Our first Closeness Breakfast took place this week. Despite the terrible British weather conditions, forty people made it to Wallacespace St. Pancras in London, for a delicious breakfast and an hour of “Consumers Through the Looking Glass”.
We were really glad to have the opportunity to showcase our Closeness capabilities – combining our own thinking with successful client case studies. To whet your appetite, here is a brief summary of what was covered on the day:
Anna Eggleton, Director of Closeness at The Value Engineers, kicked off by asking company executives “how do you experience your brand’s service?”. Very often this is totally different from how the majority of their customers do! Having customers explain why they value or dislike an aspect of your service can really focus practical brand building. Talking to customers face to face also gives employees a sense of inspiration and excitement, fuelling a new commitment to growing their brand.
Nicola Craig, Head of Customer Insight at BSkyB, exhibited the rigorous Closeness programme that BSkyB have developed with The Value Engineers over the years. Aligning company thinking with customer thinking can have a fast-moving and positive effect on the way people within organisations tackle specific business problems. Our joint Closeness programme has not only embedded a more customer-focused culture within the executive team at BSkyB, but also contributed to an award winning advertising campaign for the Sky+ service. As she summised, “this allowed us to meet the human face behind the numbers”.
Charlotte Vicary, Senior Consultant, talked about some of the less obvious merits of a Closeness programme. We heard about the freedom of direction, the memorability of ‘out of comfort zone moments’, the power of honesty and the salience of story telling. Closeness can also help link businesses back into their brands through internal myth-busting, telling the story behind the numbers and giving senior executives the reality check they sometimes need.
Finally Katy Mousinho, Director of Insight, told us how one single Closeness event has the power to change how organisations think about the role their customers play in their business. Closeness can really help clients understand their own segmentations – rooting brand planning and strategy in powerful human insight.
We hope to follow the Closeness Breakfast with further events to share our ideas on other aspects of successful brand building that we work so hard to develop. We look forward to seeing you and your colleagues at one of these events in the future.
For more of our thinking on Closeness, please contact Anna Eggleton.