Editor's Note: This is an edited version that originally appeared under the title, "Notable and Quotable: Top Box Thoughts from Quirk's Chicago." Jaswant Singh, associate account executive and Maggie Ledbetter, account executive, Burke Inc., Ohio. 

Last week, a group of Burkies traveled to the Windy City to attend Quirks Chicago. After two years of connecting via Teams and Zoom, the group returned home from the live event inspired and energized. We met new faces in the expo hall and caught up with clients over dinner. Our very own Cherri Prince shared the value of consumer co-creation, summoning the spirit of Steve Jobs during her session.

Here are a few insights and trends from our time at Quirks Chicago:

As stewards of the consumer, it is critical that we bring the voice of the whole consumer to our work. And that includes designing research with racial and ethnic diversity in mind. Currently, 40% of U.S. consumers are Black, Indigenous and people of color, and by 2045 the majority will be.

The Insights Association shared best practices for asking race and ethnicity questions to more accurately represent consumers, while other presentations helped establish understanding and empathy for Black and Hispanic consumers. Not only is capturing the voices of all consumers the right thing to do, it’s imperative to the actionability of insights.

Gen Z — defined as 10- to 25-year-olds — now make up 20% of the U.S. population and represent nearly $40 billion in purchasing power. Getting to know these consumers and capturing their loyalty early is key to future business success.

Digital natives coming of age in tumultuous times, their habits differ significantly from other generations. They are concerned with climate change and expect businesses to be as well. They have a “do something about it” attitude and sustainability efforts are critical to retain their business. But they look for acti...