When you need to get to that irresistible idea, that story that ignites a market or gets people talking and sharing, data analysis, even with the advanced analytical tools we have at our disposal, is only part of the equation. You must also discover a deep, emotional and unifying human truth that only comes from studying the intersection of culture, psychology and physical environment.

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The fact is, data and data analysis has always been fundamentally important in making decisions. Companies have been analyzing data for a long time, but there are several very important changes that have occurred that are putting data and data analysis front and center with executives.

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At Callahan Creek, we tend to spend a lot of time with craft beer drinkers. Part of it is because we work with Free State Brewery here in Lawrence, Kansas. But mostly it’s just because we love craft beer. Even when on vacations, many of us like to frequent brewpubs in different cities and share our discoveries with our friends and colleagues back at the office.

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I hope to sear into your brain the importance for specialty brands to pay attention to the details, no matter how small or inconsequential they may seem. It’s these little things, when taken together, that have a huge impact on the psychic income people get from buying products or services. If specialty brands don’t do these things well, they’re really no different than their mass competitors.

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I had the privilege recently of helping a local non-profit art center think about their brand and develop a strategy for increasing the support and use of their facility. They were facing a significant problem: despite their 35 years of service to the community, funding sources and participation were not…

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No, ‘BS’ isn’t what you think. This isn’t a rant on social media or a blog questioning its return on investment. It is a calling for us to remember ‘Basic Socialization’ principles as we dive into the world of conversations with shoppers and to not get too caught up in applying the latest and greatest technology rolling off the Silicon Valley assembly line.

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When you see how much social media check-in services enhance just about any experience, you start to understand how influential they are going to be on the shopping experience. Specialty brands that learn to use them well will have a tremendous advantage over those that don’t.

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As a fan of specialty brands, I generally focus on buying products at retail locations that specialize in the category in which I am interested. I love that employees at specialty stores know more about what I’m interested in and can provide invaluable help in figuring out what to buy because they have experience with the product.

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Here at Callahan Creek, we’re always learning. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job as a strategic/account planner are the days when we take a few hours and debate, discuss and challenge each other on the issues our clients are facing. No pressure, no expectations – just a good old-fashioned intellectual exchange. I want to share a recent talk given by fellow Creeker Jennifer Blandi…

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“We’ve got to think outside of the box!” This is a common exclamation, heard almost every time a marketing department faces the wrath of an executive not happy with the company’s performance. We’ve all been there before. You’ve held lots of focus groups, conducted more than enough surveys…

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I love spy movies. There is just something about the thrill of watching a story about a secret agent that never grows old. The excitement of the chase, the intrigue, the constant misdirection just gets my heart pumping. But there is another type of ‘agent’ we at Callahan Creek love to watch: the shopper agent.

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I have been amazed at the speed and breadth of the change underway in mobile devices. Truth be told, as a marketer I’m quite worried about this rapid change because of its potential influence on shoppers, particularly specialty store shoppers. Think about it: the iconic value propositions of…

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