WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

BROWSE BY TAG

see all

CMB at TMRE 2017

Posted by Savannah House

Fri, Jul 21, 2017

The Market Research Event (TMRE) is one of—if not THE—favorite conference of ours each year. It’s the industry’s “can’t miss” event where over 1,000 market research and insights professionals descend upon Orlando, Florida for three days jam-packed with speaker sessions, learnings, networking, and more. As a supplier, TMRE is an opportunity for us to catch up with clients, peers, and colleagues, while learning (and sharing) the latest industry trends and topics.tmre-1.png

This year, we’re especially excited to be teaming up with one of our favorite clients, ABC, to present on recent work we completed on content discovery in the age of disruption.

Digital disruption is on every business leader’s mind. From the financial services industry to entertainment, we’re all susceptible to the technological forces reshaping how the world works. Technology is empowering consumers—providing them more decision-making power, more options, and higher expectations.

This consumer-centric digital disruption is particularly important to the entertainment industry. There is more original content (and ways to view it) available than ever before, so content creators and broadcasters like ABC need to understand what drives consumers to try a new show AND what keeps them watching. Consumers’ time is precious, and with a seemingly endless supply of content available at their fingertips, they choose wisely.

At TMRE, CMB’s VP of Travel & Entertainment, Judy Melanson, and ABC’s Director of Sales Research, Lyndsey Albertson, will share learnings from a comprehensive content discovery initiative that will resonate with any brand looking to gain traction with new products while navigating a market in flux. Audience members at TMRE will get an inside look at the art and science behind ABC’s deep understanding of the view path to engagement, loyalty, and advocacy.

Speaking of loyalty—some brands may think it’s a hard thing to come by these days. But with the right insights, it’s possible to stay relevant in today’s fickle consumer market.

Another client of ours, SF-based robotics and AI firm, Anki, will also be presenting on an exciting multi-phased segmentation study we recently completed with them. While creating a truly engaging, long-lasting product may begin with understanding your target segment, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) end there. Effective segmentation should act as a roadmap for product innovation, be a guide for marketing and sales efforts… and quite frankly serve as gospel for the entire company.      

Jeff Resnick, Sr. Director of Global Consumer Insights at Anki, will share the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows, the blood, sweat, and tears… that go into working at a start-up seeking to understand the true essence of WHO is most interested (and will stay interested) in their new products. Their consumer-friendly robot, Cozmo, is cute and all, but what also keeps him relevant is his deep emotional engagement with current and future customers

Want a sneak peek on our segmentation work with Anki? Click below for your copy of a recent webinar hosted by Jeff Resnick and CMB’s VP of Digital Media & Entertainment, Brand Cruz:

Watch Now

 Will we see you at TMRE? If so, as a sponsor, we’re happy to extend a special discount for you to join us. Mention code TMRE17CMB when registering. We also encourage you to visit our booth and attend either (or both!) presentations:

We’re looking forward to connecting and sharing insights with you at TMRE in October!

Savannah House is the Marketing Manager at CMB who is looking forward to connecting with other insights professionals at TMRE in October! 

Topics: Market research

How My Company Keeps Me Loyal

Posted by Tara Lasker

Thu, Jul 13, 2017

CMB word cloud copy.png

As a Research Director at CMB, part of my job is attracting and retaining top talent. I meet dozens of candidates each month, and even though I interview for a variety of different positions, everyone asks how long I’ve worked at CMB.

As LinkedIn reminded me recently, that answer is 17 years. 

The average American stays with their company for just 4 years. Being here for 17, I’d say I’m pretty lucky to have found a company that’s kept me interested, engaged, and loyal after all this time.

What is it that keeps me happily returning to work each day? Interviewing candidates offers me the opportunity to reflect and share what I love about CMB:

  1. Variety: We’re a full-service custom research firm whose focus is on helping solve our clients’ biggest, most complex business challenges. And since our clients include everyone from national financial institutions to Silicon Valley-based tech companies, no two challenges are the same. I’m constantly exposed to new challenges and therefore consider myself a “professional learner"—it never gets old.
  1. Flexibility: Professional services can be a demanding environment, but we strive to create a culture that honors work/life balance. Not only that, we have flexibility to work from home if the occasion calls for it, while some CMBers work remotely full-time. As a mom of two young kids, I especially value this flexibility!
  1. Growth: I’ve held several roles since starting at CMB, each of which has been an opportunity to explore different career paths while leveraging my strengths. I’ve tried and tested and now, as a manager of a large team, encourage my direct reports to explore and grow. It’s extremely satisfying to support the promotion of my colleagues and encourage their professional development opportunities.

Variety, flexibility, and growth have been the cornerstones of my CMB experience. We have a wonderful company culture that values creativity, hard work, and individual growth.

Interested in learning more? Check out our open positions and feel free to ask me questions in the comments!

Tara Lasker is a Research Director on CMB's Technology and eCommerce practice and is grateful to have found her professional home here.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, Market research

MR Insights from the 2016 Election: A Love Letter to FiveThirtyEight

Posted by Liz White

Thu, Nov 03, 2016

social-icons-01.png

Methodology matters.  Perhaps this much is obvious, but as the demand for market researchers to deliver better insights yesterday increases, dialing up the pressure to limit planning time, it’s worth re-emphasizing the impact of research approach on outcomes.  Over the past year, I’ve come across numerous reminders of this while following this election cycle and the excellent coverage over at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com.  I’m not particularly politically engaged, and as the long, painful campaign has worn on I’ve become even less so; but, I keep coming back to FiveThirtyEight, not because of the politics, but because so much of the commentary is relevant to market research.  I rarely ever visit the site (particularly the ‘chats’) without coming across an idea that inspires me or makes me more thoughtful about the research I’m doing day-to-day, and generally speaking that idea centers on methodology.  Here are a few examples:

Probabilistic Screening

Prrobabilistic screening example.png

In my day-to-day work, I would guesstimate that 90-95% of the studies I see are intended to capture a more specific population of interest than the general population, making the screening criteria used to identify members of that population absolutely vital. In general, these criteria consist of a series of questions (e.g., are you a decision maker, do you meet certain age and income qualifications, have you purchased something in X category before, would you consider using brand Y), with only those with the right pattern or patterns of responses getting through.

But what if there were a better way to do this? Reading the above on FiveThirtyEight got me thinking about the kinds of studies in which using a probabilistic screener (and weighting the data accordingly) might actually be better than what we do now. These would be studies where the following is true:

  1. Our population of interest might or might not engage in the behavior of interest
  2. We have some kind of prior data on the behavior of interest tied to individual characteristics

“Yeah right,” you might say, “like we ever have robust enough data available on the exact behavior we’re interested in.” Well, this might be a perfect opportunity for incorporating the (to all appearances) ever-increasing amounts of passive customer data that are available into our surveys. It’s inspiring, at any rate, to think about how a more nuanced screener might make our research more predictive.

Social Desirability Bias & More Creative Questioning

Prrobabilistic screening example.png

Prrobabilistic screening example.png

Social desirability is very much a market research-101 topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that’s either been definitively solved for or that the same solution would work in every case. The issue comes up a lot, not only in the context of respondent attitudes, but even more commonly when asking about demographics like income or age. There are lots of available solutions, some of which involve manipulating the data to ‘normalize’ it in some way, and some of which involve creative questioning like the example shown above. I think the right takeaways from the above are:

  • Coming up with creative variations on your typical questions might help avoid respondent bias, and even has the potential to make questions more engaging for respondents
  • It’s important to think critically about whether or not creative questioning will resonate appropriately with your respondents
Plus, brainstorming alternatives is fun! For example:
  • Is someone you respect voting for Donald Trump?
  • Do the blogs you prefer to read tend to favor Trump or Clinton?
  • What media outlets do you visit to get your political news?

The Vital Importance of Context

Prrobabilistic screening example.png

At the heart of FiveThirtyEight’s commentary here is a reminder of the vital importance of context. It’s all very well to push respondents through a series of scales and return means or top box frequencies; but depending on the situation, that may tell only a small part of the story. What does an average rating of ‘6.5’ really tell you? In the end, without proper context, this kind of result has very little inherent meaning.

So how do we establish context? Some options (all of which rely on prior planning) include:

  • Indexing (against past performance or competitors)
  • Trade-off techniques (MaxDiff, DCM)
  • Predictive modeling against an outcome variable

Wrapping this up, there are two takeaways that I’d like to leave you with:

  • First, methodology matters. It’s worthwhile to spend the time to be thoughtful and creative in your market research approach.
  • Second, if you aren’t already, head over to FiveThirtyEight and read their entire backlog of 2016 election coverage. The site is an incredible reservoir of market research insight, and I can say with 95% confidence that you’ll be happy you checked it out.

 Liz White is a member of CMB’s Advanced Analytics team, and checks FiveThirtyEight.com five times a day (plus or minus two times).

Topics: methodology, Market research

How to get the most ROI from TMRE 2016

Posted by Julie Kurd

Wed, Oct 05, 2016

Knect365’s (formerly IIR) TMRE conference is the diva of the insights conference world—from October 17th to the 20thyou can expect thousands of attendees, six tracks running simultaneously, and terrific keynote speakers like Freakonomic’s Stephen Dubner. All of this adds up to a significantly higher price tag, so let’s talk about how you’re going to communicate conference ROI to your CMO. 

TMRE-logo-RGB-f8eb4e44e97cd9a1288fe47eb11fd40e.png

Plan prior to the conference:

  • Write your elevator pitch: Whether you’re reserved or chatty, you’re going meet a lot of new people at TMRE, so take a minute to prepare your elevator speech:
    1. “My name is ___ and I work for ___, the makers of ___.”  If you work for Amazon, people understand that, but if you work for SC Johnson or Coca Cola, specify the product line.
    2. “In the coming year we’re focused on improving our ___, and for that we’re interested in ___.”  Here’s an example: “We just finished up a big journey study, which will help us drive the right messages to the right people at the right moments.” You can follow that up with something like: “In the coming year we’re going to do a lot of messaging optimization and concept testing to bring those moments into focus by segment.” That’s your hook, and your reason for the conversation you’re having.   
    3. Next comes your question. You’ve offered a bit about what you do, but who are you talking with?  If they are a peer or competitor, ask, “How about you?”  That’s it.  You need to bring this information back to your company.  If they are a supplier of research, ask, “How would you approach this if you were pitching to me?” 
  • Highlight the agenda: Figure out which sessions you want to attend. Tip:  I circle my agenda based on who will be speaking vs. the topic itself.  I want a mix of dot com, financial services, technology, healthcare, hospitality, and consumer goods, so I circle every brand that interests me and then I go back and take a look at the titles.  If I’m interested in mobile/geotagging more than dashboards (or vice versa), then I can narrow it down from there.
  • Block your calendar for the October 17-20 dates: Activate your out of office message and be sure to mention that you’re WORKING offsite all day.  At the price of any conference, it’s really a crime to be dialing in to staff meetings or writing emails in your hotel room.  Plan ahead…if you have a big deadline, consider moving it.  The Conference ROI of you missing the conference…it’s not pretty.

During the Conference:

  • Recap 3 of the sessions in writing so you can talk specifically about the cases during a future lunch and/or a staff meeting:  It is not enough to just go and listen to each session and then when you return to the office proclaim, “the conference was great.” You need to listen fiercely, with pen or tablet in hand, and write down who spoke, what they said and how it can be useful to your business. This is key, you need to find a way to weave in at least two of those three sessions into your future behaviors. TMRE should CHANGE the way you think, and the only way change happens is if you bring it on yourself. 
  • Make a few new acquaintances (and connect on LinkedIn): Because you need to keep actively learning in and across industries, use TMRE to expand your network. One of our clients recently told me, “I’m painfully introverted so I just go to the sessions.” But how are you going to remember that incredible speaker from ___ or that kind person from ___ unless you connect on LinkedIn?  It may seem awkward, but when it comes time to look for new methodologies, share best practices or recruit new hires, you’ll be happy you connected with a wider net of people.  Companies can get insular, so TMRE offers you the opportunity to interact with people you wouldn’t typically meet.
  • Bonus tip—take a photo of yourself with one of the famous authors and share it with your CMO: OK, you don’t NEED to do this, but you need to come up with one visual representation of you at work and broadening your horizons at the IIR TMRE. Best-selling authors including Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics), Zoe Chance (Better Influence) or Francis Glebas (The Animator’s Eye) will be there, so you can check out at least one of those books prior to the conference.  Or you can take a picture of the stage for one of your favorite sessions and share that.  A picture tells a great story!

Julie blogs for GreenBook, ResearchAccess, and CMB. She’s an inspired participant, amplifier, socializer, and spotter in the Twitter #mrx community. Talk research with her @julie1research.

Headed to TMRE? Stop by Booth 516 and say hello to Julie and the rest of the CMB team. And don't forget to catch CMB's Brant Cruz and Electronic Arts' (EA's) Jodie Antypas as they share how  EA leveraged insights to make a dramatic company turnaround: October 18th @11:15am.

 

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, conference recap, Market research

How To Not Flunk the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference

Posted by Julie Kurd

Tue, Sep 06, 2016

You’re not going to flunk the MRA’s Corporate Researchers Conference, I won’t let you. Here are six sure-fire ways to fail (and how to avoid them): 

  1.  Don’t plan ahead. Right this moment, send yourself an invite to two 30-minute “meetings.” One meeting just prior to the conference (MRA CRC starts 9/26) to plan your goals, and one about a week after you’re back (first week of October).  Before the conference, your first order of business is to print out the agenda.  Read the synopses and circle the sessions you want to attend.  In some timeslots, you’ll notice you want to attend all three sessions (circle them all) and in others you may find nothing relevant to your industry or your role. You can always re-read the agenda and make adjustments during the actual conference. I’ll talk about meeting number two a bit later.
  2. Stay in your hotel room on conference calls. Yes, of course you’re busy. We all are. But we also all need to invest the time to broaden our understanding of the world, our industry, and our clients—you need to LEAVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM.  Hack your workaholic tendencies by booking your calendar as "unavailable," from 7:30am until 11:00pm every day of the conference so others know that you’re busy. CRC2.png
  3. Don’t have your elevator speech. Map out your interests/needs/desires to focus your conversations.  A lot of your fellow attendees have significant experience, so if you care about the role of emotions in brand identity and not about millennial shopper behavior, we’ll tailor our conversation and case examples to respond to your specific question(s).  Here are the bare bones of your elevator speech: use your 30-minute pre-conference meeting to write it (or write it on the plane).  You should state the super obvious things about yourself and your company’s context, that we suppliers probably don’t know:
    • My name is __ and I’m from __ (yes, it’s on the nametag, so this is optional)
    • There are __ number of people in our research department and we’re centralized/decentralized. We want to know if you’re the only researcher or have a team, if you outsource 100% or 0% of your work, and if you have a new CMO who has doubled or cut budgets. 
    • State your interest and your pain point: We have a __ [project] coming up, and I need to __.  How would you approach this if you were pitching me? Alternatively, if you don’t have an immediate need, direct the conversation like this: While there’s nothing I’m outsourcing now, I need to think about 2017, and we’re most focused on __ [millennial targeting, geographic expansion, brand or product, etc.].  Can you tell me more about what you’re doing in this space and how it’s relevant to me?
  4. Avoid ‘booth city.’ Vendors (we prefer “suppliers” or “partners”) are not vampires.  We come with our pop-up storefronts offering you candy, raffles, cocktails, t-shirts and cute toys to bring home for the kids. Collect it all, but don’t just make it a "grab and go."  Learn a little from us…our PhD’s are using proven techniques in exciting ways and inventing new approaches that brands need and love.  Respond to us when we invite you to connect and see where it leads!  You have to play to win. 
  5. Don’t build your network. Whether you’re connected to 50 or 500 people on LinkedIn, you need to keep actively learning alongside your network.  For your professional network, you need a mix of hub and spoke, content originators, amplifiers, spotters, visionaries and geographically diverse folks, so as you meet people, don’t just collect business cards that will languish at the bottom of your laptop bag. Connect with people on LinkedIn and you’ll have access to a broader network of connections, ideas, and inspiration.
  6. Don’t share. You’ve already gone through the effort of attending the conference, but there’s research that suggests we don’t retain information unless we re-purpose it, share it three times, merchandise it, etc. In other words, you need to take one more step to cement the knowledge or the people you met into your universe.  That’s where that second 30-minute meeting comes in:
    • Get connected: Follow up with the people you met on LinkedIn and Twitter, and drop them a note (see #5 above)
    • Share externally: Post your presentation on your LinkedIn profile so more people can see it. Didn’t present?  Be sure to take detailed notes in two-four sessions and write a post in easy bullet format to share what you learned.
    • Share internally: Share what you learned during your internal staff meeting or take a stakeholder to lunch and talk about an idea sparked from the conference and how it might help them. Don’t be generic…state the name of the presentation, who presented, what was learned, and why it was useful.

Follow these simple steps and I promise you, you’re not going to flunk. For an added incentive, tell me what you do to win at CRC (or another conference) and I’ll send you a fun little gift.

Julie blogs for GreenBook, ResearchAccess, and CMB. She’s an inspired participant, amplifier, socializer, and spotter in the twitter #mrx community, talk research with her @julie1research.

Topics: conference recap, Market research

OMG! You Won’t Believe the 3 Things Segmentation and BuzzFeed Quizzes have in Common!

Posted by Amy Maret

Wed, Aug 31, 2016

19t0cg.jpg“Which Starbucks Drink Are You?” “What Role Would You Play in a Disney Movie?” “Which ‘Friends’ Character Are You Least Like?” These are the deep existential questions posed on websites like BuzzFeedand PlayBuzz. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are continuously flooded by friends posting their quiz results, and the market researcher in me can’t help compare them to the segmentationwork that we do at CMB every day.

So let’s take a closer look at a few of the basic concepts segmentations share with Buzzfeed quizzes and learn why I’m not too worried about losing my job to BuzzFeed writers just yet:

  1. You answer a predetermined set of questions. In the Starbucks drink quiz, you might be asked to identify your favorite color or your ideal vacation spot, even though these questions have nothing to do with Starbucks. At CMB, we focus on the product or service category at hand, we make sure we include questions that measure real customer needs. That way, we know our final solution will have implications in driving customer behavior. It’s much easier to see the relevance of a solution when the questions we ask have face validity.
  1. You are assigned to a group based on your answers. While I don’t know exactly what happens on the back end of a BuzzFeed quiz, there must be some basic algorithm that determines whether you are a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino or Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher. However, as far as I know, the rules behind this algorithm are entirely made up by the author of the quiz, probably based on hours hanging out at their local Starbucks. When we conduct a market segmentation study, we typically use a nationally representative sample, which allows our clients to see how large the segments are and what true opportunities exist in the market. We also ensure that we end up with a set of clearly distinct segments that are both statistically solid and useful so that our clients can feel confident implementing the results.
  1. Each group is associated with certain traits. When your quiz results pop up, they usually come with a brief explanation of what the results mean. If you are an Iced Caramel Macchiato, for example, you're successful, honest, and confident. But, if you are a Passion Iced Tea, you are charismatic and hilarious. As a standard part of our segmentation studies, CMB delivers an in-depth look at key measures for each segment, such as demographics, brand preference, and usage, to demonstrate what makes them unique, and how they can be reached. We tailor these profiles to meet the needs of the client, so that they can be used to solve real business problems. For example, the sales team could use these segmentation results to personalize each pitch to a particular type of prospect, the creative team could target advertisements to key customer groups, or finance managers could ensure that budgets are being directed towards those with whom they will be most effective.

I’ll be the first person to admit that personality quizzes are a great way to waste some free time and maybe even learn something new about yourself. But what’s really fun is taking the same basic principles and using them to help real businesses make better decisions. After all, a segmentation is only useful when it is used, and that is why we make our segmentation solutions dynamic, living things to be reapplied and refreshed as often as needed to keep them actionable.

Amy Maret is a Project Manager at CMB with a slight addiction to personality quizzes. In case you were curious, she is an Espresso Macchiato, would play a Princess in a Disney movie, and is least like Ross from Friends.

Download our latest report: The Power of Social Currency, and let us show you how Social Currency can enable brand transformation:

Get the Full Report

And check out our interactive dashboard for a sneak peek of Social Currency by industry:

Interactive Dashboard

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, research design, market strategy and segmentation, Market research

Swipe Right for Insights

Posted by Jared Huizenga

Wed, Aug 17, 2016

Data collection geeks like me can learn a ton at the CASRO Digital Research Conference. While the name of the event has changed many times over the years, the quality of the presentations and the opportunity to learn from experts in the industry are consistently good.

One topic that came up many years ago was conducting surveys via cellphones with SMS texts. This was at a time when most people had cellphones, but it was still a couple of years before the smartphone explosion. I remember listening to one presentation and looking down at my Samsung flip-phone thinking, “There’s no way respondents will take a CMB questionnaire this way.” For a few simple yes/no questions, this seemed like a fine methodology but it certainly wouldn’t fly for any of CMB’s studies.

For the next two or three years, less than half of the U.S. population owned smartphones (including yours truly). Even so, SMS texting was getting increasing coverage at the CASRO conference, and I was having a really hard time understanding why. Every year was billed as “the year of mobile!” I could see the potential of taking a survey while mobile, but the technology and user experience weren’t there yet. Then something happened that changed not only the market research industry but the way in which we live as human beings—smartphone adoption skyrocketed.
Girl_and_phone.jpg

Today in the U.S., smartphone ownership among adults is 72% according to the Pew Research Center. People are spending more time on their phones and less time sitting in front of a computer. Depending on the study and the population, anywhere from 20%-40% of survey takers are using their smartphones. And if it’s a study with people under 25 years old, that number would likely be even higher. We can approach mobile respondents in three ways:

  • Do nothing. This means surveys will be extremely cumbersome to take on smartphones, to the point where many will abandon during the painful process. This really isn’t an option at all. By doing nothing, you’re turning your back on the respondent experience and basically giving mobile users the middle finger.
  • Optimize questionnaires for mobile. All of CMB’s questionnaires are optimized for mobile. That is, our programming platforms identify the device type a respondent is using and renders the questionnaire to the appropriate screen size.  Even with this capability, long vertical grids and wide horizontal scales will still be painful for smartphone users since they will require some degree of scrolling. This option is better than nothing, but long questions are still going to be long questions.
  • Design questionnaires for mobile. This is the best option, and one that isn’t used often enough. This requires questions and answer options to be written with the idea that they will be viewed on smartphones. In other words, no lengthy grids, no sprawling scales, no drag and drop, minimal scrolling, or anything else that would cause the mobile user angst.  While this option sounds great, one of the criticisms has been that it’s difficult to do advanced exercises like max-diff or discrete choice on smartphones.

One cautionary note if you are thinking that a good option would be to simply disallow respondents from taking a survey on their smartphones.  Did your parents ever tell you not to do something when you were a child?  Did you listen to them or did you try it anyway? What’s going to happen when you tell someone not to take a survey on their mobile device?  Either by mistake or out of sheer defiance, some people will attempt to take it on their smartphone. This happened on a recent study for one of our clients.  These people tried to “stick it to the man,” but alas they were denied entry into the survey. If you want “representative” sample, the other argument against blocking mobile users is that you are blocking specific populations which could skew the results.

The respondent pool is getting shallow, and market research companies are facing increased challenges when it comes to getting enough “completes” for their studies.  It’s important for all of us to remember that behind every “complete” is a human being—one who’s trying to drag and drop a little image into the right bucket or one who’s scrolling and squinting to make sure they are choosing the right option on an 11-point scale in a twenty row grid.  Unless everyone is comfortable basing their quantitative findings off of N=50 in the future, we all need to take steps to embrace the mobile respondent. 

Jared is CMB’s Field Services Director, and has been in market research industry for eighteen years. When he isn’t enjoying the exciting world of data collection, he can be found competing at barbecue contests as the pitmaster of the team Insane Swine BBQ.

Sign up to receive our monthly eZine and never miss a webinar, conference recap, or insights from our self-funded research on hot topics from data integration to Social Currency.

Subscribe Here!

Topics: mobile, research design, Market research

Strength-Based Leadership and Finding the #Boss Within

Posted by Blair Bailey

Wed, Jul 06, 2016

A few weeks ago, I relinquished my year-long membership to the "Broken Screen Club" and bought asgo-logo-home.png new phone. It was a good opportunity to clean up the apps I didn't need. I had two meditation apps, two fitness tracker apps, three nutrition apps, four dating apps, and two hydration-tracking apps. If there was a gap in my life, I had an app for it. 

I was an expert at pinpointing what I wanted to improve about myself and identifying the tools to do it...but was it working? Using these apps reminded me to drink water, but they also served as a constant reminder that I was bad at regularly drinking water.

Recently, I attended Strength-Based Leadership Workshop presented by She Geeks Out (SGO), a Boston-based community of women in the STEAM fields. The workshop was led by Katie Greenman, Founding Partner of HumanSide, a "human-centered consultancy" that works with individuals, teams, and organizations to build success from the inside out. Through activities and lively discussion, we discussed the concept of strength-based leadership and how to apply it in our personal and professional lives.

When it comes to introspection and self-improvement, it’s natural to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. Strength-based leadership focuses on emphasizing an individual’s existing strengths and passions. The core belief is that there is higher growth potential in developing strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses.

At the workshop, everyone had a worksheet with about thirty traits listed and had to circle which traits we considered our strengths. For each of the traits listed, I wanted to brainstorm how I could improve on it rather than see if it was already a strength of mine. Next, we listed items from one aspect of our lives and discussed how our existing strengths would help or had helped us achieve our goals.

The last item was: "Something you're not doing so well with." It was easy for me to come up with something to improve upon...but how would my known strengths help? The takeaway is one of the central tenants of strength-based leadership—whether you're succeeding or not at a task, you should focus on your existing strengths to improve or to continue to excel.

Although the exercises focused on the individual, they can also be applied to teams. Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses allows for diverse, passionate teams that can excel at the tasks at hand. It also creates a stronger relationship between a company's leadership and its employees. Acknowledging your employees' passions can build enthusiasm and promote evangelism. It's important to note that strength-based leaders don't ignore weaknesses altogether. However, they don't focus the majority of their time and efforts on filling the gaps.

Since attending the workshop, I’ve realized how much strength-based leadership plays a role at CMB. I’ve been assigned difficult projects and given unfamiliar roles that I was at first terrified to take on. But during one-on-one meetings, when I was internally panicking, my manager would tell me, “we thought of you for this.” Through challenges we reveal skills that are valuable to a project, a team, and the company as a whole.

Thanks to my "perfectionist" trait, it's still difficult for me not to focus on the negative, particularly my own. SGO's workshop provided me with a new perspective on how to approach my projects, my career, and myself. I still have more than one meditation app, but if that's the worst of it, I think I'll be okay.

Blair Bailey is a Senior Associate Business Analyst at CMB who still doesn’t drink enough water.

Whether you’re a segmentation guru, a tech whiz, or a strategic selling machine, we’re looking for collaborative, engaged professionals to join our growing team. Check out our open positions below!

Open Positions

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, marketing science, marketing strategy, CMB Careers, Market research