Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

#Empathy19 Highlights: Consumer Closeness

A Starting View

131 attendees. 11 speakers. 1 kick ass day (if we do say so ourselves 🙂 ).

All spent looking at consumer closeness and talking about how we can change it from a company slogan and into a culture.


A business view

An early section of the day was devoted to understanding consumer closeness from the client perspective, their tips for doing so and how their consumer closeness journeys have been to date.

Hayley from M&S explained how we can use a particular business process or issue as an ‘in’ when rallying support for consumer closeness or research.

Sarah from Sky explained that once you’ve got said support, customer closeness has to be authentic, engaging and inspiring. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

A director’s View

Dan Dewsbury gave us brilliant definitions of ‘perceived empathy’ and ‘actual empathy’. He also gave food for thought when choosing respondents; the first people to raise their hands may not always be the best to talk to. And how, sometimes, the most valuable insight comes from listening around the edges.

A negotiator’s view

Simon Horton outlined the behaviour framework used by hostage negotiators which we can apply to selling consumer closeness. He also outlined the need for empathy in negotiations.

A marine’s view

Later, Gareth Tennant talked about turning insight into foresight and empathy being a competitive advantage. Want to understand a different culture? Talk to those embedded within it.

An agency view

Our very own Alistair Vince started by talking about the widening empathy gap and his tips for closing it.

Danny Russell of DRC then gave further advice on closing said gap by remembering the difference between ‘Company Think’ and ‘Customer Think’.

Nick Bonney from Deep Blue Thinking echoed this when outlining the dangers of us knowing both too much and not enough about our products. And how this can quite easily completely alienate us from those buying our products.

A little later, the ever brilliant Rob Campbell from RG/A told us about the need to understand the culture around your category and how context is absolutely everything.

A closing view

So really, a pretty jam packed day…

My key takeaways? Forge strategic partnerships with other areas of the business to help with buy-in and support, listen around the edges, and get to know your customers’ culture.

And to stop talking about it and just crack on and do it.


If you want to see clips from any of the above, then please get in touch…