Recession Generation

A New Normal Trend Report   |    12.08.20

Younger generations are among the hardest hit being hit in this pandemic recession. And it’s happened at a pivotal moment in their careers and life. As a result, we are seeing a shift in hiring routes and therefore consumption patterns. This risk-averse generation is re-evaluating their lifestyle and shifting towards long-term security over instant gratification.

This mini trend uncovers opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to adapt as this pivotal generation shifts its mindset on purchasing and working.

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Welcome the Collective

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.   |    11.23.20

We named ourselves PinPoint ‘Collective’, selfishly, to collaborate with some of the most talented and brilliant creatives out there. But more than that, we wanted to share our favorite makers & doers with our favorite clients.

We spent years curating this team – each thoughtfully chosen for their gifted skillset, their ability to turn research insights into action and for the unique perspective they bring to the table. We whole heartedly believe the more we can reflect the audience we design for, the more thoroughly we can solve the problems they have. That is what this Collective was made for. We come from different points of view, different backgrounds, and different sets of experiences – coming together to design the future of our world.

So, world, meet our Collective! We are excited to introduce you to each member more deeply because the world deserves to know these wonderful humans as much as we do. Until we can shake hands in 2021, virtually meet our Collective over the next several months through our Instagram ( and LinkedIn ( channels. We can’t wait for you to get to know the extension of your team!

Looking for a way to geek out with this collective on what the future has in store? So are we! Reach out to and tell us what’s on your mind. We’re ready to hit the ground running.

Which probably brings you to the question – what’s with all the shoes? Well, we believe where we stand influences how we behave, so when our boots hit the ground, they do it on the soil of those we design for. Our feet are a reminder of that perspective & the purpose with which PinPoint was created. Let’s hit the ground together.

What do we do now?!

How to deal when the New Normal is just so weird.   |    10.29.20

It’s hard to start this post without sounding cliche, because everything that can be said about 2020 being “unprecendented” has already been said. By journalists, by politicians, by podcast hosts, by your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night (guess it’s pretty serious). The point is, everyone has already written about 2020 being challenging. 

But we wanted to write this anyway, because it’s helpful for us to share how we’re all getting through this, especially when it comes to small business owners keeping their businesses going. We welcome hearing how you and your business have adjusted to the insanity! 

 When March hit, and Covid first became a Real Problem here in America, we were just as caught offguard as everyone else (thanks in part to a woefully underprepared federal response, but that’s a whole different post). So, we decided to take a breath. After all, good decisions rarely happen as a reaction to fear or panic. We took a step back, and we did to ourselves what we do with our clients: we took on the challenge of identifying how PinPoint could evolve in this ‘new normal’. 

 In doing so, we noticed something: PinPoint, a year ago, was positioned as a company for anyone. Which is funny, because this is exactly what we advise our clients NOT to be. When your ideal client is everyone, you spread yourself too thin and can’t specialize in helping who you actually are most set up to serve. So, in an effort to get more targeted, we started talking to local business leaders – from Chicago to Milwaukee to St. Louis and Grand Rapids. And we discovered that the Midwest mentality is different than anywhere else out there: having Midwestern roots directly affects the way business owners run their businesses AND relate to their customers. So why not work with our likeminded Midwestern businesses? In the end, we applied our process to our process, and uncovered an opportunity to better help our neighbors. By narrowing our focus to the small & medium sized companies with roots like ours, we can cross-pollinate learnings that will keep the Midwest running and become stronger than ever. Which, in these “unprecented times” (sorry not sorry), is honestly more important than ever.

 Why does this matter to you, dear reader? Well, design thinking studios like ours can really help brands thrive, which is incredibly important in these new strange times where the landscape feels vast and unknown. But almost all design thinking studios suffer a similar problem to the one we noticed in PinPoint: they are trying to be everything for everybody. Plus, the barrier of entry is costly, and the uncertainty if ideas will be relevant is unknown, so it can be a scary process to begin. That’s why we’re breaking down those barriers. We’re making human-centered design attainable for all the “below Fortune 1000s” of the world, and we’re sharing learnings across industry lines where it matters most – from a shared Midwest mentality that spans customers & business owners. When the whole world feels like it’s going off the rails, a good place to start putting it back together again is in your own community, and that’s what we’re most passionate about these days: helping our professional community grow and thrive. 

 Could you use some help getting your business back on track? Reach out to, and tell us a little bit more about yourself. We’d love to work with you, especially if you’re a neighbor (near or far). Together, we will get through this. That much we know. But it’s going to take organizing, some good old fashioned hard work, and maybe a few more Ferris Bueller references. Hang in there, folks. We can do this, as long as we do it together.

Voice Your Vote

A New Normal Trend Report   |    10.27.20

As the election nears we, as entrepreneurs and citizens, have the obligation to stand up for what we consider to be right. Getting political was once a risky business, but today it’s an expectation. This November, we aren’t just voting for a president, we are voting for the existence of democracy. With one week left until voting day, we ask you to make your voice heard.

This mini trend explores voting behaviors of past & present with opportunities you can take TODAY to make an impact in your community. We ask that you cherish democracy close to your heart and demand those you elect to do the same. Make your voice heard and VOTE.

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Make Do And Mend

A New Normal Trend Report   |    10.19.20

We have increasingly seen the re-emergence of a make-do-and-mend mentality. Consumers are looking to repair and reuse rather than replace as a way to save money and spend time. The interest in creative crafting emerged during early stages of lockdown, but continues to grow as we build newfound confidence for taking on home projects.

This mini trend will uncover how businesses and entrepreneurs can contribute to the rise of a circular economy and support those looking to spend more time, effort & skills on their homes.

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Searching for Truth

A New Normal Trend Report   |    10.06.20

Even before the pandemic, we were learning how to navigate in a post-truth world. However, since March of this year, staying informed has never been more important. As we all searched for answers and updates, misinformation accelerated and a deficit of trust in news sources created an opportunity for brands to step in.

This mini trend explores how personal brands to company brands can find ways to build and maintain trust with their following – leading the way in ingredient transparency. 

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Evolution of Contactless

A New Normal Trend Report   |    09.22.20

Covid rewrote the store design playbook almost overnight – forcing retailers to evolve for social distancing, hygiene and changing consumer preferences. Some of those adaptations will be temporary, others will be long-term changes as customers live with hesitation in a post-Covid era.

This mini trend report uncovers nimble, innovative and resourceful ways retailers can navigate the evolving consumer needs to stay ahead of the curve.

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. 

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What’s in a Logo?

From the 'oh no' of brand confusion to the 'ah ha' of pure cohesion.   |    09.22.20

Having your own company is like having a kid – you pour your heart and soul into it, you spend all your money on it, you occasionally wonder if you should have named it that… To be fair, we don’t have kids but we assume that’s how it goes. Anyway, with a company, often we’ve found that when you start to consider redoing surface-level things like the logo or the business name, it’s a sign that you should dig a little deeper into your ‘why’. 

Don’t get us wrong. A simple brand refresh on its own can be fun, and is one of our favorite things to do! We love good design, and helping our clients figure out their look and feel. But in many cases, wanting a new look can be a symptom of something bigger needing to shift. We found this to be the case with client Tom Van Lente’s TVL Culinary: a Chicago-based culinary team specializing in restaurant-quality catered events for families, friends, and professional groups. TVL Culinary had practically everything they needed: the talent, the drive, and the team were all in place. But they were having a little trouble locating their ideal client, and thought a brand refresh might help. 

This isn’t a bad instinct. A lot of our clients come to us with similar requests: whether it’s a new logo, a new website, a new look for social… But what we uncovered from our conversations with Tom was that he wanted more clients, better clients, operational efficiencies and more exciting events to keep his work inspiring, fun and engaging. By applying our design thinking methods, we were able to identify an opportunity to shift TVL’s business model beyond ‘catering’ to something more dynamic. Using qualitative research and trends beyond the food & beverage space, we designed the “AirBnB Experiences” of a night in – making it easier to dream up each event, and far easier to make it come to life.

Once we made this important shift in the business model in phase one, we executed the updated brand identity, along with a website refresh and the new logo, in phase two. Through the combined strength of the new model and new look, within 48 hours of the launch bookings were up 4x what they had been the previous 3 months combined. Those results do a pretty good job of speaking for themselves, we think. 

Are you trying to figure out how to get your company to the next level? Let us help! It’s hard to know exactly what you need until you really dive into the research, and that’s one of our favorite things to do. No company is too big or too small for us to get excited about, so reach out and say hello.  We’ll be standing by at

Future of Zine Culture

A New Normal Trend Report   |    09.15.20

New experimentation in media & publications are on the rise. We have witnessed a growing desire to document and share experiences in today’s unprecedented landscape. Creatives, community leaders and now business leaders are finding alternative ways for connection in isolation – leading the way in self-publications, experimental media and an evolved zine culture.

This mini trend explores how companies can shift brand engagement that will influence customer interaction and broaden the impact of touchpoints. This emerging trend will impact content creation for years to come.

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!

Love research? Not everyone does, but we do. And chances are since you’re here, you do, too. Learning more about a market segment and how to reach them with meaningful information is our version of a raging party. We have to admit, we haven’t been to very many ragers, but we imagine those two things are quite similar. 

When it comes to research, many clients have the same initial question. Sure, we know you can do research for us, but what can I do with this research I’ve paid for in the past? As it turns out, if you like research like we do, you’ve probably already gathered some of your own.

Recently we had a big client come to us with this very concern. They had stacks upon stacks of very meticulous, very expensive research, gathered over time with the help of other companies. But they felt deflated, because they couldn’t see where it had gotten them (aside from slightly poorer). Luckily for this situation, here’s where we thrive. We took that research, and dove deeply into the heart of it. 

What did we learn from this, you might ask?

  • They had defined a handful of customer personas and knew exactly how each of those customers engaged with their brand.
  • They had performed several qualitative interviews before launching their last newest product to influence its go-to-market strategy.
  • They had generated enough ideas to write an entire book for what to launch next.

However, despite all of this, they still had some very important questions, including:

  • Why were customers still going to their competitor?
  • Why wasn’t the newest product performing as expected?
  • And how do we even begin to prioritize this endless list of ideas to pursue next?

That’s where we helped out. We were able to take their existing research to inform answers to many of their questions, and pinpoint gaps so that we could quickly & effectively get fresh data to answer the remaining ones.

In short, having lots of research is never a bad thing, even when you feel like you don’t know what to do with it. All you need is a partner who can help you work through some design thinking methods to get from the oh no’s of a data dump to the ah ha’s of organized, actionable data that works for you and your company.

Do you have some old research you’d like made new again? Or do you just want to geek out together about design thinking? We’d love to chat about either! Schedule a chat or just email us at