Voice of the consumer

Startup: “We’re maniacally focused on the consumer.”
VC: “Great, how many consumers did you talk to before launching your brand?”
Startup: “Oh, we don’t do research. I mean Steve Jobs didn’t believe in it!”

Steve Jobs famously said “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Too often this quote is misinterpreted to mean consumer research is pointless. Sure, people aren’t going to tell you they want an iPhone before they know what an iPhone is, but listening and observing behavior is critical to refining a product experience and building an emotional connection. In today’s landscape, it’s impossible to win without the voice of the consumer at the table. If you are building a brand, make sure your process incorporates consumer input in your decisions. Oh, and if you are pitching a venture firm named Listen, expect a question or two on just that … how you listen.

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