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Are we the 'wild west' of customer insights?

Anonymous feedback is a cop-out!

After seven years, I finally peeked into the world of other customer research companies, and yikes, it's been a revelation!

After learning how other customer research companies operate, I’ve realised that we are the wild-west of customer insights!

By wild-west, I mean that we are different. We’re not bound by traditional rules, we focus on common-sense and what gets results, and that gives us the freedom to be innovative with our approach.

WLB has been on a roll lately—we've beefed up our team, we've got more customers knocking on our door, and we're making waves in global markets, all through word of mouth.

I love that our customers choose our energy over theory and our results over process.

Rory Sutherland, Behavioral Practice Founder of Ogilvy said something I find fascinating:

When deciding what to buy from a B2C business, customers are looking to avoid disappointment.

But, when buying from a B2B business, they are looking to avoid blame.

People choose long-established, generic research companies, over ‘wild west’ ones like us, because they’re scared of making a bad decision and have that reflect poorly on them.

For example, our customer Alex Robins from Red Bull Powder has a background in research. He was new to his role as Commercial Manager and wanted to get deep customer insights, but he felt disillusioned by what was on offer.

Alex searched for a solution that resonated and had almost lost hope until finally he came across What Lies Beneath.

What we did appealed to his experience, it made sense to him, and he knew his team would understand the process too.

While chatting to me after the completion of their Depth Sounder project, Alex told me:

“I had to stake my business reputation on What Lies Beneath to get the project over the line. Now I’m basking in the glow of my good choice.”

Alex also acknowledged something that is mostly missing from customer research:

"The WLB workshops made the research usable in a really

smart way and stimulated a lot of activity within the business. You don’t get that from regular research.”

How good is that?!

So, what is it that sets us apart from the run-of-the-mill research companies?


  • When I created the WLB methodology, my goal was crystal clear: craft the quickest, simplest way to give our clients clarity, momentum, and a revitalised customer focus.

  • We're for daring, go-getting companies. Our clients know that feedback, even if it's rough, is a gift. We are told over and over that our process is constructive and positive, even when dealing with crunchy feedback!

  • I always say ‘nothing has changed except you know' and it's our job to hold our customers hands and help them respond to the feedback.

  • We're not research boffins! We speak in plain English because that's how most business owners roll.

  • We're not afraid of the tough questions, but we come from a place of curiosity, not command. Being the independent voice lets us use feedback as a springboard for honest, lively and robust discussions that cover the breadth of a business.

Don't underestimate how willing your B2B customers are to give constructive feedback.


  • While most research firms are stuck in marketing mode, we refuse to assume what a company needs most. More often than not, our clients need immediate action in areas beyond marketing.

  • We deal only in on-the-record feedback; anonymous feedback is just a cop-out especially in the B2B market where transparency and trust is what builds relationships.

  • We work with your actual customers, not faceless, traceless people who’ve signed up as a research participant as a side-hustle.

  • Action takes precedence over research. Research is the express lane to understanding, trust, clarity, and momentum; it's not the finish line.

  • What customers say is just one side of the story—our insights are razor-sharp and personalised because we dive deep into your team's perspective too.


  • Our insights are driven by sharp, dynamic members of our team who are with you through the whole process, not call-centre agents or novice interns.

  • I don't care about qualifications. When I bring in new talent, I'm thinking, "Can they connect with our clients? Will they relish this work and so they have complementary skills? Can I manage them effectively without draining my energy?" And through that we have built the most incredible team, including many who hold impressive qualifications!


Tracy Donovan, who’s been with WLB since the beginning, and I came up with these values early on in the business. We racked our brains find the essence of who we are and what we stand for and they're as relevant now as they were then:

Candour is contagious When we are open, others are more open.

Inspiration is essential To inspire, we must feel inspired.

Authenticity over perfection We're just our genuine, flawed, perfect selves.

Simplicity is our edge Our methodology is common sense.

Work trips are road trips We value both work and fun.


  • Our approach isn’t for everyone, it was never meant to be. If you are someone who wants to know the truth, to get to the Guts of a matter so you can make the best decisions going forward – then it’s likely you’ll love what we do.

  • We are SO much more than customer research. That’s just the beginning.

If your interest is piqued, it’s super easy to find out more. Just reply to this newsletter, book a time with me straight into my diary, or just give me a call on 021 636373.

Here’s a wee infographic to give you an overview of how we work:

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