From “Voice of the Customer” To “Mind of the Customer”


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One of our critical mantras here at Brandtrust is, “If you want to know why people do what they do, the worst thing you can do is ask them.”

You need to reveal the things people either cannot or do not want to tell you. You have to shift your mental mode from “voice of customer” to “mind of customer” to understand what’s really going on in there. With the right approach, this can most certainly be done to give you valuable, actionable insight. To truly understand customers, you have to deep-dive into—rather than just snorkel over—emotions.

The old way of herding six or seven complete strangers into a focus group (FG) simply does not reveal what really motivates them. FGs can tell you what people do but not why, which is what brand leaders need to know.

FGs can provide somewhat valid information based on group dynamics, but when was the last time you went shopping with a half-dozen strangers? It’s a false premise from start to finish. FGs might give you “rationalizations” for what people do. But rationalizations can lead you down the wrong path. People are well known to say one thing and do another, particularly when we are in company and even more so when meeting someone for the first time.

There’s also the problem of the overactive alpha-complex person in the FG who can emerge as the leader to influence the contributions of others.

Our advice? Give your customers every chance to tell you what’s really going on in their minds. Invest the time to dig deep in their emotional brains so that you can gain real and valuable insight about why they feel the way they do about your brand.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet to me at @BTCEO.

Daryl Travis
Daryl Travis is CEO of Brandtrust and author of "How Does It Make You Feel? Why Emotion Wins the Battle of Brands." Follow him at @BTCEO.


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