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Stefania Gvillo, SVP, Chief Analytics and Insights Officer at Domino's, shares why they don’t talk about agile research in her organization, discusses how to partner with insights and analytics suppliers to bring about business change and reveals her top tip for getting your voice heard in important meetings.
Hi everybody. Welcome to this episode of Inside Insights, a podcast powered by Zappi. My name is Ryan and I'm joined as always by my co-host, Patricia Montesdeoca from the lovely Columbia and our producer Kelsey Sullivan from the lovely Quincy, Massachusetts. Good day ladies. How are you?
Good. How you doing? Happy Valentine's Day, which is when we're filming this or recording this.
Yes, happy Valentine's Day ladies. Nobody else I'd rather do a podcast with than you two. I hope by the time you're listening to this, you are either very happy still with your Valentine or over the fact that they forgot about Valentine's Day.
I will. I'm sure we'll figure something out.
So our first episode of the season was a unique one. We tried two things for the first time. I believe in experimenting and learning and so I'm very proud of our marketing team for their boldness in doing that. We brought in some friends that were influencers. I never thought I'd be cool enough to say I did something with an influencer. We tested all the Super Bowl ads and we did a live podcast, which basically means all of my curse words, run on sentences, and rants about nothing were not able to be edited. So you get to see us live and unfiltered.
But I hope you enjoyed it. Some really great lessons about advertising. I think what's cool about seasonal advertising, Christmas holidays, Super Bowl, whatever you want to call it, is you'd get to see some of the best creative, but the principles of great communications are the same whether you're advertising on a Tuesday or you're advertising in a big moment and so I invite you to listen to that.
Today's an episode that's long overdue. We have a conversation with Stefania Gvillo, and the truth is I was stuck in a little phone booth during this interview in our office because I had to be in Boston for something. So if you're watching on YouTube, you get to see a very uncomfortable version of me. But Stefania Gvillo is a woman who I've known for many, many years, done a lot of work with her and genuinely have a lot of respect for, as somebody who crossed the rare chasm from being a great researcher to an incredible C-suite executive.
She's the chief insights and analytics officer at Domino's Pizza, which is a very customer-centric organization and you'll learn about that in this episode. But you'll also learn about from Stefania's perspective what needs to be true for insights to take advantage of the opportunity in front of us.
So I'm really excited to bring you this episode. So without further ado, ladies, cue the episode.
[Music transition to interview]
All right everybody. I am very excited to have this conversation with Stefania Gvillo, the Chief Insights and Analytics Officer at Domino's.
It has been a long time. It's great to see you, but I am so excited about today.
Yeah, it's going to be great. So Stefania, thanks for taking the time today. I want to kind of dive right in. So, I'm fascinated by our industry. I'm fascinated by different categories. You're now, was it two years into your role at Domino's?
So, before Dominoes, you were in two major CPG companies, and I'm sure I'm missing roles before that. Take me through a little bit of the learning journey from, and you can go back farther than Pepsi, but Pepsi was a regional role, Mondelez was a global role, and now you're in a global leadership role for a different category.
I'd love you to just contrast some of the things you've picked up along the way and if you can, what's really different about QSR and CPG? Because there's a lot of things that are different, but it'd be interesting to just hear from your perspective.
There are a lot of things that are different, but there's also a lot of things that are the same. So what I found very similar was the passion of the team, in terms of just having really smart, savvy individuals, very collaborative of course. And then really understanding the industry. So that was something that was super, super similar.
I would say the other thing that was similar was being data-driven because obviously A&I, as we're called, Analytics and Insights, has a deep-rooted presence in the company and that was the case also at PepsiCo and Mondelez.
What was different was, I would have to say its collaboration on steroids, which is a really, really great thing. And I was driving in thinking you might ask me this and why I say that is, we're all driving towards the same brand and that was very different at Mondelez, very different at PepsiCo, because we had a portfolio of brands.
And now it's all, think of one company all pulling together in unison and in service, of one brand.
I think the other difference is about being nimble and agile. We don't even use those words in the restaurant industry because that is the day-to-day. We make really, really quick decisions, focused on the customer, focused on the franchisee, and focused on what the data is telling us.
But you and I were talking about this, we're really testing ads that are going to air in a week or two. So, that's-
Literally right now.
... Really being agile and really being nimble. And again, those words are never uttered. So that has been some of the biggest differences.
That's fascinating. You're right. Your category doesn't give you a choice, so it's not having meetings about meetings to talk about it. You're just like living it.
You're living it, but you're of course thinking about the short-term implications and the long-term implications. In every decision you have to weigh those two because it might make sense for the now, but it may not make sense for tomorrow and that's always the tension point in meetings.
And also thinking about at Mondelez, it was really focused on the customer, on the consumer. And here, that is primary. We also have to think about our franchisees, so it's a very different model as well.
Yeah, it's true. I think you know this about me, but my listeners don't. My high school and college job was actually working at Domino's delivering pizzas.
One of my favorite jobs, ever. So, I have a deep affinity for the brand. But that tension of the long and short of it in your business. So Stefania and I met each other when Stefania was running North American Beverage Insights at PepsiCo, which is a bunch of really iconic brands, but to your point, a matrix of priorities and P&Ls.
And so are there similarities in that tension? In your business it's like there's offers and there's brand building, but in the CPG business it's like, sure, we want to grow the category of beverages, or we want to grow the category of cookies or crackers or whatever the hell the thing is. But I guess, what are some of the parallels of that tension? I wonder if there are any.
Well, we still want to grow the category and we have been growing the category. I think the tension is exactly that. It's about how do we not only grow the brand and it's really important and yes, we do offers and value is a really critical tenant of our brand, but it's more expansive and that's something that we're working through and evolving, as well, as we do in every other company, is what does our brand stand for in the marketplace? And what is distinctive to Domino's that another brand can't really own?
So where do we have the right to play and the right to win? Those are critical. And that was the same at Mondelez. It was the same at Pepsi. And their QSR space has drastically changed. Consumer behavior has changed. Dine-in is not as prevalent as it used to be before the pandemic. Aggregators have entered the space. The pandemic has really accelerated digital efforts for all the QSR players, so that has fundamentally changed, again, consumer behavior, as well as how we think about decisions and how we also think about the competitive landscape.
So it's much, much broader than even two years ago when I joined, which I think is fascinating and it's a really fun sandbox to play in.
Yeah, it is. The space has been really challenged. Domino's put out a spot two years ago that was talking directly about the aggregators and it's like, "If you're not going to order pizza from us, call local." And I really enjoyed it 'cause I thought it was a clever way to use the brand personality to basically make a provocative point, but it's another channel.
A lot of brands screw up and we survey a lot of people obviously, and we talked a lot about brands entering into social conversations or brands voice. And it's only when you can authentically be there. And so it's an interesting thing for me to see what are the tenants of a brand, but also if you think about the QSR industry, you're really trying to drive an incremental purchase, an incremental visitor, incremental order. So, that requires you to look at your menu. It requires you to look at your offers.
And so that balance of, I think, I love the way you put it because these principles of can we play here and do it well that are like, okay, but we also have shareholders and franchisees and we need to give them new things to market. And yeah, it's really interesting, 'cause I mean if you look at your menu, it has really evolved in the last couple years really, right?
That has to evolve. And we are not only about its frequency and acquisition, it's about really playing to our fanatics and understanding them really, really well.
But then how do we attract and bring in new customers? And where are we relevant? And you can't be relevant to everybody, but you want to make sure that you really understand your core and then could broadcast that. Whether it's offers, menu, pricing even, advertisements. So what the brand communicates, it has to be across all touchpoints.
Yeah, it makes perfect sense.
So I want to talk to you a little bit about your collaboration on steroids point. I'm particularly fascinated about businesses like yours that are innately data-driven in customer-centric. So that's cultural, right? Which is, I always say this to people who are particularly in insights and analytics roles, if your business isn't customer-centric or data-driven, it's going to be hard for you to change that whether you're big or small.
I mean, I interviewed a woman who runs insights for a very fast-growing telehealth business and she was hired as employee 80 because the founder prioritized customer centricity that much.
Wow. That's great.
It makes perfect sense that business is flying. You are in a business that is, everybody's to your point, pointing at the brand of Dominoes, which is different from the other businesses where you're in board meetings. You're engaging with the CEO. You're working with the COO's. The franchise departments. What are the things that you are seeing as needs from those stakeholders around insights and analytics?
Talk to me about how you're catching them in stride and some of the things that they need to be successful, 'cause I think it's always an interesting contrast to think about the business decision-making and how we can catch those people in stride.
Yes, great question. And Domino's is very much centric on the customer and the data. Has been. It always will be. Even before I got here, was very much. It's a core principle. One of our values which we show at every town hall. It's about championing our customers, so data- centricity has to be core to that.
But one thing that is a real tenant to Domino's and in terms of collaboration is we collaborate across the enterprise.
And so the way that we really bring others along is by storytelling and trying to really understand their needs upfront. That is the most critical part. What are your questions? What are your biases? What are you trying to understand? And how will that impact your decisions?
So, it's always about thinking from the business, back. So it's not about thinking about the methodology or the tool. It truly is about thinking about what you are going to do with that data? How is it going to impact the business? How is it going to drive the decision and influence that, as well as planning for it upfront?
So that is always step number one, is bringing others along and making sure that you get their biases. And then at the end it really is about the storytelling. How do you bring that story to life? How do you focus on what matters most? And that is really how you get the attention of the C-Suite as well as the board, is taking them along the journey.
Hey, here was the question. Here's what's happening in the business. Here are the three things that we're seeing that will drive action and here's the implication. And every time you tell a story that way, rather than focusing on everything you learned, that is what drives conversations and that's what enables just creativity and a lot of thinking in terms of, "Okay, how do we take action about this? What is the timeline? What's the sequencing? And how will that drive franchisees, but also the customer?"
Yeah, it makes perfect sense. I mean even in my business, a small business, the amount of insight I get is scarce. The amount of data I get thrown at me is pretty big and so-
A lot of data to go through to get to the insight.
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
But I think you make an interesting contrast. In a lot of businesses, the stakeholder of insights is marketing. I've known you for a while. You've been in board meetings, COO meetings, franchise meetings, and so I say this to give you credit because clearly it's working. Right? You're the asset of insights and data is in high demand and being used in so many different ways.
And for those of you who don't know, I mean there's a whole group of people who own stores that are key decision-makers in a business like Stefania's, that aren't market research, and didn't come up through a P&G portfolio program. They're running small businesses. The shout-out to John Eno, who's the franchisee I used to work for when I was 15. He's my first ever boss, so I appreciate him.
So it makes a lot of sense and I think starting with methodology is one of the things as an industry we need to stop thinking about and think about what we know and what are the questions that they need to answer to determine the strategy and then we'll figure out how to do that behind the scenes.
Absolutely. It is not about the tool. That is the crux of it. It's important. I don't want to overshadow it, but it's not... It's a means to an end. It's not the end.
Yeah, exactly. And I think even insight service providers, we all need to hear that because I mean, I imagine you get 50 of these emails a day, with why it's toys better and it's like how does the toy help me sell more pizza, is really the problem.
And it's not a service provider. It's a partner. And we have to change that language as well.
Thank you. Thank you. And that's a two-way street. Right? So we, you and I are business partners, and that means a lot. So, let's talk about that for a minute.
What do you look for in a partner? And I'll reciprocate because I think we have a great partnership, so it'll be interesting to contrast that.
Yeah, I mean the biggest piece is to really be visible change agents. Do meta-analysis. We were just talking about that. You are close to the data, as we are, or even closer. So we're looking to you to proactively have ideas, have thoughts, have implications to our business, rather than be reactive and wait for our request. That is not a productive partnership. Right? It really is a two-way street.
So, the meta-analysis is critical to come to us like, "Hey, have you thought about this?" Or, "Hey, we are seeing this in the data. What do you think we should do about it?" And co-created together, so I think that is by far the biggest piece.
I think the second piece is storytelling. Many times we just talked about that, we showcase everything we found out in the survey, and of course we need to understand the details, but put that in the appendix. Focus on what really we need to do differently and what will drive the decision and will drive the business and get us to an even better place.
And so many times we have to wade through a lot of facts to uncover the true insight. And that is a waste of your time to put the report together and our time to sit through the meetings, looking through data after data after data, rather than talking together with our cross-functional team members in the room, about what are we going to do about it. And that is the power of A&I, the power of our partnership, is to get to what are we going to be doing differently? How are we going to move things along? Rather than discussing data points. And I feel like that has to be a fundamental change. That's a client, that is a service partnership, is to focus on the data.
But a true business partnership and a strategic business partnership is, Great. Do that as a pre-read. Send it out 48 hours in advance and then in the meeting hit the highlights of the data because everyone needs to have that common grounding. But then spend the majority of the time on that proactive thinking of, "Hey, you may not have been privy to bringing everything together, but here's what we're seeing in this data set and what are some of our early initial thinking is, but more importantly, here's the power that we've just triangulated with other work that we've done for you."
And that is, to me, that is such a successful and fluid business partnership because what happens? Then you're invited more and more to meetings, rather than it's, "Oh, we'll see you once a month." Or, "We'll see you when we have a need," and it's needs based rather than it's business based. And it's a very, very different mindset.
It really is. And I think, so I'll say a few words about this, but I think what you're touching on is also what this industry doesn't matter if you're a client or a provider, that what you just said is what we all need to do to elevate.
And I mean, I'm going to go red in the face talking about this to anybody who will listen. The skillset of consumer insights in analytics people can bring empathy to data, which is increasingly becoming programmatic, but it's only when we sit above it and say, "Based on all this, we should go left. Based on all this, I see that we actually take advantage of the opportunity." I still think as a trade, we're still stuck in between two worlds; market research, project management and actually being strategic partners to each other.
Absolutely and that's something we talk about in my team all the time. We have to be amazing partners. Absolutely. But think business first, not A&I first, and that will unlock so much.
I remember when I first started in the industry, it was all about mitigating risk. I remember my first boss sitting me down, your role is to mitigate risk. And I thought, well, that's demotivating.
How boring is that?
How boring? And to validate. And I thought, "Validate. That's at the end." The powers in the beginning. You have to form the right questions. What are the problems to solve, so that you can really key into that in the tools that you use, and the way that you report it out. And always having a pulse on that because something that you fielded a few weeks ago, may have morphed and we talked about nimbleness. May have morphed in the weeks after that. So, it's always having that touchpoint. And we're in meetings. I mean, we sit near our partners. We're in meetings with them all the time. We're not brought in at the end.
So, I remember one of my former team members had this great quote about, we used to collaborate with a pen. It's about validation. It's about correcting mistakes and evolving from there. And now we collaborate with a pencil because we're co-creating, shaping things, we're steering, and that is the true power of A&I is that we shape. We don't validate.
Ugh. Yeah, It's so funny because one of the reasons I got excited about our business in the early days was like, "Okay, if we make testing become learning, then insights people can get above the fray." And in some ways I feel like we've had a role in perpetuating bad behavior because you could test stuff quickly or what have you.
You name me somebody who's a really creative planner at an agency and I'll name you somebody who hates copy testing because it's testing of copy, not amplification of an idea and making something better. I think that's the shift that we're going through as an industry.
I've had this discussion actually internally today, so I'll share this. I hope I don't embarrass anybody.
We were talking about different things we need to do and I always get frustrated when somebody's like, "This is what our department needs." And I'm like, okay, at the end of the day a company makes stuff and sells it to happy customers and the growth of the company depends on those happy customers coming back a bunch of times.
You think about it as businesses, we create a lot of cost centers to facilitate the production, to make the supplies and all those things are in service of making great pizza and selling it to happy customers. At the end of the day, you can put all the buzzwords aside, and I love what you're doing, Stefania, because you're not thinking about customer insights or analytics as your function. You're figuring out how do I get that to everybody in the company? Because customer centricity is Domino's job. Not just your job.
Yes, we have to be. Everybody owns the... No one department owns the customer. We're all making decisions that influences and impacts the customer and how they engage with our brand, how they engage with our product, and our role is to delight them. Our role is to make it much easier, even the digital experience, much easier. The ordering process. How do we really bring value to them every day?
At the end of the day, that is our role and it's not owned by A&I. It's owned by everybody, but we have to bring those pieces together. Because the way we show up as a brand is touched upon by supply chain, by operations, by marketing. So, everyone has to be consistent in the way that we come across to the customer.
And it shows. Let me tell everybody a story that I told Stefania before we recorded. My wife took me to a fancy restaurant the other night. I left hungry, so I ordered a Domino's pizza. It was delicious and this is the supply chain point in action. According to your internal systems, the pizza didn't get to me on at a time that your company was happy with. Do you know what? I got an automatic offer to order another pizza. Customer delight moment, not driven by marketing. It was a customer journey thing.
And so it's like, I think a good example of that actually in practice. But this stuff starts with leadership, so I give your executive team a ton of credit for this being cultural and I think for you for acknowledging, "Okay, I have the space to do this. Let me disseminate it." A lot of CEOs are going to be in a lot of trouble for not creating the space for a customer-centric culture.
So, I want to go back to what makes a good partner. So everything Stefania said, heavy plus one, and this is for those of you on the corporate side because if you think about it, you are an internal service provider.
And so what Stefania is saying is to bring it. To bring value, to send the pre-read, to optimize the live time, and I completely agree with it. There was a study, Gartner did Stefania probably seven years ago around what makes B2B decision-making happening and it wasn't doing business with somebody you like, which is obviously great. It wasn't even price and time. It was the partners who bring a fresh perspective and a clear path forward. And that is as true for somebody who is running a software company, as it is for somebody who's in an I&A role, helping a supply chain team make sense of things.
But one of the things I think you do naturally, that maybe not everybody does, is you don't take the word partner loosely. And I'm going to say what I mean by this.
A lot of people, the word partnership comes up when a contract is being negotiated. Partnership is somebody on Becky's team calling somebody on my team saying, "Hey, we're really thinking through this and this is our context and we're struggling for these reasons." And being vulnerable and giving the context so that the other person can actually bring a fresh perspective. And it's something that it's cultural to have the space to be vulnerable and open with people.
And what I find, and I don't know if you see this internally, is the partners who do that, or actually call them customers, my staff runs through brick walls for. The customers who don't, like, "Okay, I got to do this." It's different. And so think about that in terms of do you want, if you're Stefania, you want the best people working on your accounts.
And the best people don't want to work on accounts that they don't get the full context from.
No and you want diversity of thought. You want that in your team, internal team, and you want that in your partners, your external partners. It is not a client relationship. It's not a service relationship. Again, that's not going to move the business. That's a very reactive, laid back mentality. Waiting for the phone to ring or an email to pop up. That's not the business we're in today. It doesn't work that way.
Sometimes I hear, "But I'm so responsive and I'm super collaborative." Great. That's amazing, foundational project management skills, but that's not our role. Are you driving decisions? Are you changing the status quo? Because yes, we're an amazing team with a lot of great impact and a lot of great partners, but if we're not evolving as a team, using the latest tools, but also truly unpacking the business question and reframing the business question, then we haven't done our role. We're not influencing. We're not bringing our voice to the table. We are advocating for customers. We're advocating for franchisees.
So our voice matters and that is a really important lesson that I learned very early in my career and I bring that to this day, is we are advocating for others. We're not advocating for ourselves.
Yeah. You're advocating for me when I leave dinner with my wife and want a pizza.
So, I got a question for you. And by the way, everybody, this is the most unscripted interview I've ever done because I just have a-
So unscripted. No questions to prepare.
Normally I am very type A, I send questions and we're just riffing. Genuinely riffing. So this is like I'm having so much fun with you.
I have a question for you. So, we both acknowledge that this industry is on a sort of a paradigm shift. We're trying to get and we don't even need to make this about Domino's insights and analytics. We're trying to get the insights trade to get from, let's face it, in the nineties it was you'd call a Basey, you were managing the Basey project, brokering that into marketing. It was very much, in some ways, a rubber stamp, risk mitigation procurement.
Transactional. It was a transactional relationship. Yes.
And there's some incredibly smart and wonderful people who either want what we're talking about or don't know what's coming and I view this as a big training and learning and development problem in this space.
So we have two choices. We ignore X percent of the industry, that's how they came up and they don't know how to get to the other side, or we help them get there. What are some things you can share about how you're up-skilling people that are crossing the chasm, or any advice you have for somebody being like, "Look, I want this, but I don't know how to get there."
Right. It's a great question and I want to go back to what you talked about, the culture that lives here. It really does start from the top.
If our C-Suite is not asking, "What does the consumer think about it? What are the needs we're trying to address? What decision are we trying to make? What's the long-term implication?" That is not having a consumer mindset. So it has to start from there. And you can try your hardest to build that. It is tough. It can be done, but it takes a long, long time, so I always focus on making sure that we create that obsession about the consumer at the top. And thankfully that exists here and we always talk about what is the implication to the customer. And of course what's the implication to franchisees. So, it has to be there.
The second is you have to change the language. It starts with the vernacular. Get out of the, "My client wants me to do this." And I've heard that in internal team meetings, marketing. My client said... Like, who's your client? Are we with an external partner? Even that, I hate that language, even externally.
So C-Suite number one. Second, change the language because the words you use drive perception. So it may not be reality, but they drive perception. So, it's really important to use action-oriented words and to make sure that you are a collaborative partner and a strategic business partner.
I think the third is what we talked about earlier, thinking business back. So, start with the question and the implications to the business, every time you have a question to address and reframe it. Reframe, reframe, reframe. Because that is gold at the end. If you start with a small question, you can have so much more impact, if you just reframe it and broaden it a little bit more.
And then it is about what we talked about before too. The storytelling is so critical and you start small. We actually have a group within our team. We call it Park, and they look at presentations before they're ready to go live. And these are for big meetings. And because they're objective, they're not in the weeds of the projects, so they actually look at presentations and with team members, almost as a rehearsal if you will. And then they point out, "Hey, this could be even stronger if you touch upon X a little bit more than Y, or if you really simplify the slide and make it much more impactful."
So I think having guides like that along the way, that maybe we're so focused on the technical aspect or maybe that's where the capability lies, but then how do you leverage other team members who are strong in storytelling or pick another area or technical because we have a technical group as well, that it's just a sounding board and it takes you away from being managed, or from being graded if you will, but it's more about how can we make this even better and do that peer-to-peer rather than manager to team member or even cross-functional to team member.
So I think put things in place that you know have gaps and you want to focus in on and do it internally, really inexpensively, but it gives you so much more empowerment and excitement to the team, rather than always waiting for, I have to go to a conference or I have to go to training, is doing it on the job. 70% of training has to happen on the job and learning, so we try to really focus in on that.
Let's be real. Most people learn by doing.
I love the peer-to-peer concept because it's a safe space. I don't know if you agree with what I'm about to say, so feel free to call BS.
I fear a lot of what's happening and I'm probably speaking for some people, not all. But people actually know the strategy, the right thing to do, the direction, but there's an intimidation factor of standing up in front of a CMO and saying, "Yeah, but for these reasons we got to do this." And I'm always encouraging people, find your voice. What's the worst actually that happens?
And I think to you, as you said a few minutes ago, it starts with the top and the culture. If what the customer thinks is the question, the biggest boss in the company's asking, something tells me that also that person's willing to be challenged if we're doing something that is off. So I feel like we've had this back of the office librarian personality of we can't challenge If we're shepherding the customer in a company, I think... I guess what I'm looking for you to do is either agree or disagree, 'cause I'd love to have people find their voice a little bit more internally.
I absolutely, 1000% agree. It's hard. It is really hard to stand up for the customer and the data and what you're seeing and have your voice heard. Especially, I'm an introvert and a lot of folks in this industry are introverts, right? So it's hard because sometimes there's louder voices, or voices that take up some of the space, but you've got to push yourself. And again, it's not advocating.
The thing that changed for me is I'm not advocating for myself. I'm advocating on behalf of two of our most important stakeholders; the customer and the franchisee. And if I don't do my job, and it is my job, everybody's job, regardless of your level in this industry, to advocate and represent them, then you're failing. You can have the best data in the world, you can have the latest technology, but when decisions are made and you're not bringing that voice forward, then we're doing them a disservice.
So it is really, really important. And you start small, right? In meetings, I remember earlier in my career, I would think through the questions and the conversation at hand and voice my opinion internally and okay, other people said it, so I'm on the right path. And that gives you a little bit of confidence.
And then you voice your opinion a little bit more, but out loud. And then you see people agreeing or disagreeing, and then you have rationale because the data is better than anybody else in the room. Always remember that. You know the data and the customer probably better than anyone in the room. And it's okay to be challenged and oh my goodness, we're challenged all the time, but you get better results because sometimes, oftentimes there's amazing opinions that are counter to the data. And if you don't balance those two, it's not black and white decisions. I wish it were black and white. It's not because you have to take into consideration the marketplace that's not in your data set, or pricing factors or cost of goods or level of service.
So it's bringing all of that together. That is the power of meetings and that's why you're an important part of the decision. You're not the only decision-maker. So it's really important to represent, but it's really also important to have that business mindset, rather than only focusing on black and white, what's in front of you.
Absolutely. I mean, wow, what a mic drop response. And it's interesting, your point about introversion and the people who are introverted that are listening to this, I think there's something you need to learn from Stefania. You're an expert in the customer and so that it gives you comfort. 'Cause you're like, if you're naturally not comfortable talking, but you're an expert about something, it's a lot easier. But I love your point. You make it like it's a lens decision. It's not the only decision.
It's a lens. It's a lens. And many times, and I'm guilty of this too, but the data says, we have to do this and usually the data is right. Most of the time the data is right. But you also have to triangulate with other data sources that you've done in the past, with your own experience, your own gut that's formed by experience. It's not just a gut, but it's formed by experience, and then external factors that you may not have visibility to.
And that's why I love cross-functional partnerships because supply chain brings in different points-of-views and marketing and operations and finance and HR. And all of that you mix together to form the right decision, but it's imperative.
And then as you're building more confidence, I remember I had a great piece of advice from someone at PepsiCo who I always valued and respected and always seemed on top of everything. And I asked, "What is your secret? You seem so polished and have just the right things to say in meetings." And he wasn't the most vocal person in the room, but everyone listened to everything he said, when he did share. And he's like, "It's preparation." And it's all you'd think about before the meeting and it's literally five minutes as you're walking to the meeting, what are some of the questions that might be asked?
And so you think about it in advance and that increases your comfort level, brings confidence, and you probably can guess what's going to be talked about. Sure, things always go on tangents, but you primarily know what's going to be talked about, so think about that as you're walking to the meetings or if there's a big meeting, think about it in advance and then you have your point-of-view.
And even if it's two things you say in the entire meeting, make them count. And that's how you get more confidence but it's also how you create pull for yourself because you want people to advocate for you outside of your manager and you also want people to pull for you and have you in more meetings because they really value your point-of-view. They don't value how often you speak. They value what you say. But you can't just lean back and just take it in.
Wow. Stefania, you're such a great advocate for young people or trying to find their voice. Thank you so much. I'm out of time with you, so I have to go.
Oh, that went fast.
It did. Well, time flies when you're having fun talking.
Thank you for spending time with me.
Oh my God and I can't wait to see you in a few weeks. Everybody thank you.
I can't wait either.
Stefania, thank you so much. Everybody have a great day.
My pleasure. Bye, everyone.
[Music transition to takeaways]
Well, ladies, what did you think?
She's amazing. She's absolutely amazing. I love how powerful she is. She's very together, but very passionate. I love that.
Yeah, for sure. If you could overhear background noise. The truth is at the time of this recording, we are an hour away from surprising my kids with a vacation to the Caribbean and my wife has decided that it's a great time to print pictures. So I apologize for the printer.
Can't even hear it.
For the first takeaways of season six, Patricia, what did you learn from our dear friend Stefania today?
I've got three amazing takeaways and a little nugget, which is when we go, oh duh. Usually I leave the extras for the end. I'm going to start with this one because it totally floored me.
You asked her what's the difference between QSR and corporate business? I mean, you've been in both and it's a standard question you'll ask everybody, and she just said, "Oh, it's really simple, right? It's not marketing or marketing and sales collaborations with everybody." That sounds normal. She says, "it's collaboration on steroids because we have to play to the fanatics and understand them well." And I thought, okay, things are getting different now. She's talking about fanatics, not just consumers. She's talking about fanatics.
Very unique answer to that question.
Loved it. I mean, all of a sudden she's got my attention. Then she says, "You know that nimble and agile stuff, we don't talk about it. We live it." I was like, oh, right. She goes, "We don't have time to talk about it. We just go, go, go." I'm paraphrasing a little. She really impressed me. Number three, it's not about many brands, it's not about a portfolio. It's one brand. We're all pushing in the same direction. And the penny dropped and I went, of course they're all pushing Domino's. We were-
...Domino's. It's one brand and everybody's going in the same direction. I mean, I worked for Coke, I worked for Quaker, I worked for Pepsi, I worked for Colgate. It's one company, but it's many brands and it's the whole entire... And I had never thought about it. She works and everybody under the same roof worked for one brand.
And I thought, that's brilliant. Those four little things were brilliant. So she started me off and I was like, I get it. I totally get it. So when you have that in your mind, then I've got three amazing things. I kept in mind our people, our peeps, the whole time. Because I want to make sure they have really cool things to use for Monday morning.
So the three things, it's all about how to best use data, how to best use not only data, but the A and I team. Their analytics and insights teams. How to change me, because not all of us start being able to speak in public. Not all of us come from the background. Sometimes we start at the beginning. All of us start at the beginning one day. So she gave really clear things about how to change me, how to evolve me.
And the last one is all about how to bring the rest of the company with you when you go from old-fashioned to something very different.
So I'm going to start. First one, how to use data, how to use the insights team, how to use insights. She's like the power's at the beginning. You have to start with the right questions. What problems do you have to solve? That's where you start. That's where the power is. At the beginning. So insights, data, and the team all have to be there from the beginning. You don't start thinking about data at the end. You start thinking about the data at the beginning, which means one of my favorite soapboxes, what data do you already have before you start? I mean, don't relearn. What do you have now? Then she said something so simple. Sit near your partners at every meeting.
She just said some things and I just went, duh, of course. If you're sitting next to your "stakeholder", "partner", or whatever word you want to use it, you can talk, you can share, you are there, you're present, you're top of mind. You're in meetings with them all the time. But if you start breathing the same air, you're not just brought in at the end, your top of mind is right there. So you're together. It's something you're solving together. Then she gave credit to somebody for a quote. She says, "We used to collaborate with a pen when it was about validation.
Now it's about correcting mistakes and evolving from there. And now we collaborate with a pencil because we're co-creating, shaping things, steering, and that's the true power of AI." Whoa. She went from a pen to a pencil. I mean, drop my world. I was, wow. The simplicity of the insight was just gorgeous.
To wrap this one piece up, she talked about consumer insights or analytics not being a function. No one department owns this. She talks about it being the responsibility of the company. And what the team does, it just makes it easier for them. The role of the A and I team is engaging, is helping the company engage, is delighting the customers, but also delighting internally. And her role, her team's role, is to make all of that easier. So that is what her insight, which for lack of a better word, if not just magic, is how to best use the data, the insights, and the team. Isn't that amazing? Wow. Sit next to your partners. Wow. I'll have a cup of coffee. I love that.
I know. And it works. It works. Now, we were just talking off camera, us three, earlier about many insight professionals being closet introverts. I'm a closet introvert. People are like, oh, but you're so... No, I need downtime so that I can have all this energy for this sort of thing.
And so many of us, we're into numbers, we're into data, we're into insights. So many of us are not natural extroverts and much of the job that we have, convincing the world of bringing data to the table and bringing data to life is more extroverted in look and feel.
So how do you change me? How do you transform? Because this episode is all about transforming insights. So how do I start with me? How do I change me? And she was wonderful. She was so vulnerable with us and she said, "I remember how I was at the beginning" because she admitted that she was kind of shy. And she was telling us, this is how I started.
She goes, start small. Think through the questions. In meetings, quietly think through the questions and the conversation and in your mind start answering them. And if somebody else says something similar, you validate yourself immediately and say, I'm on the right path. You start giving yourselves a little bit more confidence.
When you're over that, then go and voice your opinion maybe once, maybe twice, and start watching how other people react. When you see people agreeing or disagreeing, then you have something to go on which way to go. And you start using your data because you have the data. Because you're the insight people. So you have a way to back up what you're saying and you know the data better than anybody in the room and you're sharing that with everybody else.
Then she went on to say it's okay to be challenged. That's what you're there for. You have the data, you have your point of view.
You're one person. Don't take it personally. They're just asking. And it's your job to make sure you know the data, to do your homework well beforehand so that you can have the conversation and maybe they'll bring something different to the table and you'll learn something new. It's not black and white. It's all about having more perspectives.
"Remember," she said, "you are not the only decision maker." That's the beauty of it. Maybe if you like lots of control, that's not good, but not being the only decision maker is almost liberating. So it's really important to represent. You're representing what's in front of you, you're representing the franchisee, you're representing the consumer, you're there to represent the data. And then it takes you to triangulating.
So you're representing the data, the new stuff that you have. You get data from your people that are at the table with you, and then you look for cross-functional partnerships to bring you extra data. Because it's not just about marketing or sales, it's about HR or finance or operations or supply chains.
You mix all that so you can make the right decision, because no piece of decision for the company should be made with only one set of data. And so she's like, that's going to be liberating to you. And you're building yourself up to this so that you're understanding, you're advocating. You're not the be all and end all, you're advocating.
And then she wrapped this one up by saying, "Bring value to every day." I remember many, many years ago, I got a very similar piece of advice from somebody very important to me who said, "Bring value every day. Whatever it is you do, bring value every day." And so I thought that was amazing. The data's owned by everybody. You're the one that's going to help come across. Be consistent. So I thought that was amazing.
The wrap up she's like, okay, let's say you've come to a company and the company is a little bit old-fashioned, for lack of a better word. I'm going to pause for a second. In conversation with one of my customers, one of my partners. I realize that this is a very traditional company and it's a, I'm a supplier. I'm a vendor. And so I made the mistake of going to draft one or two of the report, and I put some suggestions and recommendations. And the feedback I got back is, what's this? Our vendors don't do this. No, no, no, no. Unless it's something that specifically came from the customer's mouth, the consumer's mouth, the respondent's mouth, no, you have to delete that. I'm like, no problem. I usually get asked for this, but if you don't need it, I'm perfectly fine with that. I'll just put the insight that led me to that.
But we have to understand that that's the reality for many companies nowadays. So if that's your reality-
What a shame.
... Yeah, it is. But they're a very successful company and they're doing well. So I guess let's not change that. But let's say you come to a company like that and you have a smaller world and you can have more influence. What does Stefania say you should do? Start at the top. It really does start at the top. You know, you need to start talking to them about what their consumer, what is their need? What are they trying to address? What is the business issue? Start getting in there. After you get your own confidence and you understand, you go and ask them what do they want to know? And then when you're there talking to them, change the vocabulary. She said it starts with the vernacular. I thought that was beautiful because it does.
It's all about using action oriented words, use we. She didn't say that, but I'm going to bring it in as if she had, because it just felt natural. Use we, not your problem and your need. Our need as a company. I'm here to grow this brand. This is what we do.
So think about that and change that so it becomes a collaboration, a partnership, not just, "You're IA, you're not the deliverer of insights within the company." You're a partner. You're helping this because it's part of your world. And the last one is, start with the business and then go backwards. Don't start with the tool or the methodology, start with the business. Start with the questions and the implications. That way you have the business in mind first and foremost to understand where you're going, what the objective is. You never forget what the brand is. Domino's. Who are we looking at? We're looking for Domino's fanatics. We need to make sure that they're first and foremost. And who else? The franchisees.
She's got such clarity because the gold is at the end. That's where you need to, and you have to make sure that you start with small questions and keep going there so that you can get to that gold at the end. Starting by the business in the beginning. And that was my take aways from Stefania.
Yeah, it's true. I've been on this tangent, frankly, internally, but equally externally lately. There's a lot of departments and companies that do really important work, but a lot of people inside of those departments forget what they're actually there to do, which is help companies make things and sell them to happy customers so that the company can make money. And we could all learn a lot from that because a lot of people hoard their departments and their silos.
And the best thing that you can do for your career and your function is think about how the work you do helps the company innovate and grow. That's what companies are trying to do.
And this works. I've proven this. I mean, I have no problem saying his name. Scott Jeffery was the president of Colgate Columbia when I first came, and he was not a believer of insights. He just wasn't. It just was something that he wasn't really into. And I started by talking to him, and closed doors, just one on one, this is how it goes. Just talking about it going through.
One year later, he was up there saying, and I read the research report and it says this. And I was like, A little bit of zest, a little bit of zeal, but he was totally there. And it took a while, it was persistent. We have to make sure to talk their language, but if you ask him nowadays, I'm sure his reaction about insights is very different from before the Montesdeoca lady came.
Well done, Patricia. This is a wrap for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Tune in in two weeks. We'll see you then. Ladies, I'm out. Take it easy.