Three principles for building bespoke AI solutions


In the final blog of our AI series, Paul Jackson, Managing Director of Bonamy Finch, shares three fundamental principles for building AI solutions in a financially astute and agile way, drawing upon our experiences here at STRAT7, lessons learned, and the insights we've gathered along the way.

In case you missed our last two blogs, we shared how STRAT7 is leveraging AI in an ethical way to enhance our solutions around client challenges. And we discussed why we’ve developed purpose-built AI solutions to address our clients’ business challenges more effectively.

Now let’s dive into what we’ve learnt from building our own AI capability…


Establish the right foundations

Many businesses struggle to deploy the technology and expertise needed to fully take advantage of AI. As a result, they buy in generic AI toolkits that aren’t quite fit for purpose.

Luckily for STRAT7, we have been able to overcome this hurdle by leveraging the combined skills of our network of agencies, each with unique strengths in data science, engineering, infrastructure, consulting, and strategic planning. This allows us to create custom AI solutions for our clients – we can work with various data types (qualitative, quantitative, social, proprietary) and address diverse business questions, such as cultural trends, customer loyalty, category analysis, and brand strategy.

But it’s not just about assembling a team. We’ve established clear roles centrally and identified AI champions in each agency. This ensures two things: all our specialists can leverage the power of AI, and learnings are effectively shared back within each agency.

We grouped roles into three core categories:

1. Core AI Expertise

  • Data Science
  • AI Champions (specialising in qualitative, quantitative data, cultural trends, strategy)
  • Product Owner (defining the solution requirements)

2. Technical Development & Delivery

  • Infrastructure
  • Engineering
  • Product Owner (defining technical requirements)

3. Agency Integration & Growth

  • AI Champions (within each agency)
  • Internal Best Practice (ensuring AI accessibility everyone, not just data scientists)
  • Marketing (offer positioning and development)

Build a sustainable AI strategy

Once the right foundations are in place, it’s time to develop and integrate AI into business processes in a way that is strategic and financially secure. We do this in a number of ways:

Proof of concepts:

  • Start small, test, then scale proven solutions.
  • Adopt an agile and iterative approach to AI development, where we prototype, test, and refine our solutions before launching them at scale.
  • Estimate costs at each stage of development before scaling up, to make sure we can offer cost-effective solutions to our clients.


  • Invest wisely to balance development, budget and profitable growth.
  • Focus on adding value, be it speed, cost, accuracy, comprehensiveness, or revealing insights in entirely new ways. This avoids reinventing the wheel.
  • Use various metrics and indicators to measure the effectiveness of our AI solutions, such as accuracy, speed, user satisfaction, and revenue generation.


  • Creating solutions that accelerate our processes.
  • Replace out-of-pocket costs with AI tools for significant savings.
  • Create tools that help us understand and answer business questions in faster and smarter ways.

Adapting and scaling for growth

Finally, it’s important to recognise that AI is not a one-off project, but a continuous journey of learning and improving. We have accepted and welcome the need to pivot as tools evolve and costs change over time.

At STRAT7, we actively stay abreast of the latest developments and innovations in AI research and practice, updating our solutions to leverage new capabilities and opportunities. This includes monitoring market changes and how competitors are (or are not) using AI to maintain or enhance our competitive edge.

With such a fast-changing industry, we must be ready to adapt and expand. We scale our solutions to meet the growing demand and expectations of our clients and their customers. A great example is our strat7GPT chatbot. This tool started as a safe and secure internal efficiency tool, but we adapted and refined it to create a valuable segmentation chatbot for clients.

We monitor all metrics to maximise AI contributions. We continuously collect and analyse feedback, using it to improve and refine our performance and outcomes and to inform future AI projects and strategies. This allows us to demonstrate the impact and value of AI for our clients’ business goals.

A final thought…

Unlike some technology companies that fixate on creating a single, ‘cool’ AI solution and then scramble to find a market for it, we take a fundamentally different approach. As with any emerging technology or disruption, the fundamentals remain the same – the need to prioritise clients’ (or customers’) questions and challenges. Not the technology. This allows us to develop bespoke AI solutions that are specifically tailored to address their unique needs. By creating bespoke solutions over generic, off-the-shelf options, we ensure our clients have access to powerful AI tools that deliver tangible results.

To find out more about STRAT7 and how we can help your business, please get in touch.


Joe Lockey

Senior Analyst

Joe joined us after completing rotations across our consumer, services and health sectors, whilst gaining exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


Alice Hedlund


Alice has experience in customer-centric growth, brand strategy and innovation at global scale. She specialises in brand transformation journeys, bridging the gap between business and brand strategy to create holistic and actionable plans for impactful growth.

Helen Donald


Job Title

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Tom Carvell


Tom has a science background with a PhD in Materials Chemistry. He has spent most of his career working on in-house front-end innovation where he delivered mid/long term strategic projects for brands such as Durex, Scholl, Veet and KY. He is focussed on delivering pragmatic but provocative innovation strategy for CPG categories.

Manick Pratheeban

Senior Principal

Manick is a brand strategy and consumer insight specialist with 15+ years’ experience helping to grow some of the world’s biggest brands. He has a proven track record of translating trends, consumer, and market data into actionable insights to formulate growth strategies.

Kate Jones

Senior Principal

Kate has over a decade of experience in creating transformative strategies for customer-focused businesses. With a background in consumer insight and behaviour change across consumer health, packaged goods, leisure, banking and other sectors she focuses on elevating the customer experience to create human-centric innovations and foster impactful growth.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker


Jacob specialises in leveraging consumer research to inform investment strategy and business case development. A management consultant since 2014, he previously spent eight years working in ecommerce and digital marketing.

Ines Achabal

Senior Analyst

Ines is inately curious and creative. She is known for her expansive thinking when exploring client challenges and elevating the visual quality of outputs to maximise their impact.

Helene Mills


Helene has 20+ years’ experience advising business leaders and investors on growth strategy based upon consumer and market intelligence. Her particular specialism lies in leisure, retail, food and beverage sectors.

Helen Donald

Helen Donald


Helen has consulted businesses at different stages of growth across a variety of sectors, specialising in consumer packaged goods and consumer healthcare. She is an adept strategist, bringing clarity to the most complex of situations and connecting dots to create rich, future-proofed platforms for innovation, brand positioning and growth.

Allan Chen STRAT7 Advisory

Allan Chen

Senior Principal

Allan’s core skillset provides an analytical and commercial lens to address client challenges. He started his career as an actuary, and since then has held a broad range of strategic roles, improving performance across the private and public sector.


Björn Dufwenberg

Managing Director​

Björn has 15+ years’ experience in insight-driven transformation, across management consulting, as well as brand and innovation agency roles. Most recently he headed up the Customer-Led Transformation practice at PwC Sweden, until joining STRAT7 in 2021. He’s worked on global projects covering consumer goods, durables, spirits and beverages, retail, banking, and private equity.

Kamilla Dala

Senior Principal

Kamilla has 10+ years’ experience leading and implementing insight-driven transformation within global matrix organisations in durable and consumable goods. Areas of expertise cover segmentation, uncovering and translating actionable consumer insights within innovation, product development, brand positioning, strategy and marketing.