Unintended Consequences

Stakeholder engagement leads to digital breakthrough

The Silk Initiative, a Shanghai-based food and beverage brand consultancy, recently launched the industry's first real-time, dynamic consumer intelligence platform. TSI Navigator™ stays on top of what’s driving Chinese consumer food and beverage CPG purchase habits today and what they’ll want from brands tomorrow. According to TSI, Navigator™ gives brands the unfair advantage they need to stay ahead of the competition.

How do I compete with Chinese R&D?

Getting there was a two-year journey

At Fulcrum, we go around the world preaching the good word of materiality. While simple on the surface, the exercise often leads to some of the most transformative changes for a company. Over 95% of major multinationals rely on the materiality process to gather a holistic understanding of stakeholder viewpoints, using these to future proof their businesses. Rarely, if ever, do small or mid-sized companies take advantage of materiality’s beneficial powers.  

 

When The Silk Initiative asked Fulcrum to conduct a materiality exercise for their business we jumped at the chance. Not only was The Silk Initiative looking to better understand stakeholder views and their business as a whole, but also differentiate themselves from the competition. Their main purpose was to really play on par with the big guys and show they wanted to be taken seriously. 

 

Our proprietary approach to materiality relies on a unique combination of quantitative and qualitative information. Unlike most firms, which use thousands of data points from sources with little to no understanding of the business in question, Fulcrum only targets those with an educated opinion about our clients. That leads to truly rich, resonant results. 

 

We knew this exercise would be different. What astonished us most was how open interviewees were to discuss views on TSI and what they needed from a brand consultancy in China. Their biggest concern was something we didn't even have on our radar: 

Had TSI never done this analysis, or engaged such a broad range of stakeholders, we would have never known this was an issue. With this critical piece of data, however, TSI could now begin answering the concern and pulling away from the competition. The question was how. Through an in-depth process of research, competitive analysis, and iterative ideation, we landed on the nucleus of what would become TSI Navigator™.  

 

But, the journey was far from complete. Over the course of nearly two more years, we continued to engage stakeholders in the development process. This included building out proof of concept cases with the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, as well as testing public reception at a number of international events before even considering going live.

 

Behind the scenes, we devised a six-month long marketing campaign to ensure reach and the most impressions possible. This campaign includes the requisite social media elements, but also adds in events around the globe, internal staff brand building and up-skilling, as well as data-rich thought leadership pieces. 

 

Only a few weeks in and all of this seems to be working. Social media conversion from the campaign is close to 10%, impressions are the highest TSI has ever seen, and the company is getting other major brands wanting to put their name onto Navigator™. Most importantly, projected sales of Navigator™ are set to increase TSI revenues by at least one-third over 2019. 

All of this, just from listening to stakeholders.

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