The Power of a People-First Approach

by Jenny on February 2, 2024 Comments Off on The Power of a People-First Approach

Whenever we launch a new customer insights project, we start with asking our clients to share what they’re hoping to accomplish. The initial discussion is centered on business goals and objectives, which is obviously important. But after covering those details, we lean into their big-picture motivations and action drivers. There are significant time and resources being invested, so establishing the foundational “why” is an incredibly beneficial fist-step; both for us and for the client.

We ask simple questions like, “why do you feel it’s important to incorporate customer feedback when making decisions and developing your brand?” This question isn’t looking for groundbreaking discoveries or mind-bending realizations. Rather, it’s an opportunity for clients to verbalize ideas and beliefs that presently exist but may not be talked about on a day-to-day basis.

Driven by the client, the ensuing discussion typically focuses on how important customers are to their brand. It brings the human-element to the forefront so our ongoing discussions about project strategies and tactics are framed within that context. It shines a spotlight on what these customer insights projects are really about – finding ways to make life easier, more productive, and more enjoyable for the people surrounding their business.

At our core, MacKenzie is a team of connectors, builders, and growers with a people-first mindset. Everything we do is intended to have a positive impact on an individual level. That includes our client’s team as well as their customers. Having over 35 years of experience in the world of customer insights, we’ve got the timelines, final deliverables, and next steps covered. So collectively as a group, we make sure our focus is honed-in on what is most important from the very beginning – people.

Here are a few points of focus we carry into each new project:

Give everyone an opportunity for their voice to be heard.

This is just as important for our client’s team as it is for their customers. From key stakeholders and project leads to department heads and ground-level staff, we want to have a positive impact on the entire organization. To do that, we want to learn what types of insights and points of focus are most relevant across the board. By hearing from the different positions and roles within our client’s organization, we gain a well-rounded perspective on what deliverables will be most helpful. With that, we can make plans and offer recommendations that have a broad impact and deliver cross-departmental value.

For their customers, every voice matters. From long-time loyalists to new acquisitions, everyone has unique perspectives, ideas, and opinions. It’s important to note that addressing the broader customer population shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. The types of questions asked and feedback gathered is best guided by where they’re at along their journey with the brand. Customers are excited for opportunities to have their voices heard, but they want to provide feedback on topics that are most important to them. So, when opening lines of communication, we’re mindful of being relevant to both the customer and the project’s objectives.

Focus on strengthening communities.

An extension of taking a people-first approach is recognizing that the collective group of individuals forms a community. While connecting with and serving people on an individual level, there are also opportunities to benefit these groups as a whole. Brands have a community of customers. They also have an internal community of team members. We all exist within a community, both as professionals and as people. Strengthening these communities is one of our main goals. Through customer insights projects, we get to positively impact the lives and experiences of customers. At the same time, we get to serve and support our clients to further develop their brand identity and internal culture.

As a family-owned small business, we strive to make a difference within our surrounding community through philanthropy and cause-driven partnerships. We also place great importance on our own team, providing them with the training and resources they need to be successful. Outside of the office, we support our friends, colleagues, and any other lives we touch.

We’re blessed to be in a position to make a difference within our multi-dimensional community. This aligns with the values of carrying a people-first mindset and ensuring every voice is heard. Our personal and professional lives overlap in so many ways. Having awareness of that and doing what we can to benefit both worlds isn’t only what we want to do, it’s who we strive to be on a daily basis.

Products and services should improve quality of life, not just generate revenue.

The principles of having an equal voice and strengthening communities shape our overall business mindset. Long-term success in the modern world cannot be solely focused on revenue and profits. While that is a necessary factor, a brand’s purpose needs to consider the impact they have on the lives of their customers. Many brands talk about relationships and authenticity, but these are often treated as buzzwords and marketing concepts. For these elements to be truly realized, products and services must deliver meaningful value and improve customers’ quality of life.

Through customer insights, brands can gain a deeper understanding of what people think, feel, and do in their daily lives. By applying that understanding, they can develop products and services that satisfy customer wants, address customer needs, and deliver moments of joy. The great thing is, accomplishing these goals doesn’t require structural or operational shifts. There simply needs to be a culture of belief that these values are important and worthy of being prioritized.

At MacKenzie, we are passionate about empowering brands to give everyone a voice, strengthen their communities, and improve their customers’ quality of life. We do this by leveraging customer insights to guide strategic decisions and brand development processes. We’ve spent over 35 years refining our skills and approach for having a significant impact on our clients’ businesses. If our purpose and values align with yours, we’d love a chance to work together! Give us a call to explore new opportunities for expanding your people-first brand strategy.


Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

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