26 May 2021 Tenaka

The love letter and the breakup letter

Unearth real customer sentiments about your product or service

“Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helterskelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts.” – Nick Bantock

Two letters written as though to a person – one positive, one negative

This is an individual exercise where participants – your customers, employees or the humans whose opinions are important to you – write two letters to your brand, product or service:

  • A love letter containing all the things they really enjoy; the things that make them want to engage with the brand, buy the product, use the service; the things that delight them and keep them loyal
  • A breakup letter expressing what frustrates them; what makes them want to stop engaging; moments that have really turned them off and caused them to look for an alternative solution

Understand individual and group sentiments towards your brand

This is a great method to use when you are trying to understand why you are losing business to a competitor, or even just to uncover people’s joys and frustrations and learn how you can make something better. The exercise suits a group situation, where participants write individually then read out their letters and discuss as a group, allowing time for both personal and social response to uncover a range of sentiments.

Allow free expression of relationship moments between customers and products or services

The love and breakup letters offer a familiar format without too much structure, where participants can express themselves freely through storytelling. This method can often yield deep insights about the relationships we have with products and services: the letters help us understand the moments between a person and a product or service that spark frustration or joy – moments that those relationships are built on.

Things to consider when doing the love letter and the breakup letter

  • Allow about 10 minutes to write each letter – too much time can lead to overthinking
  • Encourage participants to write freely and honestly without worrying about paper or time limits – this is the best way to generate rich data
  • Although this is a chance to express oneself freely, consider offering some structure in the letters for those overwhelmed by a blank page – this could be a few sentence starters, or a list header, for example
  • Make sure participants are clear about who they are writing to – name the brand or a specific product or service – and that they use ‘you’, as though they were writing to a person
  • Video or audio record participants reading out their letters – video is particularly great for this, as it captures non-verbal cues that support the handwritten letter
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