Workshop on defining one's clients

 

In between the launching of a brand into the market and the creation of the desired image through an all-channel marketing plan, there is an important intermediate step which is often omitted. Do we really now who the reference clients we want to attract to our company are, and what they are like? Why are we so certain that these are our clients and not any others? Have we ever verified it or is this merely a mental image we have imposed on ourselves? And what if, instead of classifying our clients as part of a certain demographic, social or psychographic segment, we think of them as what they are: people with aspirations, fears, pressure, stress, thoughts, tastes, hobbies... We hear a lot about the importance of establishing a dialogue with our clients, of creating a bond besides the mere commercial transaction, of putting ourselves in our clients' shoes, but, do we do it? Do we actually understand our clients?

In order to fill this gap, grasp created this "Workshop on defining one's clients".

This also became the occasion to start working with Sara Sal, co-worker at Dcollab and expert on business shaping and service design. Together we designed a workshop specifically thought out to help one of grasp's clients to better define its own clients, through the application of some of the innovative tools that Sara has a thorough command of. And we got down to business. We designed a small work programme and the client accepted.

In a fun and metaphorical way, grasp's client used to compare its approximation to its clients with a hunter who goes through the woods and eats berries one day, then eats a partridge the next day, then perhaps one lucky day manages to hunt down a boar... This hunter knows that big game hunting is not his thing, and yet, he hasn't clearly defined what type of animals he's trying to hunt and how much effort is needed to manage it. Defining the "game to be hunted", by taking into account their brand platform, business model and market situation, was the target of the day.

The company's director suggested involving the whole team. He had them leave their offices one morning and spend it designing a joint strategy that they felt as theirs because it was the result of a team effort in which everyone had had the chance to express their own point of view.

In order to determine what the point of departure was, to get everybody into the right mood and to carry out an ethnographic analysis, a brief questionnaire was sent to the workers and answered by 80% of them. The answers made it clear that the company believed that treating its clients in a close and humane manner was important when it came to both capturing their interests and ensuring their loyalty. However, despite the fact that all workers had their own ideas, there was no common image of who this ideal clients were, what their size, activity and interlocutor was, or how to reach them and address them. On top of this, one of the central values for this brand that grasp defined when it created its strategy –proactivity– had clearly not been implemented, since the actions that they were taking to find new clients were almost inexistent.

The workshop took place in Dcollab. Leaving the workspace is recommended for this type of workshops. It allows a better level of engagement and relax through an elimination of the day-to-day distractions and a focus on the target.

We began with a brief meditation session, in order to help the participants focus on the here and now, leaving other occupations and worries aside.

Then we opened our toolbox, explained how it all functioned and began to work. The idea was to make sure that all the participants engaged in the task, so we made the rules clear at the beginning and asked for all phones to be switched off so that the attention was kept focused. We began with the example of a solid, notorious, Spanish brand with a strategy that was clearly oriented towards the client. Using an empathy map, we personified this client in a specific executive, with a specific name. We tried to get into his head and understand his motivations and aspirations, as well as his obstacles and frustrations. This analysis allowed the participants to clearly see what the type of clients that they were more interested in focusing on were, both because of their value proposal and because of their costs structure.

The typology of the ideal client was thus defined, and we also managed to collect in that same meeting a huge number of action proposals and specific commitments on behalf of  certain participants, who took over the responsibility of implementing them.

And in just three hours, we managed to:

.     Tear down the barriers between the different offices, make the participants feel part of the same ship and improve their knowledge of what is usually done by their colleagues, with whom they normally barely even crossed words.

.     Break down business cards and hierarchies for a few hours, making all ideas, junior and senior, count equally.

.     Engage the participants, with our help, in a joint reflection about who they wished to have as their clients.

.     Collect a group of action proposals on behalf of all the team members to better reach the clients and, more importantly, commitments on behalf of specific participants to carry them through.

In short, we helped a company focus their orientation towards the client, we began a professional collaboration and started a new joint service that we wish will last long.

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