How to generate breakthrough insights and drive impact

A conference for insights leaders

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Click on the links below to view each session from last year’s Better Why Conference and Awards Event:

Better Results Through Better Relationships

Julia Kirkpatrick
Edwin Wong
Vox Media
Caryn Akons
Manila Austin
C Space

Fireside Chat
A Leading Edge Through Insights
with IKEA

Viktor Olivemark
Nick Coates
C Space

Fireside Chat
Building a More Human Business with Atolla

Meghan Maupin
Diane Hessan
C Space

The Better Why Impact Award Winners 

Hear from the teams who are transforming customer insight into strategic advantage

The Better Why Report

Hear from over 100 insights leaders on how to grasp the opportunity of this inflection point.

With recommendations for success, this report will leave you with inspiration about how to:

  • Structure the strategic and the tactical
  • Work more effectively with agency partners
  • Design your projects with purpose and at speed
  • Translate customer needs into business imperatives


Building Iconic Brands That Connect with Customers for Life

Duke Stump, founder of Bonfire with Soul and former CMO of NIKElululemon and Seventh Generation, shares his 12 principles for unlearning business as usual and looking to customers to redefine what’s next.

Duke Stump

Founder, Bonfire with Soul
Former CMO of Nike, lululemon and Seventh Generation

One of Forbes Top 50 Game Changing CMOs, Duke Stump’s visionary approach has helped build iconic brands that connect with their customers for life, including NIKE and lululemon.

Not everything is measurable. It’s about creating the conditions – not to make magic – but the conditions for magic to happen.”

Duke Stump. Founder, Bonfire with Soul


Better Results Through Better Relationships

Industry leaders from PinterestVoxMedia and Citi discuss how building empathy and bringing more voices to the conversation result in better insights and greater impact.

Curiosity drives the best in what we do. Whether it’s in terms of the approach to the research, the questions that you’re going to ask, the way that you recruit people, or the way that you deliver…Keep being curious.”

Caryn Akons, SVP Research & Insights, Citi Retail Services

That 45-minute presentation we used to do? We’ve turned that into 5-minute debrief videos that we pre-record and send out. We’re doing newsletters, we’re doing one-pagers, we’re doing ask-a-researcher panels. We’re trying to engage in different ways to meet our stakeholders where they are, when they are so exhausted and burnt out (too). We’re trying to do the heavy lift for them to make sure that the insights we gather from our end users are getting put to work in a really simple and easy way.”

Julia Kirkpatrick, Director, Brand Research, Pinterest

Julia Kirkpatrick

Director, Brand Research, Pinterest

Edwin Wong

SVP Insights and Innovation, Vox Media

Caryn Akons

SVP Research & Insights, Citi Retail Services

Manila Austin

Ph.D. VP, Research

Fireside Chat

A Leading Edge Through Insights

Learn how Ikea’s insights team has developed a flexible partnership with the business in order to be customer-centric throughout the entirety of their innovation development process.

For a brand that is only looking at transactional data, and what is happening, it’s quite easy to be replaceable. If you really want to go deeper and have real, authentic relationships, and have solutions and products that truly are relevant, you need to get into the why.”

Viktor Olivemark, Global Insights Manager, IKEA

Viktor Olivemark

Global Insights Manager at Ikea

Nick Coates

Ph.D. Director, CX

Fireside Chat

Building a More Human Business

Learn about how technological innovation in combination with customer data and insight has led to a deeper relationship with customers and commercial growth at Atolla, a new algorithm-based skin-care brand that’s taking the beauty category by storm.

What really made our product great at Atolla was looking at the customer – putting the customer at the center, not focusing on what the competition is doing. [Focusing on the competition] is a waste of time, and everyone misses where the true innovation is – which is uncovering something from customer needs.”

Meghan Maupin, Founder and CEO, Atolla

Meghan Maupin

Founder and CEO, Atolla

Diane Hessan

Founder, C Space


Remarks from Our Global CEO

Jessica DeVlieger

Global CEO, C Space

Jessica is the Global CEO for C Space, the Customer Agency. In her role, Jessica focused on helping clients navigate the exponential pace of change with customers as their North Star; and creating an engaged workforce with a shared purpose of making business more human.

One of the few remaining competitive advantages that exists is the relationships that companies have with their customers.”

Jessica DeVlieger, Global CEO, C Space

Full Replay

The Better Why Conference & Awards

October 7, 2021

The Results Are In: The Better Why Impact Award Winners

Celebrating the teams who are transforming customer insight into strategic advantage

The results are IN. We’re excited to share this year’s Better Why Impact award winners: Merck, McDonald’s, Logitech, ATB Financial and our Better Why Champion: Mars.

A host of prestigious judges, from brands including the LEGO Group, Google, SAP, Truist, General Mills and Insights in Color, selected the winners based on their ability to generate insights that change the world of business, transforming customer insight into strategic advantage. Each of these brands know their customers are the most important asset they have, and have elevated the role of the insights departments through business and market impact.

Learn more about the incredible stories behind their award winning work below.

Meet the judges

Karin Jørgensen

Director, Head of Brand, Shopper and GTM Center of Excellence, The LEGO Group

Kevin Taylor

Global Head of Brand and Consumer Insights, Google

Paul Logue

SVP and Global Head of Insights, SAP

Jolan Simpson

Marketing, Research, and Technology SVP, Truist 

Estrella Lopez Brea

Head of Insights for the Europe and Australia Region, General Mills 

Whitney Dunlap

Founder, Insights in Color



Staying ahead of the customer

For a program that has used foresight to get ahead of changing customer expectation and has led to impact on business or customer outcomes

Winner brand: Merck

Merck maintained market leadership by co-creating and evaluating future oncology treatment scenarios. Jolan Simpson, who judged this award, said, “Health care is an emotionally intense area and ensuring that the way patients are cared for in the future is aligned with client feedback is extreme foresight.”

“Any improvement in the experience of a cancer patient as they manage their illness is extremely important. Caring not only to sell to its customers but to care about making their lives as much easier to live as possible is an altruistic endeavor. Thank you, Merck.”
– Janet M.
Consumer Verbatim



Working at the speed of the customer

For an insights program that flexed with rapidly changing customer needs to enable rapid decision making aligned to customer outcomes

Winner brand: Logitech

Logitech pivoted as Covid disrupted learning according to consumer requirements. Through connecting with customers, Logitech recorded its strongest growth performance ever in this sector. Judging this category was Estrella Lopez Brea who said, “Great example of ability to quickly understand the challenge, to pivot quickly and provide an offer that’s relevant for the new context. Great job!”

“I have a child in virtual school. Therefore, I understand the need for researching ways to make learning easier for students, parents, and teachers. It was difficult for everyone when covid hit and schools shut down. There were no resources available to help the children that year. But Logitech has done the groundwork for making virtual learning easier and making outcomes more successful for everyone involved. This is really important because our children are the future.”
– Shanna J.
Consumer Verbatim



Leading Change for Better Business

For an insights program that has had a measurable impact on either organizational (internal) or customer (external) inclusivity practices

Winner brand: McDonald’s

McDonald’s marketing organization wanted to build a culture of allyship and inclusion, and created a DEI committee within US Marketing to do just this. Through an interactive, internal kick-off event in June, the team was able to encourage high participation with speakers leading discussions on DEI work and individual small group breakout sessions, seeing measurable levels of impact in both internal engagement, individual commitments to actions and team DEI goals. Judging this panel was Karin Jørgensen who said this award showed, “a very strong commitment from organization related to change and a very impactful case.”

“All stories, and all voices matter, be sure you’re capturing and showcasing all of them. The ones that can make you better might surprise you. And that goes for your own team as much as your customers.”
– Matt Cahill
Senior Director, Consumer Insights Activation, McDonald’s



Do you truly ‘get’ your customer?

For a project or program that combines insight and relationship design to drive a customer-centric outcome

Winner brand: ATB Financial

ATB overhauled its mobile and web banking to provide customer-centric solutions. Their customer insights laid the foundation for ATB to reimagine a better digital banking experience to meet the evolving financial needs of their clients. Judge Jolan Simpson said, “This was an intense situation given they were facing end-of-life for their platform. This submission showed great complexity (a digital transformation is no easy task) and robustness of approach.”

“ATB Financial did the necessary work to meet the needs of their customers. Finances are important in everyone’s life. So, when you have a brand making sure that the experiences around banking is easier, that’s particularly great.”
– Eric R.
Consumer Verbatim



Championing the customer as a true disruptive force for business

For an organization in which growth can be directly attributed to insights, customer experience or customer relationship design programs

Winner brand: Mars Food

To further inclusion and equity in the face of accelerating issues of racial injustice, Mars sought to rebrand Uncle Ben’s to Ben’s Original™. To do this with the necessary care and sensitivity, and to do it right, Mars Food listened to consumer voices globally and across diverse perspectives, as they worked toward their ambition to help create a more equitable future. Mars Food also crafted a new brand purpose for Ben’s Original™ to take action by creating opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table. “We are thrilled that the insights work we did to drive the rebrand to Ben’s Original™ has been recognized in this way. This is an incredibly important topic and we knew we needed to listen as much as possible to our Associates, stakeholders, community members and consumers to learn and understand how to do this the right way,” said Katie Kaylor, Global Consumer Insights at Mars Food.

“This is a life and community-changing initiative. It is a very important step towards equality, humanity and rights.”
– Ravichandran B.
Consumer Verbatim

The Better Why Conference 2020

SEPTEMBER 24, 2020