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Case Studies:

Case Studies in Strategic Positioning

Client: Manufacturer of nail care products

  • Objective: To assess the image of the companys core product category among a representative population of women who engage in nail care; and to develop benchmark measurements in advance of a new advertising campaign.
  • Audience: Women 18 and over who use nail care products; and identified users of the client's specific product category.
  • Method: Telephone survey of 350 women in the general population and an over-sample of 170 category users.
  • Results: Incidence rates of category usage were established; brand and advertising awareness were measured; image and perception of the category was developed through two types of ratings bi-polar rating of various attributes of the category (reliable/unreliable, etc) and a series of statements to which respondents were asked to agree or disagree.

Client: Manufacturer of a dental product

  • Objective: To understand how patients and professionals view the product and the brand in order to strengthen the brand position for a new advertising campaign.
  • Audience: Dentists, both customers and non-customers; and consumers who call in response to existing ads
  • Method: This study consisted of two phases: an outbound telephone survey with dentists, and an inbound telephone survey conducted with consumers calling in.
  • Results: The brand image was assessed; strengths and weaknesses of the brand were identified; knowledge gained was used to refine the ad campaign.

Client: New York Not-for-Profit

  • Objective: To find out how to reach out to and attract more donors from the Baby Boom generation.
  • Audience: Baby Boomer donors who gave at least $1,000 in the previous year
  • Method: One-on-one depth interviews (54); half with donors who had given between $1,000 and $4,999 and half who had given more than $5,000.
  • Results: Findings indicated that the organization needed to change the focus of its message, as this cohort would not be motivated by the same issues as their parents' generation was.

Client: Auto Insurance brokerage chain.

  • Objective: To determine strategic and communications positioning for new advertising campaign; to gather information for SWOT analysis
  • Audience: Insurance brokers
  • Method: Demographic research, competitive intelligence, IDIs with four brokers
  • Results: Data revealed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; SWOT analysis developed, leading to brand positioning

Client: Online graduate school

  • Objective: To develop strategic positioning and key messages
  • Audiences: Key executives, Faculty, Students, Alumni, Administrative staff
  • Method: IDIs with key executives and online survey among four other constituent audiences
  • Results: Key strengths and weaknesses uncovered; analysis compared these findings with competitors, leading to recommendation of unique positioning

Client: Online game site

  • Objective: To decide whether the strategic positioning should be a "fun"site, or a "game show" destination
  • Audience: Consumers who play games on the Internet
  • Method: 4 focus groups were held with consumers who play games online either at home or at work; followed by a telephone survey of users registered to the client's site
  • Results: A perceptual map was derived from the quantitative data, which showed that "fun" site was the optimal positioning for frequent game players. Another, unexpected finding was that online game playing has much more varied demographics than expected

Client: Corporate training and change management firm

  • Objective: To assess the needs of medium-size companies for change management and other consulting services, and the image of the client as a provider of those services
  • Audience: Senior human resource executives and "economic buyers"(usually CFOs) in medium-size companies
  • Method: Telephone interviews with 1,000 executives
  • Results: Detailed analysis including a perceptual map, comparing the client's image with those of major competitors

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Case Studies in Product Development and Launch

Client: Office Technology producer

  • Objective: To determine market acceptance and product configuration for a web-based multi-location communication system
  • Audiences: Small businesses with at least 3 locations
  • Method: 2 Focus groups in one major metropolitan area
  • Results: Communication needs among various locations and between field people and the office were identified; specific features of the new offering were prioritized; product configuration was enabled.

Client: HVAC division of a Fortune 100 company

  • Objective: To determine commercial viability for an air purification system that had been developed for the military, and to determine the optimal industry for this rollout
  • Audiences: Emergency Management Officials in State and Local Government, Emergency Management Directors in hospitals and other organizations
  • Method: Secondary research, followed by 12 IDIs in Phase I and 24 IDIs in Phase II
  • Results: Key industries identified, purchase criteria and process described, opportunities and weaknesses articulated

Client: Online industrial directory

  • Objective: To determine brand awareness and image for a new brand which is the merger of two older, well-established brands
  • Audiences: Small industrial businesses in the US
  • Method: Two-wave quantitative study of Users of the online resource and Advertisers on it
  • Results: Creation of a media strategy for advertising and promoting the new brand.

Client: Manufacturer of fabric used for office furniture and paneling

  • Objective: To determine trends in office design and preferences for fabrics used for paneling and seating
  • Audiences: Architects, Interior designers, Project Managers and Librarians in design firms
  • Method: Secondary research to uncover trends; Individual depth interviews to confirm those trends and expand on it; Focus groups to determine fabric preferences
  • Results: Identification of macro design trends and micro fabric trends; Identification of fabric preferences, not only specific fabrics but classes of designs preferred.

Client: Maker of lenses for prescription glasses

  • Objective: To determine acceptance of a new electro-chromic technology for prescription eyewear
  • Audiences: Hi-end consumers who wear prescription eyewear, and hi-end retailers
  • Method: Focus groups among both groups in each of two cities
  • Results: People were intrigued by the technology, but were put off by the suggested price; recommendations were made to position the product as a technology product, rather than a "gadget."

Client: Maker and processor of asceptic packaging for various beverage categories

  • Objective: To assess user acceptance for and preference among several new designs for asceptic packaging for several different beverage categories
  • Audience: Consumers who use several different types of beverages (including children who drink fruit punch) and health care workers who provide nutritional supplements to elderly patients
  • Method: 14 focus groups: 3 or 4 in each of 4 cities
  • Results: Product usage information and packaging preferences were obtained; recommendations made for optimal packaging choices in each beverage category.

Client: Online university

  • Objective: To assess the market for online MBA and MS Education programs
  • Audience: College grads who intended to earn a Master's degree
  • Method: 3 online studies: one to test the incidence of people who were interested in graduate education online; two separate studies among those who indicated interest in either an MBA or MS Education with specialization in TESOL (Teachers of English as Second or Other Language)
  • Results: Incidence check highlighted and profiled a very large marketplace; program-specific studies uncovered characteristics of those who were most interested in taking the courses online, thereby adding valuable information to the marketing plan

Client: Industrial directory of European manufacturers

  • Objective: To assess the viability and profitability of this industrial directory among European manufacturers (advertisers) and buyers (users)
  • Audience: Purchasing agents and advertising managers of industrial firms in 6 different countries
  • Method: 6 focus groups (2 in each of 3 countries) with advertising executives in industrial companies; followed by a telephone survey with 500 users and advertisers of the directory
  • Results: This study proved that the product was viable, with some changes in how advertising was sold; a quadrant analysis showed the relative strengths and weaknesses of the product and gave direction as to the best allocation of resources for upgrading it.

Client: Maker and importer of braided rugs and other floor coverings

  • Objective: To determine market acceptability of current and proposed new designs of braided rugs
  • Audience: Consumersmen and women, different age groups
  • Method: 8 focus groups (4 with each gender; 4 with each of two age groups) with people who had bought or would consider buying braided rugs
  • Results: This study showed some preferences for new designs and colors/color combinations that would freshen the line and make it more appealing to a younger audience. Marketing recommendations were made during a formal presentation of findings.

Client: Largest Japanese manufacturer of green tea and similar products

  • Objective: To assess the acceptance of Japanese green tea and other tea products among Americans
  • Audience: Buyers/drinkers of green tea
  • Method: Secondary research to assess the size of the market, followed by 6 focus groups with green tea drinkers
  • Results: This study showed some weaknesses in the primary product for American consumers, but better acceptance for some secondary products. Subsequently, another study was done to assess reaction to a retail establishment featuring these products.

Client: Exporter of Columbian coffee

  • Objective: To assess consumer acceptance of premium Columbian coffee that is roasted in-country, very soon after the beans are picked
  • Audience: Buyers/drinkers of roasted/brewed coffee
  • Method: Secondary research, focus groups, and a mall intercept study
  • Results: People found the concept quite acceptable, but the value proposition of a premium coffee sold in supermarkets had to be reinforced and sold.

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Case Studies in Brand Management

Client: E-commerce site with a financial service product

  • Objective: To develop an understanding of the client's brand image among people who had visited their site, whether or not they had made a purchase
  • Audiences: Visitors to the client's web site in a give time frame
  • Method: Online survey among people who were "intercepted" while on the site and directed to another server to complete the questionnaire; individual depth interviews with selected visitors to the site
  • Results: Assessment of brand image, purchase criteria and motivation, and competitive environment

Client: Fiber Manufacturer, Pillow Division

  • Objective: Assess the value of three of the company's brands as co-brands with department store and designer brands for bed pillows
  • Audiences: Consumers
  • Method: Central location in-person interviews with 500 consumers; conjoint analyses conducted
  • Results: A matrix, showing relative values of different brand combinations and their projected market shares, was constructed. It highlighted optimal branding combinations

Client: New England law firm

  • Objective: Assess the image of this firm among its client base and among prospects in certain industries
  • Audiences: General counsels in client and prospect firms; key partners in the firm
  • Method: IDIs with 25 clients/prospects and 8 partners; secondary research on the economic environment in New England
  • Results: The firm's image among clients and prospects was compared with the internal vision of its partners; secondary research that described the regional economy provided an important backdrop for decisions on optimal business sectors to pursue

Client: Maker of process control systems for utilities

  • Objective: To assess the value of the brand name (which was being licensed from the former owner of the company) in order to decide whether or not to renegotiate the licensing agreement for its use; also message evaluation for marketing communications development
  • Audience: Senior process control managers in electric utilities, water and waste water management facilities
  • Method: 275 telephone interviews, regression analysis to determine key drivers of the image
  • Results: Brand name shown to be valuable and retention was recommended; key messages derived for marketing communications

Client: European Trade Commission, Food and Wine Center

  • Objective: To assess the brand equity and image of wine from the commission's country versus those from two competitor countries
  • Audience: Buyers/drinkers of fine wines
  • Method: Secondary research to determine the size of the market; telephone interviews with 350 consumers; perceptual map analysis
  • Results: The data showed that the country of origin can constitute a brand for fine wines; that these "brands"have distinct images which impact the respective value propositions.

Clients: Two hospitals in the New York area

  • Objective: To assess the strength of hospital brands in areas adjacent to their primary market zones
  • Audience: Consumers: healthcare decision-makers
  • Method: Focus groups to determine whether the brands had sufficient strength to draw patients to new, remote medical offices
  • Results: The data showed, in each case, that the hospital brands were strong enough to draw patients to new remote facilities.

Client: Generic pharmaceutical manufacturer

  • Objective: To determine brand image for client and competitors
  • Audience: Volume buyers (38 chain drug stores and supermarkets)
  • Method: Self-administered questionnaire sent by FedEx, along with $100 American Express Gift Cheque; phone calls alerting respondents and follow-up calls reminding them to fill out and return the questionnaires Results: Consumers want companies-even those they like-to be honest and straightforward; these groups demonstrated reactions to proposed communications and provided the client and its advertising agency with insights to product messaging that has the best chance of preserving the client's generally good reputation.

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Case Studies in External Communications

Client: Insurance company

  • Objective: To test various communications responding to negative publicity concerning the company's alleged plan not to renew some groups of policies
  • Audience: Customers of this insurance company and some non-customers in the New York Metropolitan area
  • Method: Focus groups in three parts of the metropolitan area; four groups of customers and two groups of non-customers
  • Results: : Consumers want companies-even those they like-to be honest and straightforward; these groups demonstrated reactions to proposed communications and provided the client and its advertising agency with insights to product messaging that has the best chance of preserving the clientÕs generally good reputation.

Client: Telephone equipment provider

  • Objective: To determine the best way to tell customers, many of whom are very long-term customers, that the management of this company would be changing, along with the brand name-a name with which they are very familiar and comfortable
  • Audience: Customers in two cities, one in the Midwest, and one in the East
  • Method: Focus groups: two in each city, and then two more in the East to confirm the final communications
  • Results: Clients were able to refine the messaging from group to group in an iterative process, leading to final versions with which the customers felt comfortable; the last two groups served as a "disaster check" to make sure the messaging was right.

Client: Over-the-counter diet product

  • Objective: to test print ad prototypes for effectiveness and responsiveness
  • Audience: women 35-54 who are diet conscious
  • Method: Mini-groups in one city: 6 to 8 respondents, rather than the more usual 10 to 12
  • Results: Important language descriptions of the product were identified; graphics, copy elements, and themes for the print ads were assessed and one or two were chosen as resonating most with the participants.

Client: Pharmaceutical company

  • Objective: To test logos and ads regarding clinical trials for a new pharmaceutical to fight Hepatitis C
  • Audience: Sufferers of Hepatitis C
  • Method: Mini-groups in one city
  • Results: Copy points, logo, and tag lines were selected that resonated most with respondents.

Client: Advertising agency for a major hardware and software manufacturer

  • Objective: To assess reactions to a proposed advertising campaign for point-of-customer-contact software
  • Audience: MIS directors in several business sectors in the US and Canada
  • Method: 50 one-on-one interviews
  • Results: Reaction to the advertising was positive, enabling the client to win the account

Client: Electric generating company

  • Objective: To test key messages for a communications campaign concerning upcoming generating plant emissions reporting
  • Audience: Consumers in 4 southern states
  • Method: 8 focus groups and 900 telephone interviews
  • Results: Consumers in the selected markets were concerned about emissions and reacted well to most of the messages tested; the quantitative study showed little significant difference among the various messages tested, leading to the recommendation that any of several of the messages tested would be fine.

Client: Maker of prescription photochromic eyeglass lenses

  • Objective: To track the effectiveness of advertising, over a two-year period, in increasing brand awareness and image among independent eye wear professionals (retailers)
  • Audience: Independent eye wear professionals
  • Method: Telephone interviews with 200 eye wear professionals in each of three waves (per year), about 3 months apart
  • Results: Data showed little movement in unaided brand awareness or image

Client: Hospital group in New York

  • Objective: To evaluate advertising effectiveness for a hospital system in suburban New York City
  • Audience: Consumers in the 3-county area serviced by the system
  • Method: 500 telephone interviews
  • Results: Impact of key messages was not as strong as expected, but awareness of the system and its component hospitals was good.

Client: Vaccine division of a pharmaceutical company

  • Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a tele-sales program vs. a personal visit program
  • Audience: Physicians who provide adult vaccinations
  • Method: Telephone interviews with targeted physician practices
  • Results: Personal visit program was judged to be more effective, but not so much as to warrant the incremental costs over the tele-sales program

Client: Advertising agency for a mutual fund family

  • Objective: To determine the effectiveness of advertising for a family of small cap stock funds
  • Audience: Investors in mutual funds
  • Method: Telephone interviews with targeted consumers
  • Results: Brand awareness increased as a result of the advertising, but not a much as the client had expected.

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Case Studies in Internal Communications

Client: Franchise home improvement enterprise

  • Objective: To find out what franchisees are telling prospective franchisees about the business in general, and corporate support, in particular
  • Audience: Current active franchisees
  • Method: Mystery shopper design: calling franchisees, posing as a prospective franchisee
  • Results: Identification of franchisees that are likely to be good or bad references

Client: Home health care chain

  • Objective: To assess employee issues due to high turn-over rate in some offices
  • Audience: Home health aides and nurses
  • Method: Self-administered questionnaire returned by 500 employees (out of about 10,000)
  • Results: Employee issues highlighted and reported to management

Client: Events marketing and public relations firm

  • Objective: To assess employee issues due to rapid growth
  • Audience: Professional and administrative staff at all levels
  • Method: Self-administered questionnaire returned by 75 employees (out of about 85); quadrant analysis comparing importance of attributes to company performance Results: Employee issues highlighted and reported to management, plus formal presentation to entire staff

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Case Studies in Research for Ink

Client: Thomas Industrial Network and Google

  • Objective: To promote and Google as Internet marketing solutions to drive traffic to industrial web sites and deliver qualified buyers
  • Audience: 330 Industrial Marketers and 500 Industrial Buyers
  • Method: Online survey that went out to approximately 40,000 companies
  • Results: Survey showed a major disconnect between what buyers look for and want from supplier sites and what those suppliers/marketers provide. Results were used to develop a presentation on "The Internet's Impact on Industrial Buying and Selling Today," which was shown to industrial marketers all over the country. In addition, a press release was issued, and achieved immediate placement on and other media.

Client: GarageTek® and the National Home Safety Council

  • Objective: To increase awareness of safety issues in homeowners' garages, in support of National Garage Safety Week
  • Audience: Homeowners with garages
  • Method: Telephone survey among 502 homeowners, executed through an omnibus study
  • Results: Results showed that 3 out of 10 garage owners are concerned about overall safety; many more are concerned about slips & falls and falling objects (the two most common causes of accidents). The study also showed that 6 out of 10 people consider their garages to be poorly organized. Findings achieved placement in print and television, including a 4-minute piece on CBS Early Show, revealing the major findings and showing how easily GarageTek can make a garage safer and neater.

Client: Thomas Regional Directory Company and MasterCard International

  • Objective: To gain awareness for Thomas Regional Directory's industrial sourcing guide and for MasterCard's small business program
  • Audience: Small industrial businesses
  • Method: Online survey among 5,000 small industrial businesses
  • Results: Important findings concerning optimism among these small businesses, and the way they use payment cards to access new markets via the Internet, and to manage their cash flow better. High-level placements achieved. Results can be found at:

Client: Thomas Food Industry Register (now part of Greyhouse Publishing)

  • Objective: To gain awareness for Thomas Food Industry Register and to position it as the "go-to" directory for sourcing in the foodservice industry
  • Audience: Food processors, wholesalers/distributors, foodservice operators
  • Method: FoodTRENDS, an annual survey conducted from 1994 until 2000; self-administered surveys at NY Restaurant Show from 1994 through 1998, and telephone surveys in 1999 and 2000
  • Results: Important findings concerning the adoption and growth of online purchasing; dozens of placements each year

Client: EMC Corporation

  • Objective: To support new product launches in 1995 through 1997 in the US and Europe
  • Audience: MIS directors in client server environments
  • Method: Telephone surveys with MIS directors in 6 different countries
  • Results: Surveys proved the need for the products being introduced; press conferences held to announce survey findings were well attended, and yielded good placements

Client: CDB Research & Consulting

  • Objective: To achieve awareness of this research arm of Creamer Dickson Basford public relations
  • Audience: Consumers
  • Method: 500 telephone surveys with consumers on a variety of subjects
  • Results: Findings produced numerous press releases, covering the various subject areas; dozens of placements for each subject, and two radio interviews on one subject in particular

Client: Franklin Covey

  • Objective: To achieve awareness of this producer of personal improvement and time management products
  • Audience: Consumers
  • Method: 600 telephone surveys with consumers on their values and priorities, and on their use of personal improvement products
  • Results: "America Speaks," article written for Franklin Covey magazine

Client: Essilor (maker of prescription eyeglass lenses)

  • Objective: To increase awareness of vision care and vision correction for children, in order to grow that market segment
  • Audience: Parents of school-age children
  • Method: Telephone survey of 400 parents of school-age children
  • Results: Survey results indicated that children are underserved when it comes to ophthalmologic care and prescription eyewear. The survey results were confirmed and explained by a pediatric ophthalmologist. This created significant coverage in general readership publications as well as verticals.

Client: Venastat, a Pharmaton product that reduces leg pain and swelling

  • Objective: To increase awareness of the negative consequences of crossing one's legs, in conjunction with "The Great American Cross-Out"
  • Audience: Men and women 21 and older
  • Method: Telephone survey of 500 people
  • Results: Survey results showed how and when people cross their legs and their attitudes toward leg-crossing. Results were augmented by Dr. Novarro, a circulatory specialist who made the connection between leg-crossing and leg swelling.

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Case Studies in Customer Relations

Client: Manufacturer and distributor of musical equipment

  • Objective: To uncover and evaluate customer service issues
  • Audience: Independent music retailers
  • Method: IDIs with 30 retailers during a major trade show, followed by an online survey among 215 other independent retailers
  • Results: Uncovered strengths and weaknesses, as well as their relative importance, enabling the client to prioritize and address these issues

Client: Full Message Pager provider

  • Objective: To discover why churn rate of customers was so high
  • Audience: Blue collar entrepreneurs who were current or former customers
  • Method: 4 focus groups, 2 each with current and former customers
  • Results: Specific problems and issues uncovered enabling company to address them

Client: Group Purchasing Organization affiliated with the Greater NY Hospital Assn

  • Objective: To assess customer satisfaction and multiple use of GPOs
  • Audience: Practice-based physicians and facility-based pharmacists
  • Method: 200 telephone interviews
  • Results: Quadrant analysis employed to help set priorities for addressing various customer issues

Client: Home improvement/furnishing franchiser

  • Objective: To assess customer satisfaction with the installation of a paneling/cabinet system for the garage
  • Audience: Homeowners who are customers
  • Method: Annual self-administered survey sent by mail.
  • Results: Franchisee report cards were developed and disseminated, allowing corporate management and each franchisee to see how each one is doing. After first year, comparisons were made to determine progress.

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Case Studies in Best Practices

Client: Luxury automobile brand

  • Objective: To benchmark best practices in global branding
  • Audience: Senior brand managers of successful global brands
  • Method: Secondary research; in-depth interviews with 8 global "brand keepers"
  • Results: In-depth report detailing the practices of world-class companies to support and extend their brands globally; issues matrix containing responses to each question; consulting with the client to see where there might be a "fit."

Client: Global beverage company

  • Objective: To benchmark best practices in global marketing research
  • Audience: Senior marketing research managers of successful global corporations
  • Method: Secondary research; in-depth interviews with 10 corporate marketing research executives
  • Results: In-depth report detailing the practices of international marketers in collecting and sharing information across regional and product group lines; consulting with the client to determine its relevance.

Client: Major hardware and software provider

  • Objective: To benchmark best practices in global marketing research; especially how regional and brand groups interact
  • Audience: Senior marketing research managers of successful global corporations
  • Method: Secondary research; in-depth interviews with 8 marketing research managers
  • Results: In-depth report detailing the practices of world-class companies in establishing communications among regional and product groups; consulting with the client to determine how this information could help them reorganize.

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