TILT the Odds: A Conversation with a Strategist

An exclusive interview with one of Freemavens’ leading strategists, where we introduce and delve into their innovative performance diagnostic tool. This tool seamlessly blends the power of machine learning with actionable insights that businesses can put into practice immediately.

Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself, your background, and your role at Freemavens?

As a Strategist at Freemavens, my role is to pioneer growth for organisations by accessing the right data to unearth insights and connect the dots between consumer and company. creating new pathways.

Throughout my career in brand strategy, I’ve had the privilege of offering confident strategic guidance to esteemed clients such as Sony, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, and Natwest, resulting in measurable business advancements. Through it all, one fundamental truth remains evident: the path to growth is multifaceted, and it’s precisely this diversity of possibilities that makes TILT an exceptionally intriguing tool for me as a strategist!

Can you break down what TILT does in simple terms, like explaining it to a friend over coffee?

Typically, businesses are aware of what’s happening with their performance, whether its sales going up, brand perception going down or sign-ups stagnating. What’s trickier to get to the bottom of is ‘why?’.

This is precisely where TILT comes into play. TILT, a Freemavens tool, is purpose-built to unravel this age-old question. It empowers businesses to uncover the real-world factors influencing their performance, which can range from competitive brands and economic conditions to emerging health trends and even weather patterns. By not only shedding light on global occurrences but also pinpointing the specific signals with the most significant positive or negative impact on performance, our team of strategy consultants guides organizations in identifying crucial priorities and where to act.

Before we go any further, what is a ‘signal’? 

A signal is any real-world force. We categorise signals into three categories:

– Culture and context

– Category

– Brand

A few examples of signals could be eating out, the cost of living, flavours, ingredients, CSR, celebrities, sponsorships and so much more. A signal can be anything that has an impact on consumer behaviour as well as your business and industry. The sky is the limit with signals. 

What makes TILT stand out from other similar solutions out there?

The key distinction lies in TILT’s utilization of machine learning, a capability that enables us to explore thousands of potential influencing factors, uncover unforeseen connections, and assign weights to signal significance. TILT stands out as an end-to-end tracking and consulting solution that boasts exceptional agility. We have the flexibility to seamlessly incorporate new signals into the tool as needed and collaborate with multiple client stakeholders to determine the implications for their respective teams. In contrast, other econometric modelling solutions primarily focus on testing a limited set of forces that they believe might be relevant, essentially relying on educated guesses to determine the “why” behind performance trends.

How does TILT crunch data to figure out what’s cooking behind a company’s success?

We possess a pre-existing repository of more than 2000 contextual signals, including factors like employment, holidays, and healthcare. We collaborate with our clients to further refine and customize this collection of cues in order to create a tailored set of signals.

Can you walk us through the nuts and bolts of TILT’s methodology and algorithms?

Without overcomplicating things, TILT examines various combinations and arrangements of signals. Using machine learning, we have the capability to simulate millions of scenarios, adjusting the weights of the signals in each iteration until we identify the combination that best aligns with the performance target. This process reveals which factors are significant and which are not.

What kinds of data sources does TILT tap into? Give us a peek behind the curtain.

It’s optimised to work with Google search data, because search is a universal and versatile dataset that is a great barometer for most forces we’ve mentioned so far. We also use various other data social interactions, media spending, and editorial content. That said, TILT is flexible and can model performance against any data source that is relevant to your business.

Can businesses tweak TILT to their individual business performance? Can they set their own goals and measurements?

This is an easy one – YES! TILT can be tailored to specific business needs to help them understand what is boosting and blocking their performance at any given time. Not only that but with TILT they will also receive a roadmap to activate their success across the entire business. 

Dealing with big data can be like herding cats – how does TILT keep things organized and flowing smoothly?

The rapid and agile nature of TILT means that it can be deployed across multiple brands or business units and scaled to new markets within weeks.

Privacy’s a big deal – how does TILT handle sensitive info while it’s on its investigative mission?

All provided data is stored, processed, and modelled in the Microsoft Azure ecosystem, in a unique environment for each client. Once data is uploaded to our secure system, this data is deleted from all other locations. Access is restricted to users who have a specific, dedicated IP address, and data is deleted in a timeframe agreed upon with the client.

Is TILT a team player? Can it shake hands with other business tools that are already on the field?

Absolutely, we are big believers in connecting the dots, getting the most out of existing data and delivering insights in a way that client teams will actually use. With our Data Science team, we can also develop bespoke solutions as and where our clients need them, from ad-hoc projects to fully scaled products. 

Any cool stories about how TILT insights helped turn the tide? We love success tales!

TILT has revealed some fascinating and unexpected insights for our clients. 

We helped a healthcare client uncover brand cannibalisation when we found that one of the biggest negative performance signals was another brand in their own portfolio! We also helped an FMCG company understand which of their brands was contributing the most to upticks in sales performance, and which competitors to look out for.

And one of my personal favourites is that concerns over delivery costs was one of the top predictors of negative performance in beverages! 

How long does it usually take for a business to go from “Hello” to “Eureka” after adopting TILT?

In as little as 4 weeks! Just one month to uncover why your business is performing the way it is – that’s a good deal, right? 

Can TILT be a data chameleon? Can it adapt to different industries and still be a star performer?

One hundred percent. We always work with our clients to include signals that relate to specific areas of interest. This includes sometimes investigating specific relationships such as consumer confidence, for some clients it is important to understand category dynamics, while for others (particularly lower engagement categories) cultural signals are key. 

So, how does TILT keep the wisdom flowing to businesses, helping them make smart moves?

TILT is a tool which can explain the forces driving their performance, not only as a snapshot, but tracking how this has changed over time. It has already been used by businesses to look at the changing factors impacting their sales in pre and post pandemic worlds. Running this analysis on a regular basis will enable companies to keep their finger on the pulse of what signals are the most important, which are new, and which are not as important as they once were! 

What kinds of things can TILT help businesses with? What decisions does it have a hand in guiding?

TILT enables businesses to act across multiple areas, both strategic and tactical. One place where companies commonly see immediate value is more relevant and targeted advertising, media, and SEO decisions that address the main boosters and blockers to performance. Additionally, revealing connections such as benefits or occasions that link to performance can inform product innovation and opportunities to grow a portfolio. Being able to link performance to contextual indicators like the weather can even inform decisions around how to time pricing and promotion. The ripple effect of possibilities for impact truly is vast.

To find out more, get in touch: info@freemavens.marketing.