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OVERVIEW
Shannon Mullen began her career as an applied anthropologist and continues to
see the world of business through t...
FINANCIAL SERVICES:
Concept development and testing for
redEcash, an early digital cash
product. Interface user testing an...
BRAND AND BUSINESS STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
START UPS:
Emissary.io — Advisory Service
Motherness — The first perinatal depress...
BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Barbie sales have been on a long steady decline in the U.S. market. Mattel wanted to
recalibrate the b...
BUSINESS CHALLENGES
BP is premium priced and yet often had unusable bathrooms and low quality coffee run by franchisees wh...
BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Mercedes-Benz dealers wanted to sell car models that weren’t on the floor. IBM was trying
to sell in a...
New product development
with a premium price, evoking
a weekend travel experience,
making cereal more of an
occasion and w...
BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Avon R&D had developed a few new products that were very well received.The CEO
thought these could hel...
BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Delta Airlines saw the success ofVirgin, JetBlue and its own upstart Song for a brief
time, with their...
DELTA CUSTOMER JOURNEY TOUCHPOINTS PRIORITIZED FOR NEAR TERM REDESIGN
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio
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Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio

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Biography of Shannon Mullen and Design Strategy Examples

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Shannon Mullen Design Strategy Portfolio

  1. 1. OVERVIEW Shannon Mullen began her career as an applied anthropologist and continues to see the world of business through this lens. She has always taken an ethnographic approach to understanding what people believe, how they use what they have, what they want, and how they could be better served. Studying culture, social conventions, unconscious action and learning how to use behavioral observation to help people understand their own unstated beliefs and needs are the themes of her career. Coupling this with the ability to design quan- titative research and mine clients’ existing data for insights, she has been working for over fifteen years with multi-disciplinary teams to develop new business value propositions and new ways for businesses to interact with customers to meet their needs. She takes a curiosity-first, human-centered approach to understanding the organizations she’s working with to uncover their DNA or create their founding mythology, understand their goals as leaders, map the dynamics of the ever-shifting competitive landscape and reveal related cultural trends. Shannon has a natural propensity for divergent thinking coupled with an innate ability to quickly see patterns to connect data, trends, aspirations and possibilities. BACKGROUND Mullen moved from Indiana University to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (where she’d never been before) to conduct her first ethnography. She received the university’s Senior Achievement Award for her nine-month long study on the changing culture of Italian Americans in New York. This led to a full-scholarship with stipend in a doctoral program of anthropology where she studied how people construct their ethnic identities and define themselves as separate from other groups through their choices—often rooted in consumer behavior. She was recruited out of her graduate program to work as an applied anthropologist on a global snack development project for M&M Mars and found her calling. 917-208-2494 • shannon@mullenmarketing.com • NYC SHANNON MULLEN THEMES ACROSS WORK Mullen started the Interactive Unit of Lowe & Partners; developed the first Smirnoff Web site; helped Mercedes-Benz change how cars are sold by empowering shoppers to negotiate by building the first car configurator; developed new products for Kellogg’s as breakfast habits continue to change; led Account Planning forTBWA/ Chiat/Day across Europe; and conceived of immersive retail experiences for Barbie and BP including a digital design center that produced real Barbie clothes. Her titles range across Account Planner, Brand Strategist, Design Strategist, Interactive Strategist—but her core skills remain and continue to develop. They include the ability to: • Interview anyone, anywhere with empathy and interest • Get underneath the surface to understand clients’ and consumers’ beliefs, behaviors, wants and needs • Find salient insights, see patterns of importance, and articulate them • Use analogous and divergent thinking to develop a range of possibilities • Collaborate with a wide range of disciplines and guide multidisciplinary teams to focus on human-centered design and end-user needs • Be generative and creative, easily working from a blank piece of paper to generate new approaches and strategy frameworks to help people digest information and make decisions. • Be extremely resourceful — finding whatever is needed for each project (architects, landscape designers, locally sourced food for BP; B&B’s for a Kellogg’s product; and suggesting and securing Chermayeff & Geismar, Max Roach, The Maysles Brothers, and Dennis Interactive for Mercedes-Benz). FOR FUN In her free time, Mullen pursues her interests which are similarly anthropological. She is a published author with Crown, a division of Random House. Her book is the result of three years of interviews with hundreds of women, doctors, and experts on the subject of sex—(proof that she really can talk to anyone about anything.) Shannon is a passionate world traveler and has spent four years of her life in three countries overseas where she didn’t know the language or one person when she arrived (Egypt, Belgium, and Czech Republic). DESIGN STRATEGIST
  2. 2. FINANCIAL SERVICES: Concept development and testing for redEcash, an early digital cash product. Interface user testing and iterative design process. Concept development of investment education apps and pop-up store education centers. Redesigning the travel experience -- Identification of pain points during entire customer journey, re-imagining on-line booking, on-line and physical check-in, waiting area design, in-flight entertainment, on board food service, seat design, uniforms and hospitality cues, baggage retrieval and loyalty program. Designing the global marketing conference for J&J as partner to the CMO—from goal articulation, and experience development through to inspiring new ways to achieve goals. Ethnographies, quantitative research, customer segmentation, new product concept development, testing, partnering with R&D, more testing, pack design, and communication strategy development. Concept development, testing, iterative design of the first Smirnoff website to engage 20-some- things in an avatar filled multi-user game. Re-imagining car shopping to solve a dealer issue and ultimately changing the business of car shopping by fixing a customer experience problem. Development of the first car configurator enabled dealers to sell what wasn’t in the showroom and empowered consumers to see options prices and be able to better negotiate with dealers who were considered unlikeable, arrogant and power-wielding. While not the initial goal, our solution made it possible for the company to start creating a loyalty-building customer experience at retail. Revitalizing a value proposition through a flagship store. Global customer segmentation, ethnographies,brand/consumer needs intersection, overall brand articulation and design strategy, monetization concepts for engagement development and testing. Repositioning and re-branding for a growing consumer segment. Industrial design feasibility research with vendors, and design strategy brief. Re-imagining the customer experience of a gas station to: inspire franchisees, explore new ways of building with consideration to future scaling new designs, and make a brand statement about an improved customer experience. Development of a mass-premium retail experience taking cues from grab and go Cafés, high-end hotels, Eco-design trends, car culture, customer journey needs, and research on brand equity drivers and consumer perception of the brand at the time. TRAVEL: HEALTHCARE: ENERGY: CPG/SPIRITS: AUTOMOTIVE: FASHION/BEAUTY: PRODUCT AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
  3. 3. BRAND AND BUSINESS STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT START UPS: Emissary.io — Advisory Service Motherness — The first perinatal depression center of NewYork Ethnographic Research • Future Visioning • Divergent Exploration • Value Proposition/Positioning Development Trend Curation • Multi-Disciplinary Stewardship • Stakeholder Interviews and Facilitation • Brand Behavior and Communication Strategy
  4. 4. BUSINESS CHALLENGES Barbie sales have been on a long steady decline in the U.S. market. Mattel wanted to recalibrate the brand with an experience that could span much older and to develop a world that would engage consumers beyond the doll. UNDERSTANDING USER BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, COMPETITIVE SET, AND POSSIBILITIES We were tasked with assessing what market/city to open the first store in, what needs the brand could credibly fulfill, what experiences the retail space could offer, and how best to monetize the space beyond product sales. I worked with Mattel’s CMO and head of new business development and analyzed existing research, designed and oversaw research in South America and Asia. After we chose Shanghai, we did retail tours around malls, high-end fashion stores, toy stores, interviewed retail designers, architects, we did focus groups and spent time in China with moms and young girls at Shanghai schools, at weekend class centers, and in stores. INSIGHTS AND DESIGN STRATEGY I developed the design strategy as a wheel and led the team in developing ideas to meet Chinese consumers’ aspirations for themselves and their daughters to become internationally sophisticated, global citizens.This core need dominated parenting aspirations and was something Barbie could deliver— moving the brand away from being an American doll to becoming a gateway for global citizenry. We developed a digital design studio (with real Barbie clothes as output), a fashion show center for girls, a café, and a place for an adult women’s clothes line based on the insight that young moms wanted to live a bit like Barbie. EXPERIENCE DESIGN TO ENGAGE BEYOND PHYSICAL PRODUCT
  5. 5. BUSINESS CHALLENGES BP is premium priced and yet often had unusable bathrooms and low quality coffee run by franchisees who were not obliged to take corporate direction. The C-suite wanted to inspire a change in the customer experience nationally. UNDERSTANDING USER BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, COMPETITIVE SET, AND POSSIBILITIES The client selected a wholly-owned station in L.A. to redo and asked us to make it the antithesis of an ordinary gas station.To develop the design strategy brief, I interviewed commuters, drove with them, studied the current retail experience (beliefs and behaviors related to pulling in, pumping gas, c-store product quality, attendants’ behavior, and bathrooms),studied L.A. car culture, broader architectural cues in the city, shifts in the ecological design movement, and thought of analogous disruptor experiences in other categories. I interviewed architects, landscape designers, and global green nonprofit leaders and facilitated the team as we developed and refined concepts. I researched the possibility of building a LEED certified station, developed a short list of architecture firms for the overall team, worked with BP Germany to find all the sustainable materials developed by the company and invited experts to work with us to hash through the pros and cons of using windmills and solar panels at the site. Finally, I located the latest trends in snacks from consumers, top hotel mini-bars and local L.A. Cafés and delivered a short list with sourcing information to the client. INSIGHTS AND DESIGN STRATEGY Gas stations are mostly very unpleasant places.There is a huge opportunity to improve any of the experience and get credit for the brand. BP has been able to keep its price premium because consumers believe their gas is higher quality and nationally they have many brand loyalists. BP does produce windmills, solar panels and recycled asphalt.There was an opportunity to leverage this even though bird death ruled out wind mills and the solar panels’ weight was too great for the site.Testing proved consumers were happy to know efforts for new energy were being made and they were personally interested in making design changes in their homes with sustainable building materials. We were able to build a LEED certified retail experience complete with 11 sustainable elements that consumers could use themselves in home construction including recycled tile bathrooms, LED lighting, and arid landscaping with a recycled watering system. It also met a huge consumer need for much better bathrooms. RETAIL EXPERIENCE DESIGN TO INSPIRE NEW CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
  6. 6. BUSINESS CHALLENGES Mercedes-Benz dealers wanted to sell car models that weren’t on the floor. IBM was trying to sell in a presentation structure for showrooms which Corporate MB was considering buying for them. As their brand strategist, I was asked to consider how these systems would be received by consumers before they signed with IBM. UNDERSTANDING USER BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, COMPETITIVE SET, AND POSSIBILITIES Looking at all the research we had related to the brand experience, I found that existing Mercedes-Benz owners enjoyed buying their second Mercedes less than they enjoyed going to the dentist. Mercedes-Benz dealers were notoriously arrogant. Even existing owners hated going car shopping because of the dealers. A presentation tool designed to push product on consumers was clearly not going to improve the experience. Additionally the structure that IBM proposed was bulky and visually unappealing. Looking at it and a dealer selling at you would not be fun would not help the company achieve its goals. Using the consumer research, I suggested that the IBM idea be turned around and become a tool for the car buyer. It could still meet the dealers’ need to sell more than what was in the showroom, but it could also change the shopping experience from dreaded to more empowered.This win-win tool was also a chance to start fixing the power dynamic at the heart of the poor brand experience. I wrote a proposal, won the project away from IBM and built the design strategy as well as the team for the project. INSIGHTS AND DESIGN STRATEGY This first car configurator allowed shoppers to: know what options were possible for each model (as they didn’t trust what they were told by dealers), see the car they wanted by building it (in 360 degree rotation in any color available inside and out), see the prices for the various options they added, and be able to print out the car they built with all options’ prices so that they would have a starting point from which they could negotiate. Because this had never been done before, I had to find a gaming company with the code to project full-screen video and a photographer in MN who could photograph the cars in stills and sew the frames together. (We literally pushed the car as he shot frame by frame. Each frame of which had to be painted all the colors the car came in). I suggested and sold in a design team, which I guided to immerse the user in this high-end brand while having fun—Chermayeff & Geismar designed the structure,The Maysles Brothers filmed the attract loop, Max Roach recorded original music, and Dennis Interactive built the interface.
  7. 7. New product development with a premium price, evoking a weekend travel experience, making cereal more of an occasion and worth the time to sit to eat. Based on a cereal snacking insight we developed finger sized cereal in cup-holder friendly containers. Raisin Bran line extension which fixed the constant complaint we heard from lapsed Raisin Bran users about sogginess. New product development for a two to three person meal based on an insight about speed- scratch and heat/eat users who want to believe they are eating something they might have made and/or want to be able to pass it off as something they made. CONSUMER ETHNOGRAPHIES AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
  8. 8. BUSINESS CHALLENGES Avon R&D had developed a few new products that were very well received.The CEO thought these could help the company start to reposition the brand in the U.S. and she asked us to redesign the logo, explore new packaging for the top tier cosmetics line and to reconsider the catalog that the sales force uses. UNDERSTANDING USER BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, COMPETITIVE SET, AND POSSIBILITIES The color cosmetics lines were tiered by pricing but without any design cues to help sales people and consumers understand the lines. Looking through the heritage of Avon’s product designs, we found a history of great design that had been abandoned and a competitive shift to textured packaging and increased functionality (e.g.,soft grip lipstick tubes). My time with sales associates was filled with stories about the line confusion and the need to have more reasons to attract consumers to the higher-priced lines even though some of the products had won recognition in the beauty press.The catalog was a hodge-podge of products (including sandals at the time) and the product packaging felt equal to or lower than drugstore quality which lowered the sales associates’ enthusiasm and pride. In addition to sales associates and consumers, I interviewed sales people and shoppers in Sephora and department stores. I also located and interviewed cosmetic packaging companies on materials trends, costs and the possibility of modifying existing molds for new materials or small form changes. INSIGHTS AND DESIGN STRATEGY We wanted to reinvigorate pride in the brand and move Avon’s top color line into the department store competitive set and away from drugstore. Elegance, style and the pride that goes with them was what every Avon sales associate wanted for herself and her customers. BRAND AND INDUSTRIAL DESIGN
  9. 9. BUSINESS CHALLENGES Delta Airlines saw the success ofVirgin, JetBlue and its own upstart Song for a brief time, with their added personality, sense of style and small luxuries a stark contrast to the older airline customer experiences. Delta asked us to redesign their experience around a unified value proposition to inspire their workforce to a greater level of pride and hospitality UNDERSTANDING USER BELIEFS, BEHAVIORS, COMPETITIVE SET, AND POSSIBILITIES I led the design strategy starting with a competitive audit and customer journeys for business and leisure travelers. In addition to going through all the research that existed, I interviewed employees and Delta loyal customers about the brand and brought together a multidisciplinary team to spend three days in constant transit touring the hub airports, lounges, waiting areas, checking in, and changing flights around the country.This experience made the needs and possibilities very clear. INSIGHTS AND DESIGN STRATEGY Delta had brand values that were well articulated and known internally which we need- ed to build on.We developed a unifying idea of “good goes around” tying employee behavior to shared rewards and reinforcing the idea of small moments of kindness make travel experiences delightful instead of just bearable.We deconstructed the travel experience, mapped every touch-point and built new designs to reduce confusion and friction from website or in-airport kiosk check-in, to way-finding, to redesigning waiting areas with more comfortable chairs and increased outlets, altering in-flight en- tertainment, working with a top designer to redesign the uniforms to help flight atten- dants feel better and look better, a new snack collection, and rethought baggage area communication. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RE-DESIGN
  10. 10. DELTA CUSTOMER JOURNEY TOUCHPOINTS PRIORITIZED FOR NEAR TERM REDESIGN

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