Conversation Starters

February 25, 2016

Last week we spoke about immersion and how it can help us understand the customers we are designing for. Businesses can take on many shapes and forms and therefore one brand immersion technique may not be of equal value to another.

Another technique we use to get to know our audience is creating conversations. No one can really know what the people you are designing for are thinking, unless you ask them - but without clever questions we are likely to get shaded or standard responses. The key to sparking dialogue with your audience is to suggest a heap of ideas around your product or service to encourage a reaction and hopefully a dialogue too. A recent project of ours revolves around the Melbourne property market and their purchasing habits - we wanted to understand the differences between generations and their perspectives on the great “Australian Dream”. We created some scenarios (realistic and unrealistic) around saving, lending and lifestyle to gather their thoughts and perceptions on the current Melbourne property market. The results were surprising for our client (and us too). The results helped them to position their product and brand with a focus on the concerns and needs of their perfect customer.

Our tip to make this work for you - firstly, make sure your audience knows you are interested in their reactions and opinions to your conversation starters. Start slowly and be inquisitive - keep it casual, people will find it hard to open up if they feel like they are being interviewed. If you are having trouble getting past the one-word answers, switch from questions to ideas or hypothetical situations. Make them as absurd or abstract as you can to spark some sort of emotional response and in turn an honest opinion on the topic. Do you have 200K to give to your son/daughter for their first home? If I gave you $600k today, what would you do with it? Watch carefully for strong reactions to your concepts, whether they are positive or negative. This is your cue to delve deeper with your audience and ask follow-up questions and continue the conversation.

Want some ideas to start your own conversation? We’re really good listeners so give us a hey.

Illustration by Ji Hyun Yu