I assume you've read the Anthropologie piece. I assume you read that founder and chairman Richard Hayne's training as an anthropologist was put to use when he spent nearly two years on a "cultural odyssey" to make sure his next post-Urban Outfitters venture was on target.
That the headquarters staff keeps their pulse directly on the customer, not focus groups, on cultural events, not trends research reports. That they say fieldwork is never ever done.
"If you really want to understand your customer, you have to spend a portion of your time excavating the creative edge of the culture that defines her. For Anthropologie president Glen Senk, that means lurking around upscale neighborhoods, looking for blue plastic New York Times delivery bags and calculating the ratio of Starbucks to convenience stores. (Fast Company)"
On August 24, and August 25 I'll be leading two separate afternoon expeditions. Highly individualized excavating-the-creative-edge-of-your-customer safaris into the upscale European-boutique-inspired Santana Row shoppes in San Jose, California. One to five curious adventurers per trip. Absolutely no guarantees of safely returning back to civilization with the same eyes, same senses, same palate:
"In my experience, retailers spend most of their time looking at things from the company's perspective or the marketer's perspective," [Glen Senk, CEO of Anthropologie] he says. "They talk about trends and brand but rarely about the customer in a meaningful way. We're customer experts. Our focus is on always doing what's right for a specific customer we know very well."
The catch: I'm doing this research myself anyway. We'll start the afternoon by having lunch at the one restaurant I've been waiting with intense anticipation to open: Tanglewood Restaurant. (If you have to write a press release, that one's a beauty. It's actually a story. And it's no accident we start the dig at Tanglewood.) So that means you guys and gals split my lunch check, that's it. You must be into slow food and exploration into the unknown: what you don't know you don't know. You must be an independent owner (or marketing representative/agent of), designer, artist, artisan, creator or somehow convince me this would be of benefit to your business if none of those vaguely applies. High-tech companies especially Web 2.0 consumer-oriented would gain insights. This isn't about retail. It's about customer. RSVP: c r o s s r o a d s d i s p a t c h e s +at+ gmail +dot+ com and I'll send details.