Let it Get Messy. There will be times early on in the process when you ask yourself, "What did we actually achieve?" and "Where is this going?" This is good and should be taken into account. Often, people expect to achieve great ideas in a meeting or two. It likely won't happen that way. As important as planning what you will get out of early meetings, it is just as important to define what you won't get.

Stay cognizant of the end goal, but being too rigid early on in the process often creates more barriers than opportunities. As our executive creative director often wisely states, "There is plenty of time to kill ideas later."

Iterate, Refine, Iterate, Refine. This is where a lot of the art and skill of ideation and concept development comes into play. The best consumer experience ideas and concepts happen over the series of meetings throughout the process. Plan well and determine how you will take the plethora of information and ideas generated to turn them into concepts, recognizing that it's a delicate culling process. Marketing and marketing research folks are usually adept in this area, so consult them if this is not your core competency.

This is where our clients require the most guidance, as it is essentially defining how the creative process works and writing concept statements for the consumer research that will follow (assuming there is research, which is always recommended).

Take a Reality Check. Throughout the up-front planning process, check in regularly to make sure you're staying sharply focused on your stated purpose. A key aspect of this is asking if the consumer experience concepts being generated are true to your brand as well as believable and realistic to consumers.

Ultimately, taking a customer experience approach to reimaging could be summed up as thinking about the experience you want people to have in your stores before anything is designed. It will definitely lead to effective design solutions, but it will give you so much more.

Not only will your company create stores that work every day to support your brand as direct brand communication tools, but it also has great internal operational benefits. Approached this way, you will generate more ideas and better ideas, and you will create an exponential effect by involving others in your organization. In the end, your company will be closer to reinvention than redesign.

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