Try Asking Your Customers

How do you gain an invaluable insider’s knowledge and authentic insight to connect a brand with consumers in a direct way? When I was asked by Ruby Pseudo Consultancy to blog for Converse Ltd. at the Lowlands Festival Holland, what I saw was a case study in how to do it right.

First, ask loads of questions. If you really want to understand why people and consumers do what they do, give them a forum to tell you.

Through Facebook, Converse asked music lovers to list the things they wanted at a festival that they couldn’t normally get. There were no boundaries as to what they could request, no filters, no age limits. The responses poured in.

What came out of this free-form discussion was the Converse Compound, a touring facility at several large summer festivals in which Converse gave its friends and fans their three most popular requests:

  • -somewhere to get clean
  • -somewhere to be quiet
  • -somewhere to dress up


At the Compound, fancy dress wardrobes, silent cinema and disco, and laundry facilities were on offer. The laundry even included branded jumpsuits that friends and fans could wear on loan around the site whilst their clothes were being cleaned.

What’s curious about the combination is that all but one of the customer requests—the dressing up—are likely counterintuitive to most marketers trying to reach a festival crowd. Clean and quiet?

And that’s the lesson: Converse wouldn’t have achieved such a jam-packed successful area at each festival it toured if it hadn’t directly asked consumers what they wanted—and then given it to them.

Almost too simple, isn’t it?

But it’s exactly the lesson we marketers need. Just ask them. Yes, we can be creative with the output and give it the swagger and design, but the core offering, they way you’re selling it and how it should be received, is surely best coming from the consumer.It’s building those humanly relevant connections with customers that enable us to understand their lives and evaluate what they need and want from a product or service. And it’s not another faceless survey.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask not just your colleagues (junior or senior) for their opinions, their advice, and what inspires them. Get out of the office and really live what you’re trying to sell, and experience for yourself how you should be marketing it. It is this experience that sparks ideas to connect your brand with consumers in an honest way, no matter what the medium.

by Emma Wakeford
Events & Marketing Manager – gyro London


Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network