One of the most powerful aspects of a customer insights project is how it can shift, shape, and evolve the way we see the world around us. By listening to feedback and exploring our competitive environment, we gain the knowledge needed to make informed and confident decisions. But for that to happen, we must keep an open mind and a willingness to embrace whatever realizations come our way.
We all have our preconceived notions and ideas about our customers and businesses. They’re usually based on our first-hand experience, so there’s reason to be confident. However, it’s important to view those beliefs as what they truly are; hypotheses. Our competitive markets are constantly changing, and so are our customers. What we’ve come to accept as fact may not be entirely accurate anymore. By keeping an open mind and allowing the customer insights process to challenge our preexisting beliefs, we are more likely to identify opportunities for growth and evolution.
At the start of any new project, we always listen to our clients and establish a list of hypotheses. What is currently known about the customer? What do they want and need? What do they think, know, and feel about the brand? Where are the most promising opportunities for brand development and market expansion? These questions not only benefit us as a customer insights partner, but they also benefit the client by sparking internal dialogue about where there is group alignment and where there is disconnect. Ultimately, we land on a series of hypotheses to be tested and explored further.
Then, we let loose our curiosity and thirst for wisdom. We gather insights that validate or challenge these hypotheses. If validated, we build upon the current understanding, adding depth and detail. If challenged, we explore how and why things have changed to bridge the gap between where things were and where they are now. In either case, carrying an open mind is the action that allows the results of curiosity to have a meaningful impact.
The brands who are willing to accept and embrace new ways of thinking are usually the ones who gain the most from their customer insights projects. There’s a genuine desire to gain new perspectives and consider alternative lines of thought which can lead to creative solutions and uncover new opportunities. Our passion is empowering brands to achieve their desired growth and evolution, so it’s incredibly rewarding to play a role in that process.
Next week I’ll discuss the power and benefits of focusing on desired outcomes rather than the barriers. Our main objective as a customer insights partner is to help identify the most impactful solutions. So, a goal-oriented mindset helps ensure each step yields meaningful progress.