A boutique consultancy dedicated to delivering relevant insights that guide clients through complicated decisions and uncover new ways of thinking.

Shari Allison

Shari Allison

Principal

Shari has spent the past 20 years helping clients refine the way they look at their marketplace, their customers & their business. Co-founder of Ignite in 2011, Shari focuses on challenging convention, redefining context & delivering clarity to client partners. Although she holds advanced degrees in consumer behaviour, Shari’s expertise extends well beyond research & insights to thought-leadership & true strategic-partnership.

(647) 361-7562
shari@ignite-lab.com

Stephen Tile

Stephen Tile

Principal

For the past 30 years Steve has been helping some of the biggest brands refine their target, define their messages and build their businesses. He is a consummate strategist who uses an array of research tools to deliver crisp & meaningful insights that inspire and transform.

(647) 361-7561
steve@ignite-lab.com

Ignite is brought to the table when senior level, objective, thought-partners are needed to help provide clarity, focus decision-making & optimize opportunity.

Our business model allows for intimate, hands-on engagements that are flexible & provide meaningful business outcomes.

While Ignite can of course execute basic research, our sweet spot is really those issues that are strategically significant to the organization.

We focus on strategic, high-touch engagements related to…

  • Market dynamics
  • Brand strategy
  • Brand targeting & positioning
  • Brand identity
  • Innovation
  • Concept development
  • Concept evaluation/execution
  • Communication strategy
  • Communication development/evaluation

Specializing in retail, travel, packaged goods, alcohol, technology, financial services & luxury goods segments.

  • Ignite employs a creative range of methods to uncover insights…from traditional focus groups & online surveys to inventive interactive, observational & ethnographic approaches.
  • Emphasis is on driving insights deep into organizations, either up or down, where they can be actioned — use facilitation & workshopping methods to ensure organizational enculturation.

5 Tips For Building A Strong Online Brand

The Internet age has been a boon to many businesses, especially smaller ones that don’t have the marketing budget to compete against massive corporations. There are countless channels to take your products and services online, with unprecedented access to your prospective customers. Internet marketing these days is more than simply showing up with a website. You must build a strong online brand to make an impression and stand out from the competition. Thankfully, there are many marketing channels, methods, and tools that help you do just that. 1. Boost Your Brand’s Visibility First step is to make sure that your company is attractive for search engines and shows up in SERP. It’s crucial. All brands (the big and the small ones) would like to be discoverable via search and social media. Optimizing search engines for specific keywords can be a tough task and will definitely require at least basic knowledge about SEO. The good news is that there are tons of quality guides for non-pros out there and even more reasons to start doing SEO right away! There are also a lot of tools on the market that can help you with SEO, and if you don’t feel comfortable with optimizing your brand’s visibility by yourself, you can hire an agency to do that for you. No matter which way you choose, SEO is absolutely a crucial step on your way to making your brand not only visible, but a strong one as well. Read more about it...

Plantronics Seeks Entrants for Wearables Innovation Contest

Headset vendor Plantronics is sponsoring a contest with $85,000 in total prize money to encourage developers to create innovations for future-generation Bluetooth headsets that will be used by enterprises, hearing-impaired people and the general public. The 2015 PLT Labs Application Innovation Contest, which is open to participants in 33 nations, opens for competition Sept. 29 and will crown its winners on May 9, 2015, according to a recent announcement by the company. The contest will give developers access to Plantronics APIs, SDKs and product concept prototypes that will allow them to experiment and create innovations that could find their way into future products from the company, Cary Bran, the vice president of innovation and new ventures with Plantronics, told eWEEK in an interview. It’s the first time that the company has sponsored a formal design contest  like this one, outside of frequent 24- or 48-hour hackathons and smaller events it has participated in over the last few years, said Bran. “It’s ground-breaking for us. We’re very excited about it.” Read more about it...

When It Comes to Innovation, Small Ideas Can Mean Big Wins

Let’s do some word association. What’s your first thought when someone talks about “innovation” at your company? You probably think of “ground-breaking changes” and “drastic overhauls.” Gmail, the XBox, Nike Air, the Post-It Note. “We’re gonna make millions…” Yes, those certainly fit the definition of innovation. But there’s something to be said for getting the innovation ball rolling by focusing on a series of small ideas that have measurable impact over time. Read more about it...

“I” is for Innovation: Sesame Street’s Secrets for Staying Relevant

If you are under the age of 50, there’s a good chance you are fiercely attached toSesame Street, the show that shepherded so many of us through our toddler years. You may remember sitting in rapt attention, wondering if anybody would believe that Mr. Snuffleupagus was real, or giggling hysterically about Oscar the Grouch’s musical ode to trash. For generations of viewers, Sesame Street is a portal to a simpler, more innocent time in their lives. This creates something of a quandary for the show’s producers: how do you keep evolving a show so it doesn’t get stale without offending its devoted fans? “It’s a lot harder than we make it look,” says Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of Sesame Workshop, who’s spent 25 years lovingly crafting the content of the show. “When you’re trying to keep a brand that is 45 years old fresh, you have to do it within the essence of what it is. Trying to stay relevant within the confines of people’s expectations is a tricky fence to walk.” To make things even more complicated, Parente tells Fast Company that Sesame Street–whose 45th season launches today–is written on two levels: for children, of course, but also for the parents who are watching with them. She says the show was never meant to simply educate children, but to foster better communication between toddlers and their caregivers. “The show has to be furry, heartfelt, educational, funny, and clever for both adults and children,” she says. “Any piece of content you produce always has to be some version of all of those things mixed into one.” Read more about it...

Finding Clients Who Are Open to Innovation Even in Risk-Averse Markets

Risk aversion comes in many forms and faces. When the purchasingdecision chain is full of doubters, this can bedevil an entrepreneur’s attempts to find innovation-minded customers who will go out on a limb and try a new way of doing business. The media and entertainment industry offers a great example. It’s all sparkle and sizzle on the outside but when it comes to internal processes, decision makers often have an intense fear or change. The resistance is understandable. Much is at stake with TV and film production: There’s a need to monetize assets so that everyone is paid, plus the reputations of all involved on the screen and behind it are on the line. The pressure-packed global production cycle and 24/7 news cycle mean there’s little spare time to recover should a new technology fail to deliver. Read more about it...

The No. 1 Challenge to Innovation

The biggest challenge to innovation is not how to generate new ideas and opportunities. It’s how to make innovation a deeply embedded capability in the organization. What usually happens is that companies focus most of their efforts on the front end of innovation – so they launch some kind of ideation initiative with a lot of hoopla and they get a whole bunch of ideas. But then they hit a wall because there is no back end – there is no organizational system for effectively screening ideas, aligning them with the business strategy, allocating seed funding and management resources, and guiding a mixed portfolio of opportunities through the pipeline toward commercialization. So, invariably, what we find is that the whole innovation effort eventually withers. And all those enthusiastic innovators inside and outside the company become cynical and discouraged as they watch their ideas go nowhere. Read more about it...

Innovate or Die: The Stark Message for Big Business

Just look at the likes of Woolworths, Polaroid, Alta Vista, Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders… the list goes on. All steamrollered by strings of ones and noughts and changing consumer behaviour. But why are so many big companies so bad at it? “Typically, big companies are much more conservative than start-ups and won’t do anything that is untested or could risk future profits,” says George Deeb, managing partner at business consultancy Red Rocket Ventures. “Innovation efforts really require a very different, more entrepreneurial risk-taking mindset.” Jackie Fenn, a specialist in innovation at research consultancy Gartner, told the BBC: “Size can add to the challenges. A strong brand can have a fear that failure may damage its reputation. Read more about it...

What’s the Magic in Apple Devices? Not Innovation, But Refinement

During the last seismic Apple announcement, in 2010, I was at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco as Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, a device he said was so singular it would create its own landing strip. When the expected reveal came, there was a huge roar, and I looked around to see many of my fellow journalists clapping their hands red. I was an interloper in the land of tech announcements, but I was surprised that a group of cynical-by-nature reporters had been so completely won over in the moment. Read more here....

Digital Innovation Is in the Spotlight at London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week might not have quite the prestige of its European rivals in Paris and Milan, but it does lead the way in digital innovation, with 90% of shows streamed live, according to the British Fashion Council. British label Burberry was the first brand to live-stream a fashion show in 2010, and is still leading the way in high-tech fashion experiences. During this week’s show, which took place in Kensington Gardens (right next to the royal residence of William and Kate), Burberry became one of the first brands to use Twitter’s new “buy” button for in-tweet purchases, U.S. customers were given the opportunity to buy a limited number of the new spring/summer 2015 nail colors as soon as they appeared on the runway. Read more about it...

Innovation Doesn’t Have to Be High Tech

It’s easy to recognize innovation when it comes in the form of a sexy new gadget with an abundance of media buzz. But sometimes, innovation can be small improvements that have a big impact, says Dan Debow, senior vice-president of emerging technologies at Salesforce.com. “People think innovation is high tech,” says Mr. Debow, a judge for The Globe and Mail’s Innovators at Work contest. “It’s got to be either a group of hackers or something that’s being done in clean rooms with lab coats. What we forget is that innovation is often incremental improvements in the practical realities of normal businesses.” Lonny Thiessen A prime example of this kind of innovative thinking is the “Whale” tanker trailer devised by Mr. Thiessen, president and chief executive officer of Western Manufacturing Ltd., and an Innovators at Work winner in the Natural Resources category. The Whale is a 230-cubic-metre tanker trailer, designed to double the hauling and heating efficiency of mobile tanks used in the energy sector. The supersized tanker trailer – which is mostly used to transport water and other liquids for use in fracking – boasts an improved heating system and is about as big as Department of Transportation regulations allow. It’s innovative because Mr. Thiessen took a traditional mode of transport and found a way to improve upon it, says Mr. Debow. Read more about innovation...

How To Communicate Change: 3 Lessons From Microsoft’s Recent Layoff

Several weeks ago, Microsoft created quite the media uproar. If the news that 12,500 Microsoft employees worldwide would be losing their jobs wasn’t shocking enough, the way it was handled didn’t help matters. Microsoft’s executive vice president Stephen Elop’s announcement came in the form of a 1,100-word email chock-full of “management speak” that only mentioned the layoffs in two sentences buried deep within the text. There’s no doubt that laying off thousands of employees is a harrowing task for even the staunchest of managers, but the way these types of changes are communicated says a lot about an organization’s culture. That being said, there are a few things that other companies can learn from the way Microsoft handled this situation in terms of how to communicate sensitive changes. Read more about it...

When Employees Live a Company’s Core Philosophies, Profits Follow

Sustaining a high level of success in a company as it matures can be the most challenging part of building a business. Whether starting a company from the ground up, stepping in to revive an existing brand or managing a department inside of a large corporation, momentum is typically gained by having clear and concise messaging of a company’s core philosophies. When these core philosophies and best practices are transferred successfully to every individual in an organization, that is when the true identity of a culture is built. Read more...

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