadership style and knowledge of best practices within insight generation to guide individuals and groups toward development and application of this technique. Teaches within these insight-development opportunities so that participants are equipped to generate insights independently.

Critical Thinking/Judgment and Decision Making:
Possesses curiosity that drives further understanding of a subject. Is open minded in assessment of new ideas and valuation of resources. Is clear and deliberate in deciding upon a course of action or solution. Applies logic, inference, and available information to make decisions. Understands mandatory and desired criteria, and understands risks associated with the decision.

Effective Knowledge Management:
The ability to take information and prioritize what is important, then synthesize and analyze to determine the essential, actionable message. Concisely communicate it with appropriate audiences. For combining with Research Acumen.

Flexibility/Adaptability/Tolerance of Uncertainty:
Adapts to, and works effectively with, individuals or groups in a variety of situations. Is able to understand and appreciate different perspectives, adapt one's approach as situations change, effectively introduces and implements new methods, processes or changes to the status quo and accepts changes introduced by others.

Insight Generation and Application:
The ability to look at information, findings, and/or results and peel back the layers to get to the underlying reasons (motivations) that are fundamental, valid, or sound. Demonstrates the ability to separate insights that are "nice to know" from those that can build the business. Uses these "actionable insights" in conjunction with business partners to create recommendations that can produce immediate and/or long-term Brown-Forman business success.

Articulates and drives understanding of goals/objectives or insights and inspires others to listen and act accordingly.

Managerial Courage/Customer Focusing/Organization Agility /Adaptability (Advanced):
Having the courage to convey controversial findings and/or recommendations in the face of opposition. Ability to instill confidence in any finding/recommendation which may be controversial and to show resilience in the face of constraint, frustrations or adversity.

Proactive and Effective Communicator/Ability to Instill Confidence:
Ability to exchange and explain information and concepts to others in an understandable manner. Ability to interact openly and directly; able to conduct difficult conversations with minimal surprise. Effectively uses both written and verbal skills in formal and informal communication. Perceived as a subject matter expert. Able to bring facts, logic, and reason to action with others.

Proactive Opportunity Identification:
Leads the identification of critical knowledge gaps for Brown-Forman relative to consumers and the marketplace; creates and prioritizes potential research and marketing solutions to address these.

Relationship Management:
The ability to develop, maintain and strengthen relationships with others - both inside CIG, across B-F, and outside the organization. Builds rapport and cultivates collaborative working relationships.

Research Data/Acumen:
Proven ability to understand the basics of research and data sources as critical tools for insight generation. Capable of understanding various methodologies and data sources and their appropriateness for applying to a particular business issue. Able to advocate CIG "best practices." Remains current on innovative research techniques.

Strategic Thinking:
Develops a vision of the consumer in the future. Taps a deep knowledge of the consumer, the spirits and wine categories, and competitive set brands. Develops alternative courses of action against that future vision. Allocates resources based on this developed vision of the future consumer.

Obviously, all the "success traits" pertain to soft skills ~ stuff that are still hardly taught in the university curriculum.

Something to ponder about when you want to be future-savvy in today's business landscape.

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