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Journal: In The Weeds

Creating New Concepts In Retail

by David Todd McCarty

“We wanted to go outside of our comfort zone and find new ways to look at some of the thorniest problems facing us,” says Partner and agency President Bill Rubino. “We already work with some of the hardest hit industries such as hotels, restaurants and retail, so we wanted to investigate new ways to support them.”

Panzano began with talking with other creative firms at the very beginning of the quarantine, to see how they were fairing and looking for ways to support one another. They sought out companies that worked in similar areas of interest but who handled different aspects of development. They were searching for synergies that could be exploited to everyone’s benefit, while not being competitive.

“We started by talking to the other creatives—architects, interior designers, computer animators, filmmakers,” explains David Todd McCarty, a Partner and Director of Branding for Panzano. “Anyone who we thought might be able to provide some insight into where to find some light within the midst of all the darkness we were being inundated with.”

“We didn’t stop with the creative folks though, we opened up dialogues with operations experts and human resources consultants, hoteliers and restauranteurs, clients and vendors, anyone with an idea of how things could and would change. We wanted to understand what the parameters were so we could begin thinking of creative solutions.”

That’s the true purpose behind the exercise they claim. To know where the obstacles are so that can begin to work on new ways around them.

“NASA is a great example of creative problem solving materializing into unexpected innovation,” says McCarty. “They needed to solve a million problems to safely put a man on the moon and bring him back again. Along the way they invented everything from CAT scans and ear thermometers to the technology behind Air Nike’s and the Dustbuster. You don’t get innovation without serious resistance. No one builds a better mousetrap until it stops catching mice. You need obstacles in your path or you will always choose the one with least resistance.”

McCarty says that the goal of project is to develop innovative ways to provide their clients real-world value in today’s difficult environment, but he admits, “We’re having a lot of fun with the process. This is our comfort zone. We don’t mind uncertainty when it comes to problem solving. Throw us in the deep end and let us figure a way out.”

“It’s really fascinating to watch how something can go from the theoretical to practical implementation,” explains Gina Sandoz, Partner and Director of Client Services for Panzano. “You have to work really closely with the people in the field, the ones who interact with customers everyday, to understand what will work and what won’t. But when you get there, it’s really satisfying.”

They won’t give up too much detail about what they’re working on but say some of the projects have involved innovation with unique home officing options, clever hotel conference concepts, and temporary entertainment spaces.

“We’re looking at our most immediate problems and coming up with creative ways to get past them,” says McCarty.

Panzano+Partners specializes in working with real-estate-based brands such as retail, hotels, office buildings and multi-family residential housing. Their ability to fabricate brand narratives based on empirical models of consumer research have given them a distinct advantage in the effective marketing of branded destinations throughout the world.