How to Use Customer Conversations to Guide Your Brand Strategy

Alex Whittow

I want to welcome Alex as a guest contributor to #Orbit! He shares how to use customer conversations to guide your brand strategy forward. Alex, take it away!

When you start a new business, there are a million thoughts flying around your head.
 What should I work on? Who should I talk to? How will I make money? Who should I hire? How will I reach my customers?

It’s extremely difficult to answer any of them correctly, but you need to get to work anyways. Time is clearly of the essence.

Besides compiling an email list of prospective customers and building a prototype of your product, there’s one activity that will not only guide your business model, but also direct your marketing and brand strategy.

What activity is that?
 Talking to and understanding your customers’ core problems and needs.
 This is Priority #1 when it comes to starting a new business. I will not be able to stress this point enough.

What am I suggesting you do?
 Conduct ongoing, in-person customer conversations. Start doing this now, and never stop. Seriously. Do it every week.


Obviously, if you’re in the B2B space, scheduling at least one conversation per week may not be viable. Similarly, if you’re developing a new app, you’ll probably need to gather feedback from your customers digitally.

My point isn’t to tell you how to best accomplish this task; it is simply to tell you to accomplish it. Before anything else.

Interested in being a guest contributor for #Orbit?
Contact Us — we’d love to hear from you

Why do you need to do all of this?

To understand your customers’ deepest pain points, problems, and needs I order to best solve them.
 Present your business idea to them and monitor their reactions. Do they think your idea solves their problems in the most effective way? If they had a magic wand to wave and could change anything, what would it be?

In terms of brand strategy, talking to your customers will allow fine-tuning of your messaging, voice and tone, and style. By understanding exactly how they connect with your organization, you’ll be more apt to position yourself as the welcoming, helpful business that you are.
 The upsides to customer conversations are virtually endless.


How do you do this?

With finesse, humility, and persistence.

Reach out to those customers that have already interacted with your brand. Prepare a list of questions to ask them in regards to your business and your brand. Ask questions like:

  • How strongly do you feel connected to our organization? Why?
  • How would you describe the voice of our brand?
  • How do you feel after an interaction with us?
  • What do you like the best? The worst?
  • What’s missing?

Caution: Don’t take any one customer’s response as definite feedback. Instead, you’re on the lookout for ongoing trends in responses across tens if not hundreds of different individuals. From there, you can be nearly certain that the answer you’re receiving is trustworthy.

What exactly does this have to do with brand strategy?

While you’re deep in conversation with your customers, you’ll develop an intimate understanding of their attraction to your brand, what contributes the most to their experience, and ideas to improve their overall experience. This is a gold mine of information waiting to be extracted.

So go talk to them!

With this feedback, you’ll be empowered to make data-driven decisions that strengthen the voice and tone of your brand. You’ll know exactly how to interact with future customers because you’ve already spent so much time with current customers. You’ll perfect your marketing and brand strategy decisions based off of first-hand knowledge.


By talking to and understanding your customers, you not only learn how to build an effectual business model around your idea, but you can further develop your brand strategy. Simply reach out to previous and prospective customers with a list of questions ready to go. Dive into their deepest thoughts and feelings about your organization.

It is now officially your job to learn everything about your customers — to understand them so thoroughly that you’re able to discuss their problems on an intimate level. These conversations will improve the way your run your business, the way you reach out to customers, the way you make money, and the way you communicate your message to the outside world, among many others.

So today, as you write out your to-do list for the rest of the week, scribble in at the very top: Talk to Customers. You won’t regret it.


Alex Whittow is an early-stage management and growth consultant based in Chicago, IL. He runs Grow Your Idea, where he helps first-time entrepreneurs turn great ideas into organized action, including the identification of action steps, strategic planning, and talking to and understanding one’s customers.

Interested in being a guest contributor for #Orbit?
Contact Us — we’d love to hear from you

Originally published at