The Things People Tell Us
When we begin to craft brand messages, graphic and visual directions, voice and tone flavor, marketing and brand strategies we are fully loaded with insights and informed with the realities of our client.
Bold statement, eh? So, how do we get there? It’s a very complex and closely-held secret process we’ve developed over our 20+ years… wait for it… this might be a mistake to divulge… okay, here we go… we ask, we listen, we converse.
Yup, it’s the highly scientific, mightily complicated, and just plain nutty act of conversation. We talk with people.
We conduct 30-45-minute interviews with, depending on the goal, internal, external, customers, partners, stakeholders, the usual suspects, and the unusual suspects to go deep into the reality of a brand. We find that face-to-face, humans-in-a-room is ideal, but we certainly tap into remote technology for convenience and expedience.
Hey, We’re Talkin’ Here
Keeping things casual and making the process easy for an interviewee are key. Knowing that one can speak freely and honestly unlocks wisdom, perspectives, and surprises.
While “casual,” our interview process is built on a strategy and designed to elicit what we call, “emotional insights.” (FYI, no one has yet to break anything in anger, or descend into a sobbing mess. We’re pretty empathic and compassionate folks here at Sussner.)
By asking the right questions, and creating a comfortable environment and vibe, we find people are very forthcoming, and we glean intel far beyond the obvious. To that point, it’s okay to discover that the obvious was obviously correct. Having the obvious reinforced by these interviews has tremendous value when pursuing creative strategy. But so often we come away with unexpected insights, quotable tagline- and headline-worthy words, and opportunities.
We see value in audience interviews for nearly all of our clients. Clearly, some projects do not require that level of investigation and investment. But, thing is, we are a branding firm, so most of our work is all-brand-encompassing.
This interview process is of course very custom. Every client and audience is unique and the questions are carefully considered. Although, staying flexible and going with the interview flow is extremely important—read the room and read the person you’re speaking with.
We rarely, if ever, fully transcribe our interviews. This is intimidating to interviewees, as they feel a need to articulate perfectly and logically—which is not the point. We take notes and ultimately paraphrase comments, and highlight phrases.
From these conversations we uncover the blinds spots, the unknowns and the hidden opportunities. We often unearth other problems to address or opportunities to focus on.
This intel becomes invaluable toward brand strategy, purpose, vision, and mission. These discussion drive creative, concepts, design and copy inspiration. There have been times when company taglines have been literally written by an interview subject—unbeknownst to them. The results are great for setting up presentations as a creative anchor and reality-based touchstone.
The data gathered from thorough interviews will take the personal preference out of decisions by the client. We have real facts that change, “We think they would like this” to “We know they would like this.”
Start a Conversation
At post-interview phase we don’t go away to conjure up all materials without close collaboration with our client. While we do the heavy lifting, we are always partnering and probing for your insights—no one knows your business like you do.
Thankfully, we’re good at chatting. We’re nice. People like us. We’re okay guys.
Don’t skip the talking part. Speak with your client so you can speak for your client. Talk to your client’s people, and talk to your client’s clients. Talk is good.
That’s enough talking for now,
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We tell, and we show. See work examples at sussner.com/work
And we’d love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org