Rise of the Archive

A New Normal Trend Report   |    08.31.20

New interest in the conservation and preservation of knowledge is emerging. The sense of uncertainty has driven an increased interest in archiving and preserving knowledge. On one hand, there is a responsibility for institutions to document the facts of today for future generations. On the other hand is the human desire to build collective memory and help society make sense of our trauma to overcome it in the future.

This mini trend explores how consumer behaviors are shifting, what the next expectations are becoming and how each of us – as companies and individuals – can evolve to become part of the solution.

We hope these new normal mini trends help small businesses and entrepreneurs come back stronger and seize opportunities during this time of rapid change.

If you need a thought partner to iterate and talk through next steps with your team, we’re here for you. 

Check out this trend report on Instagram!

The Story of Us

How Pain Points became PinPoint   |    08.26.20
Faith and Stacy sitting on stools together and laughing

An actress and an architect walk into a bar.

For those of you who know us, we come from very different backgrounds. Faith – an actor who spent more than half of her life “walking in other people’s shoes”. Stacy – an architect who learned she didn’t want to wear “an architect’s shoes” (the all black thing, it’s just too much). From the outside, we may look like the odd couple, but truth be told it’s our differing yet overlapping perspectives and passions that make PinPoint what it is today.

Where It All Began

The story began, not at a bar, but at one of the most prominent design thinking agencies in Chicago using human-centered research & design to improve the fortunes of the Fortune 500s. Faith was known for her innate ability to guide clients and her team through the art of connecting, researching and storytelling. Stacy was known for her talent to design a future not yet imagined driven by the research findings Faith and team were gathering. Our skills were not only complimentary, they were made for the other. One successful project led to another, followed by another, until we were essentially inseparable.

All that time together got us thinking. What if we could take some of the pain points we witnessed and turn them into PIN points? (Yes – that is actually where we got our name.) Our differing backgrounds crossed paths because of a simple, yet shared objective – get to know this world and the people in it so well that we couldn’t help but make an impact on their lives. 

Learning From the Pain Points

As two women, born and raised in Chicago (ok, ok, transparency is at our core, Stacy was in the suburbs – but close enough) the dream was to evolve the design thinking principles we had developed for Fortune 500s and make them accessible for people like us who truly needed them – small & medium sized business leaders who gave up everything to make the world a better place. So what was the first thing we did? We applied our process to ourselves and learned other business owners, like us, had core needs:

  • They wanted to truly improve the lives of their customers
  • They wanted their company & teams to be successful for years to come
  • Cost of ‘entry’ into a design-thinking was thought of as ‘out of reach’ & only accessible to aspirational brands with aspirational budgets 
  • If they did pursue, they were left with inactionable research and a deck that sat on a desk for years

Designing the Pin Points

So what did we do? We turned every one of those pain points into (yes, you guessed it) pin points. 

  • We communicated like real people – no fancy language for fancy-sake
  • We developed a model that met leaders no matter their business was at
  • We created a pricing strategy that was fair, transparent, and most importantly simple
  • We not only identified the right thing to do, but we gathered our Collective of designers to make sure we would execute things right

And here we are today, co-founders of the only design thinking studio for small & medium B2C companies. Not a day goes by that we couldn’t be more grateful for this journey, to be able to work with people who want to make a difference in the world. Although our stories started in very different shoes, we are grateful every day that they intersected and gave us the confidence to take the biggest risk of our lives. That risk, as big as it was, has been worth every moment of reward knowing we get to impact those who need it the most.

 Want to learn more about our story or how design thinking can solve similar pain points for your company? We’d love to chat about either! Schedule a chat or email us at ping@pinpointcollective.com.

Future of City Life

A New Normal Trend Report   |    08.25.20

City life was already being questioned prior to the pandemic. Once Covid hit, many of the issues from economic inequality to quality of life were magnified in a very short amount of time. That being said, cities have been the engines of financial growth and aspirations for centuries. In today’s landscape, as we reevaluate our relationship with work and life, cities, too, need to evolve to serve these changing expectations.

This mini trend analyzes behaviors and opportunities for cities to adapt in order to meet new ways of living, commuting and have resonance in the next version of normal.

We hope these new normal mini trends help small businesses and entrepreneurs come back strong and seize opportunities during this time of rapid change. If you need a thought partner to iterate and talk through next steps with your team, we’re here for you.

Check out this trend report on Instagram.

Want More Customer Loyalty?

How one simple ‘oh no’ moment can evolve to a whole new ‘ah ha.’   |    08.18.20

Want More Customer Loyalty?
Start With Design Thinking.

Let’s be real: we ask ourselves this question daily, both for our clients and for ourselves. Why? Because having loyal customers means waking up everyday without that pit in your stomach. It means having more reliable profit and being able to grow your business, stability and freedom. And who doesn’t want that?! 

While we all wish there was a red Easy Button that magically granted us infinite customers purchasing infinitely, the truth is that button was nothing more than a piece of plastic marketing with an ROI far less than its alleged value of $9.99. 

What DOES exist is a process – “design thinking” – that (drumroll please) we built our collective around to attract the most loyal, repeat customers you could ask for. And better yet, it doesn’t take an ounce of magic. Just a little empathy.

When empathy is lost, your customer is another’s to gain.

Story time! We recently found ourselves a customer faced with a choice. To remain an existing client, or leave a company altogether, for a direct competitor no less. Spoiler alert: we left. This loss was preventable for our original vendor that, given the right approach, could have secured or even deepened our customer commitment. In the end, their competition earned our business with ease. What did the Competitor do differently? Simple: they listened. Ah ha… 

Rewind to two years ago, when we were searching for PinPoint’s first data storage provider. The company we initially chose kicked off the relationship by coming to our office, meeting face-to-face, showing us their product, and providing a team of engineers to get us set up and off to the races. However, what seemed like a personable and valuable partner soon revealed itself to be a time-consuming, greedy vendor. The final straw came when we reached out to expand our storage capacity. Two emails back and forth led to an invoice. We were being charged for asking if we could pay them more money.

The reason this gets under our skin is simple: as consumers, our last best experience informs our expectations moving forward. In comparison, when we recently had an issue with our Amazon Prime membership, not only was it fully taken care of with an online chat, we also received a discount for the hassle. That type of service is what we all expect at minimum now. 

And as human-centered designers, we also recognize the ease with which these types of situations can be circumvented altogether, resulting in a superior customer experience that ensures customer loyalty, retention or even furthers our financial commitment.

The moral: loyalty (or disloyalty) is determined by business design.

So what did the data storage competitor get right? Well, they know many of their target customers often start their data services with their competition and later choose to switch. They know prospective customers are fed up with price gouging. They know new customers are nervous about the time and effort it will take to transfer their existing data. And so they designed their service, their pricing model and their offering with every one of these pain points in mind. They did what we as human-centered designers do:

  • Specified the demographics of their ideal data customer
  • Identified the purchasing habits of those customers beyond data storage
  • Learned what those customers’ “last best experience” is and continue to uphold that standard
  • Deeply analyzed the competitive landscape in the data storage industry
  • Determined the gap that needed to be filled 

And the important thing about these steps is that any business, including our original vendor, can accomplish all of this as well — they simply hadn’t yet. All it takes is a little design thinking and the determination to reevaluate how to better serve customers with ease.

It will come as no surprise that our new provider holds the second largest market share in their industry. Design thinking is what defines their product, their service, their marketing and their overall customer experience. Long story short, we love them as customers AND as design thinking nerds.

Are you gaining, maintaining or losing customer loyalty?

When a customer base begins to stagnate or shift, it’s important to start with empathy to understand what has changed before you can turn the tides in your favor. That’s the heart of design thinking — a process by which you can better define the relationship between your business, the customer and all points in between.

If you are asking how your company can gain more loyal, repeat customers or are interested in learning more about design thinking, please reach out to us at ping@pinpointcollective.com or schedule a virtual coffee to catch up!

Shaping Certainty

A New Normal Trend Report   |    08.17.20

We are in a state of navigating multiple crises and because of that, new emotional coping mechanisms are emerging which will require businesses to respond in new ways. The compound nature of these crises means business owners will not only need to adapt their strategies to address consumers’ changing emotional state, but also that of their employees and business partners.

As societies around the world continue to grapple with new and evolving sources of trauma, this mini trend unpacks the evolution of customer’s behaviors and how businesses should build strategies, tools and messaging that will help their customers cope within a changing world.

We hope these new normal mini trends help small businesses and entrepreneurs come back strong and seize opportunities during this time of rapid change.

If you need a thought partner to iterate and talk through next steps with your team, we’re here for you.

Check out this trend report on Instagram.

Subscription Boom

A New Normal Trend Report   |    08.10.20

Up next in our mini trend series – Subscription Boom!

Research, analysis and strategic forecasting goes into every one of our reports to make sure we are bringing you the most actionable insights.

We look at shifting behaviors in countries ahead of the US curve including China, South Korea and Denmark.

And intersect those findings with #data from researchers, journalists and publications within the US to develop each report.

We hope these new normal mini trends help small businesses and entrepreneurs come back strong and seize opportunities during this time of rapid change.

If you need a thought partner to iterate and talk through next steps with your team, we’re here for you.

Check out this trend report on Instagram.

Future of Queuing

A New Normal Trend Report   |    08.03.20

The queueing experience has fundamentally changed as waiting outside stores becomes another opportunity for retailers to entertain, educate, inspire and connect. While queues used to be something of a status symbol for brands during popular launches or hyped-up drops, they have become a pain point during the pandemic.

This mini trend report examines how “waiting” can become an important part of your customer’s journey and identifies key opportunities to harness creative strategies that enhance the queuing, curbside and storefront experience.

We hope these new normal mini trends help small businesses and entrepreneurs come back strong and seize opportunities during this time of rapid change.

If you need a thought partner to iterate and talk through next steps with your team, we’re here for you.

Check out this trend report on Instagram.