Clear Thinking - The Business Experience



The Business Experience
Business Performance Improvement Services
for individuals, teams, and organisations

Customer Focus Audit + Ideas

Classic Cases demonstrate the need for Customer Focus

Classic Cases
of costly
Customer Focus


... that our Customer-Focusing Process would have spotted in advance

Customer FocusWe have a veritable library of Case Studies

… where organisations of all sizes and types have lost their Customer Focus and made costly errors in strategy, plans, projects, products, operations … especially communications. Here are just a few to demonstrate how easy it is to lose focus.

All the examples of ‘focus errors’ in our library could have been avoided
by examining the situation rigorously, methodically, and objectively from the Customers’ Perspective using a series of Customer Questions, Tests, and Prompts

… in the second case below by a simple 10 minute Test ("Alternative Meanings?")


♦ Banks + PPI mis-selling, and other Case Studies of the Month
♦ Two-words error cost £millions - missed by focus groups tests
♦ One-word boobs - Consignia consigned to the bin
♦ Poor campaign integration = "We're BIG, you're small"
♦ Clever people who made 'stupid' mistakes
♦ Even Marketing experts make simple mistakes without being aware

The Banks and other Case Studies of the Month

See News: Thinking Intelligence Case Studies of the Month 

The big High Street banks are a classic case in getting the balance between Business Thinking and Customer Thinking more weighted towards Business. 

PPI mis-selling, SWAPS mis-selling, Libor rate manipulation, 125% mortgages, interest-only mortgages ... there seems no end to the damage being inflicted to the banks' reputation for NOT being Customer Focused and more interested in their own business.

Ultimately, this Business-focused strategy could backfire badly when (or if) new competitors emerge. Regulators and Governments have got the knives out but they seem at a loss to figure out how to solve this particular culture problem.

 from a major corporation cost £millions

... for the sake of a
10 minute Test

One of the world’s biggest companies with top agency support and pre-testing, launched a new two-word slogan, costing several £million. But they got a rude shock at their next AGM. Shareholders loudly expressed disapproval, maintaining that the slogan implied that the company was moving away from its core business.

Despite strenuous efforts by the chairman to explain what the slogan meant the shareholders refused to listen. The company was forced to drop the slogan until they could explain their intentions more carefully and clearly. They eventually gave up trying to explain their concept.

Three important lessons every business can learn from
  1. your target audience will decide the meaning of your words and pictures, depending on their own experiences and level of message pre-awareness
  2. you need to check in advance your target’s awareness of, and readiness to accept, new concepts, ideas, and plans
  3. focus groups can make BIG mistakes, even in testing just two words
… and some ONE WORD boobs

The Royal Mail, a strong well-known brand, tried to change its name to the innocuous and unmemorable Consignia’. Our instant reaction was “Consigned to the bin, like junk mail” – which is precisely what happened to it after unanimous disapproval.

Then there was Monday’ – a brilliant idea for company name (the rebranding of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting arm). Everybody loves Monday, don’t they?  Well, IBM quickly ditched it when they bought the business.

Poor campaign Planning and Integration And the word BIG, used by a High-Street bank in a massive advertising campaign – until it was lambasted in the media after announcing plans to shut small branches. The campaign translated virtually overnight into: “We’re BIG, you’re small”.
Even the cleverest people can make a ‘stupid’ product
… that C5 Tricycle
Sir Clive Sinclair, President of MENSA high-IQ club, spent £millions developing and marketing a ridiculous product. It was obvious to everybody – except Sir Clive and his team – that nobody but the brave and foolish would ride that cart with their bums 10 inches above a busy highway alongside a bus. He clearly failed to imagine the customer using his product. And did he do any market research?

Even Marketing experts can get it wrong

 – without being aware

NOBODY pointed out the 'obvious' mistake, even in pre-tests

A speaker from a professional Marketing education body gave a presentation to over 100 HR and training professionals on his Government-sponsored ‘product’ entitled: “Marketing Training”. Trouble is, this phrase has at least four possible meanings, eg ‘training in marketing’, and several applications of ‘the marketing of training’.

The audience never knew which interpretation the speaker meant at any one time. At the end there was total silence. He left; completely unaware of the confusion. No business resulted (we asked, later).

The campaign brochure suffered the same multiple-interpretation problem. The designers had obviously noticed the ambiguity potentail and tried to cope by using different font styles for each of the two words, but this failed.

Have a Demo Email us for an introductory discussion and demonstration of our Customer-Focusing Process applied to any aspect of your business.