The Love Letter / Breakup Letter

The love letter/breakup letter is a qualitative method that allows researchers to understand how critical incidents or experiences affect loyalty to a brand. 

A request is sent out to participants - whoever the intended target group for service optimization is (clients, patients, employees, etc.) - asking them to write either a love letter, or breakup letter that outlines their reasons for doing so.

The more participants, the greater the variety of responses and ability to identify trends. A good number would be between 10 and 20. The responses are then reviewed, and trends are categorized using a sorting technique such as Affinity Diagramming

Follow up interviews with the letter writers are a great way to obtain additional details regarding key points in their letters.

Love Letter

Dear Apple,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about something that's been on my mind. I think I'm in love with you...

We've been seeing each other for a while - since that ipod back in 2001 - and you've rarely disappointed me. From clean and bright stores, to your easy-to-navigate website, you've made my life a lot easier than other stores out there. 

But the icing on the cake was this last October, when I accidentally left my laptop on the roof of my car and drove off. My poor MacBook didn't survive, but you replaced her with a twin and saved me thousands of dollars. No one else I know would do that...

I hope the feeling is mutual.

Breakup Letter

Dear Best Buy,

Remember that time I needed an a new hard drive and no one would pick up the phone to answer my questions? Or when I came into the store and your associates avoided eye contact instead of reaching out to help?

The fact is, I don't want to be pressured to buy that extended warranty every time I come in. You should know me better by now.

I've been thinking about this for some time, and I think it's time we ended our relationship. I know, it's harsh, but you've had a lot of chances to change. Feedback surveys, telephone calls, the list goes on. But you've eliminated most of the competition, and the fact is, there isn't much incentive for you to change. All talk, and no action. 

I hope that one day you can learn from your neighbour Apple about how to be a better brand.