Helping Nielsen’s Clients Through Innovative Thinking

Elise is a Commercial Emerging Leader Associate, based in New York City. During her rotation in client consulting, Elise created an insights presentation that helped our alcoholic beverage clients use data to understand flavor maturation in the marketplace.

As an Emerging Leader Associate at Nielsen, I am constantly encouraged to break down barriers, question already established processes, think deeply and critically about our clients’ most pressing business needs, and take proactive action on those challenges, all while working cohesively across job functions to deliver results above the threshold of what is expected.

Nielsen’s clients rely heavily on understanding consumer trends to determine how they can position themselves to capitalize on shifts in buying preferences. However, the very premise of a trend is that it fades with timeit’s fleeting, cursory and, at times, fickle. During my rotation in client consulting, we delivered numerous studies, presentations and reports to one of our alcoholic beverage clients that surrounded a concept that would likely be overthrown by another rising consumer choice in less than a year.

My colleague and I found a flaw with this scenario: Nielsen would research a trend or accelerating preference, the client would have to wait for our insights and recommendations, and our study would only be valid for a short period of time before we would need to refresh it. So we set out to forge a more adaptable framework whereby clients could autonomously identify trends in a structured way with minimal lags in results.

While researching how to develop a new approach, we began formulating an idea: What if instead of focusing on a specific trend itself, we designed a matrix of associated metrics that informs how to analyze a trend, its maturation within the marketplace, the number of competitors, and potential white space to invest in this space, all by using data clients readily have access to? This solution determined that, at any point in time, clients could pull a report based upon almost any aspect or component to see its saturation and potential revenue.

As a result, we produced a presentation for our clients in the alcoholic beverage industry that established a new way to understand trend development in an accessible and adaptable way. I am incredibly proud of our efforts, and even more appreciative of working at a company full of leaders and supporters who guided and helped. However, what I’m more grateful for is not the end product, but the following lessons I learned along the way:

Being open and connected is the foundation for innovation

During this period of time, we spoke to more than ten leaders across multiple practice areas. Without this exploration period, our finished product wouldn’t have been as forward-thinking, diverse, and client-centric.

Don’t be afraid to dare

At the start of this process, we were both new to the alcoholic beverage industry, Nielsen’s business, and the experience of creating this type of presentation. To showcase something that aims to disseminate an industry-leading concept is, to say the least, incredibly daunting.

However, this program has taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortablewelcome new spaces, defy common ways of working, question what is already there and ideate on what could be. Instances of unfamiliarity give  us with the most expansive spaces to develop, advance and discover.

Be proud of what you produce

As we spoke to leaders, we considered numerous ideasthe key is being assured with the one we decided upon. More than anything, this project taught me how to remain confident and resolute in our approach, and to be backed by well-researched insights and a holistic set of resources.