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Gap uses stories to spread insights

News, 16 June 2016

MARINA DEL REY, CA: Gap, the retail group, has employed "disruptive storytelling" in an attempt to ensure that valuable consumer insights are embraced across its organisation.

Jason Taylor, Senior Director/Consumer Insights at Gap Inc., addressed this topic at the 2016 New Face of Consumer Insights conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

More specifically, he discussed how "disruptive storytelling" tools like a narrative video with characters representing two of Gap's main buyer segments, as well as live focus groups, have helped connect key stakeholders with customer insights.

Similarly, art exhibits and immersive "journey maps" enabled the retailer's customer relationship management team to move well beyond PowerPoint decks and data-heavy presentations to attract internal attention for their work.

"With all my events," Taylor said, "you might notice a theme: I did something disruptive that was my Trojan horse to get attention, and for people to find out more." (For more, including further tips for securing buy-in to consumer insights, read Warc's exclusive report: How "disruptive storytelling" brings research to life at Gap.)

Turning research into tangible stories, he added, can achieve such an objective by leveraging the natural connection people have with this type of material.

"People are just biologically wired to remember stories," Taylor observed. "Know your hero, know your conflict, and know your resolution, and connect with your leaders emotionally."

Such tactics were necessary as perceptions of the role played by his team across the company at large were often inaccurate.

"We were deeply misunderstood," explained Taylor. "The brand saw us as a bunch of geeky guys who do usability stuff for the website, or who send the emails out."

As part of a mission to reposition this business unit as the "brain of the company", Taylor further insisted that its day-to-day deliverables became more eye-catching and engaging.

"You need something that's beautiful – something that people want to look at and put on their walls. We started putting a lot of attention into our creative collateral," he said.

Data sourced from Warc