Without consumers, brands fail. Nothing is more valuable to a brand than someone who financially supports them then spreads the word for free. To develop effective messaging, it is imperative to understand who the brand's customers are, and what they want. Here are 4 fun methods that anyone can use to learn about and better understand consumers: Find them on social media. This is the quickest and easiest way to learn about your consumer. What are they posting pictures of? Who are they talking to? What are they talking about? Take note of the language and tone they use, and how they describe and represent themselves. Read a magazine. No really. Go to the store, and pick up a magazine that the brand's target demographic reads. Before you open the cover, take a second to clear your mind. Pretend that you're an 18-year-old college freshman, or a golf enthusiast, or whomever your consumer is. Then, read what they read. Check out the pictures. Flip through the articles. Look over the ads. This will help you better understand what they care about and how different brands capture their attention. Watch TV or a movie. Though choosing an entertaining TV show or film is good choice, a documentary about the consumer is an even better one. If you go the entertainment route, as with the magazine exercise, you'll want to clear your head and pretend you're the consumer before you begin. Attend an event. Whether it's a Taylor Swift concert or hanging around their favorite store, going to an event or environment that your consumer enjoys is one of the best ways to submerge yourself in their world. When you're there, immerse yourself in their experience. Eat what they eat and drink what they drink. Strike up a conversation with the consumer and learn more about them. Take note of the event sponsors and their involvement. Any of these four activities will give you a glimpse into your consumer's world, and help you think of them as more than just consumers but as people. While these activities may not tell you more about purchase cycle, it will tell you about what entertains and excites them. Understanding these passion points will enable your brand to open up a deeper relationship with these individuals.