Shape

When a shopper insights guru needs to turn his ideas into influence, he looks for different insights… From Outkreate.

Robin Alex

Head of Customer & Shopper Insights,
Mondelēz International, Inc.

Robin Alex heads Shopper & Customers Insights for Mondelēz’s US business, a snacking powerhouse that owns consumer-loved brands such as Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, Belvita, Toblerone and more.

It’s a role that’s both fascinating and demanding, as Alex oversees the team responsible for generating purchases once a consumer has walked into the store. And as such, he needs to do a lot with his strategy presentations—not only get alignment from higher-ups, but also ensure buy-in from team members downstream.

But for Alex, presentations were a source of frustration. That is, until he retained Outkreate.

“Turning ideas in one’s head to impactful slides isn’t easy. What starts out as a brand new Mercedes ends up becoming a 1990 Toyota,” Alex says with a chuckle.

“I’ve worked with others who’ve been able to upgrade me, so to speak, but there’s always been a gap.”

“But that’s the power of having a design agency understand what I want to communicate, and how I want to communicate, and then giving me multiple options to choose from.

“Outkreate has always been that for me—I imagine a Mercedes and I get a Mercedes.”

Alex and Outkreate’s Harry Shah had worked together in a past life, but their camaraderie had little to do with why Mondelēz tapped Outkreate.

“What was really important to us, Alex explains, “was getting more than just a design agency.

“I’m sure there are many agencies that could design a presentation for me. Instead we chose Outkreate because they’re real thought partners. They’re able to say “I see your point, but what about this? What about that?”

“We never wanted a company that we would tell to jump so we could hear them ask ‘How high?’ We were looking for exactly what we got with Outkreate.

“Outkreate understands what I want to do, as well as the way we’ve done things to that point. Which means there’s less back and forth, and more work that simply ‘lands’ the first time.

“Because if I’m speaking to senior leadership, then I need to have outputs that communicate what I’m trying to get across. That’s when the hard work starts, of course—but I couldn’t get to that point unless they had bought in. Outkreate’s work is a big part of that.”

“And yes,” Alex continues. “I could try to hire internally to take care of the work Outkreate does.

“But the reality is there’s a better way of working. I have research experts on my team, and storytelling experts—but I think it would be very hard to in-house Outkreate’s level of expertise.

And when asked to articulate Outkreate’s value, Alex is clear.

“I think it comes down to three things.

“First, do you want an iterative partner that is willing to help you think through and communicate and convert?

“Second, do you want a partner that is able to provide value-added design at a rate that’s a fraction of what other agencies might charge you?

“And third, do you want to work with a team that’s talented, that’s willing to learn, that’s responsive, and extremely agile?

“If so, you need to get Outkreate on your side.”

Takeaway

Working with order-takers can feel like an effective relationship, but a true partnership offers so much more. When your work with a design team becomes iterative, your good ideas become great—and your influence in the workplace increases.

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