A customer is just a wallet with a body attached to it?

We choose labels to describe the world and these labels shape the lenses through which we understand and act on the world. Boroditsky uses an example: if an accident where to happen an English speaker would focus on the perpetrator (who did it?) while a Spanish speaker on the intentions leading to the incident (why did it happen?).

This relates to how organizations choose to describe the world and particularly the common label customers. Are there really any customers?

Our language and labels should help us access and take part in the main motivators and drivers through which people are using and enjoying (delighting in) our products. We need to see our products through the lens of their lives not see their lives through the lens of our products.

Very few companies should have customers. As it reflects the moment of purchase. It reflects a wallet with a body attached to it. And the intention of any product is not to be sold, it’s to be used and enable desired outcomes.

A few of my own guides to identify a better language:

  1. How would they describe the situation they are in?
  2. What are they trying to achieve, what are their desired outcomes?
  3. What label would a person use to describe themselves given 1 and 2



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Helge Tennø

Helge Tennø

Founder and Principal at Jokull AS