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Jun 23, 2023

Featured Company: Brand Genetics


By Chelsea Power

Associate Director - I'm a recruiter for world-class strategists and researchers.

There is a wide range of definitions and concepts that come to mind when describing what innovation means. While every business, leader, or team might have their own way of defining and embodying the word, all can agree that the result of innovation is something new. From a product that has never been seen before, to an internal shift in operations that doubles profit, disrupting an industry with a fresh take is the ultimate goal when implementing innovation initiatives.

For Brand Genetics, this means changing how brands strategize by shifting how they think about their business identity, product, and audience. Liz Thompson, Head of Brand Genetics North America, joins us to chat about what it means to become a human-first business, how that can impact brand identity and strategy, and initiatives the global brand growth consultancy is excited about.

Blog Images - Branded (64) Liz Thompson, Director + Head of North America at Brand Genetics


Building Human-First Brands

Brand Genetics asks its clients to think about strategy differently. By shifting their focus from standard goals like profit and sales, they should instead focus on how they impact human life.

“We partner with brands and businesses around the world to do two things,” Liz shares. “One, help them better understand people. Who we are, why we do what we do, why we make certain decisions, and how we feel about certain things. And then, we use that information to inform strategic decision-making.”

This shift in strategy has helped global brands redefine their business and succeed in hitting major goals. It all comes down to humanizing a brand, connecting it with its audience on a more intimate level. 

“It’s just thinking of people as humans first, and anything else second. So whether that's consumers, colleagues, or clients, we are people fundamentally. And what a brand can strive to do as a business is to help people achieve their fundamental human goals”

- Liz Thompson, Director + Head of North America at Brand Genetics


These are not just philosophies that Brand Genetics teaches its clients. Liz is proud of all that the company does to actively practice the “human first” approach internally. 

“How can we help encourage development and empowered progression so that we are getting that sense of, I'm growing, I'm learning, I'm doing at work? We have to emphasize well-being. We are our best work selves when we are our best selves.”

Liz + Makena

Liz Thompson (left) and Makena Drutman (right), Associate Director at Brand Genetics


When thinking about the consumer, Liz advises that the best strategy is to think beyond economic consumption. “What do their lives look like, what do their families look like? What are the things that they're excited about, worried about?” 

Together, these fresh perspectives work to connect a brand more deeply and permanently with its audience, and it’s a process that has worked for Brand Genetics and its clients for years.

“We believe at Brand Genetics that with all the constant change we experience, there's one thing that doesn't, or at least changes infinitely slower: it’s us. It's people, it's human nature. And so by grounding a lot of our thinking and our methodologies in a fundamental understanding of people and human motivations, we can build much stronger, more robust, more long-lasting strategies.”


Strategy, Insight, + Innovation: By Humans, for Humans

The work that Brand Genetics is doing causes any brand strategy consultant to pause and think. Ultimately, we can’t help but ask - how? What does it take to build a human-first brand strategy?

“We leverage a lot of knowledge of human sciences,” Liz mentions. “We pull from academia and psychology, behavioral sciences, and more to identify specific frameworks and relevant motivations.

We use that as a base, and then we pair that with our expertise in qualitative consumer research to see how those motivations are kind of coming to life for people today.”

Liz’s expertise on the subject comes from over five years of working on the Brand Genetics Global team (4 years with the global team, plus 1.5 years into launching Brand Genetics North America!). In her newest role as Head of North America, she is excited to take the strategies and processes practiced at the global scale and apply them to a more specific location, economy, and market.

“What's most exciting is that it is new, small, and growing, and there's so much opportunity to shape it. I think that's what has gotten me and the small team we’re building so excited and why they joined the team. We love that idea of being part of a bigger established company with a really strong team, but equally, getting to think with an entrepreneurial start-up mentality, trying new things, tinkering, and getting to leave your mark.”

- Liz Thompson, Director + Head of North America at Brand Genetics


Blog Images - Branded (65)Last year, Bamboo Crowd was able to support Emily Angelotti (pictured)
in finding her current role as Senior Consultant with Brand Genetics!


That start-up mentality is most certainly necessary as the small but mighty team takes on big projects that mirror the efforts of the global team. They’re helping companies understand their foundational insight challenges, depth of understanding, growth opportunities, and new strategies, all with humanity at the core.


Living the Company Mission

When it comes to innovation, Liz is open to a wide variety of definitions. Ultimately, for her and the team at Brand Genetics, it all comes down to the practice of creating new ideas that add value.

“We think about innovation a lot in the sense of experimentation, exploration, really trying new things, even if it's trying and failing- but always learning. We make a point to do that, not just on client projects and when we're helping them come up with new things, but also internally, having that innovative mindset and thinking.”

- Liz Thompson, Director + Head of North America at Brand Genetics


As a company that spends so much of its time talking about human-centered approaches to innovation and brand strategy, it comes as no surprise that the concept is practiced by Brand Genetics itself. The company culture is all about its people first and building an environment in which they can thrive.

“A phrase was coined by our founder Andrew Christophers. He said, ‘Everyone at Brand Genetics, we're smart with heart and a bit of self-start.’ And it's very cheesy and it rhymes, but I think it does a really nice job of explaining who many of us are and the things that we value internally.”

Brand Genetics reminds us how important it is to pause and remember to incorporate heart, from business building to self-improvement. This is the impact, Liz says, that their company hopes to leave. “Our ultimate mission is to help create more human-first brands in a human-first world.”

Makena Liz EmilyMakena Drutman (left), Liz Thompson (center), and Emily Angelotti (right)
in the Brand Genetics New York Office based in SOHO.


Learn more about Brand Genetics here and make sure you’re signed up with Bamboo Crowd to stay up-to-date on new roles with this exciting company!

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