Customer Research

Brands Are People Too!

January 30, 2021

 

In this podcast, Susan Meier shares the story of her interesting journey and her strategic approach to brand alignment.

I think what’s a great thing about a liberal arts education is that perspective of try everything, see as much as you can, and then make connections between those things.  And so, I’m very much a product of that, as you pointed out, I kind of live in these two seemingly very disparate realms, but for me, in my world and my thinking, they’re actually a lot, so much crossover and they’re very related. And the ways of thinking, and even some of the tools that I use when I’m making art are very similar to when I’m leading teams through a business process. And so on the face of that it may seem very strange, but if you think about it in the context of that liberal arts perspective, it actually makes a lot of sense. 

…I guess I’m sort of hardwired in a way, which is always to be toggling back and forth between, you know, the big picture and the details; between seeing possibility, and dreaming, and imagining things, and then being very, very practical and logical. 

And so, if you look at my artwork, there’s a lot of mathematical relationships between shapes, there’s like a lot of precision, but then there’s also a lot of fluidity and looseness and unexpected elements. And I would say exactly the same things about the way I lead a project. 

 

Key points include:

  • Customer research
  • Product innovation and packaging design 
  • Working with some of the world’s leading corporations

 

Listen to the full podcast, Brands Are People Too, on the Leading From the Front podcast.

 

Removing the Barrier to Customer Research 

 

Robyn M. Bolton shares why a business should always engage in customer research when innovating and explains why she doesn’t always follow her own advice. 

If you’re innovating without involving your customers, you’re wasting time and money.

I believe this so deeply that I require all of my clients to spend time talking with and listening to their customers at least once during our work together.  Investing in customer research, I explain, is the single smartest and best investment that any business can make.  Just 5 or 10 customer conversations can dramatically alter the course of an initiative, positioning it for incredible success or killing it before too much time, energy, and money is wasted.

Understanding your customers, especially through Jobs to be Done, is the hill I will die on.

But I actively resist doing this for my business.

The idea of interviewing my customers, or investing to understand their Jobs to be Done, or altering aspects of my business based on their feedback triggers a cold sweat and a very real flight response.

So why is my business different? (It’s not)

Why am I such a customer research hypocrite?

Here are the thoughts that run through my head when I consider talking to my own customers:

I’m supposed to be the expert in this, what if they tell me something I haven’t thought of?

What if my customers say they don’t like or want what I’m doing and would like or want something I’m not?

What if I do try something new and it fails?

It is SO much easier, and it feels so much safer, to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s what I’ve always done and it’s what bigger and more “successful” firms do.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Why am I such a customer research hypocrite?
  • How do we overcome these emotional barriers?
  • How do we overcome the fear and take action?

 

Read the full article, Confessions of a Customer Research Hypocrite, on Milezero.com.