Breaking in New Clients

Have you ever had an internal or external client who was skeptical about the value of online research, or even research in general?  Chris Kann has recorded a podcast for QRCA that outlines how she used quantitative and online qualitative research to nurture a client relationship that grew to be strong and exciting. 

Chris is the owner of CSK Marketing, Inc. in Racine, Wisconsin.  She has been very active in QRCA having served 4 years on the Board, including one year as President. 

In the podcast, Chris describes how she started the client with small quantitative studies which led to valuable discoveries.  Then she moved them to online qualitative which led to greater discoveries.  Now she has a strong client relationship that benefits her and her client. 

You can find the podcast at:

Why Weird Words Make Great Brand Names

Naming.  We do it all the time in focus groups.  Frankly, sometimes I wonder if we are doing the name justice by tossing it out in a focus group to get “top of mind” responses.  Does a name make a brand?  Probably not.  The brand support goes farther than the actual name.  There are too many “good” names that have failed and too many “bad” names that have thrive.  Here is some food for thought the next time the client asks for some quick “name research.”


Why Weird Words Make Great Brand Names

Written by Phillip Davis

When creating a truly great company name, the number one consideration should be the level of engagement.

Engagement? you ask incredulously.

Yes … engagement.

Read More…

Marketing Spending: From the bottom looking up?

From our friends at Mr. Web (, here is a survey that says we may have hit bottom and are about to begin climbing out of this spending hole we are in.  At least the rate of decline seems to be slowing.  I’ll continue to watch for other reports to see if they agree.  Here is hoping the glass is half full.
Bellwether Predicts Turning Point for Marketing Spend
April 6 2009


The rate of decline in spend on marketing slowed during the first quarter of 2009, suggesting budget cutting may have reached its peak in quarter four 2008, according to the IPA’s latest Bellwether survey.

Read More…

What is the CMO thinking?

Either directly or indirectly, we work for CMOs because they are the ones who set the agenda for the brands, products or services for which we conduct qualitative research.  The following article is interesting because it explores the mind of the CMO, especially in a recession.  The topics on the mind of the CMO are the topics that will undoubtedly find their way into the next research project.  This article came from Ad Age


Why CMOs Are Gaining Ground in the Recession

The Four Top Issues on Which CEOs Look to CMOs for Guidance

Published: March 10, 2009

John Quelch
John Quelch

Some good news for marketing heads: Chief marketing officers are holding on to their jobs longer. Spencer Stuart’s annual survey of CMO tenure at the 100 most advertised brands in the U.S. reveals average time on the job has risen to 28.4 months from 26.8 months in 2007 and 23.2 months in 2006.

The popular interpretation of those data is that CMOs are aligning better with CEOs. The latter are no longer expecting instant rainmaking, and the former have learned to be humble. CMOs have learned not to pontificate about brand values before researching the issue, and they no longer fire the incumbent advertising agency the day after being appointed. The best CMOs stay low-key and aim to make the CEO, whose background often is not in marketing, comfortable becoming the chief cheerleader for the brand.

Read More…

Value Propositions: 3-D and 5-P approaches

As qualitative researchers we are often working to uncover the valua proposition or the USP for a particular product or service.  As with many things, I’m always looking for ways to structure my thinking or brainstorming.  Having some type of structure, or knowing the questions to ask, is simply much easier than staring at a blank piece of paper or a room full of participants while trying to understand the product.  This article is a two-fer.  It briefly explores the 3-D method for establishing/evaluating value propositions and reprints an article from the Financial Times outlining a 5-P method. 

Customer Value Propositions Made Easy

One of the most important and yet one of the most badly carried out tasks by business to business marketers is the development of a good customer value proposition.

The term customer value proposition or CVP is one of those dreadful inventions of the last decade. In the past we had products and services with unique selling propositions or USPs but that didn’t seem to be simple enough for our developing profession.

The problem with customer value propositions is that most people can’t help themselves when they create them. They feel honour bound to list each and every feature and benefit of the offer and, as a result, they weaken the appeal to the person they are aimed at.  Instead of the proposition being clear, it becomes fuzzy and listless.  Too many features and benefits are too much for recipients to cope with.

Read More…

The importance of unlearning

At the end of a very good article that defines the ever-elusive “insights” that we seek as qualitative researchers, is an interesting couple of paragraphs related to the importance of “unlearning.”  I’ve copied those paragraphs below and hope they will stimulate your thinking.  To see hte entire article, go to:

Kathy Sierra in her blog Creating Passionate Users discusses unlearning.

“Yes, we’re under pressure to learn more and to learn quickly, but the future goes to those who can unlearn faster than the rest, because you can’t always learn something new until you first let go of something else. And learning to let go of rules is one of the first things we (and our managers) have to learn to be quicker at.

Sometimes that means letting go of something that served you well for a long time.”

Qualitative Research is changing, as we work through how we engage people in a more “authentic” way. The recession means we literally cannot afford to do what we have done in the past. We will need to “unlearn” both how we construct methodologies as well as how we analyse and interpret meaning. And maybe there are other things we have to unlearn as well?

Tropicana: Up-to-date isn’t always better

Like “New Coke,” Tropicana recently made a serious packaging boo boo by “updating” their carton and sacrificing their brand identifiers.  Unfortunately, the carton looked more modern but also lost all the brand identity loyal Tropicana users needed to quickly pick out their favorite juice.  This article comes from designer Patrick Algrin who has a blog (  It is a quick overview of the impact from a consumer’s and researcher’s perspective

Tropicana’s branding revert, proving the power of focus groups

Feb 26, 2009

Tropicana reverts branding change

Tropicana’s original package design next to the new package design that was eventually taken off shelves

The environment of which your focus group takes place is just as important as the actual product you are testing

It’s old news by now, that Tropicana reverted back to their old packaging. But if you have been out of the loop for a couple of days or weeks, well then here is the down-low. Tropicana decided it was time for a change, and decided it would be best to push towards a clean package design and identity for the very well known orange juice. After much disappointment and customers calling the new packaging “generic,” Tropicana quickly reverted back to the old package design before losing any more sales.

Read More…

Up Brands in a Down Economy

Amongst all the bad earnings reports and economic news that leaves us quaking is a truism that is being played out by General Mills:  supporting strong brands pays off, even in weak econonomies.  For the entire article click on

General Mills Thrives on Increased Marketing Spending

Boosting TV Ads Hiked Cereal Sales, But Digital ROI Even Higher

Published: February 17, 2009

BOCA RATON, Fla. ( — General Mills, one of the package-food industry’s top performers, laid out a number of recent marketing successes at the Consumer Analysts Group of New York conference this morning, and offered a preview of the rest of its fiscal year.

The company has staunchly supported consumer-marketing spending increases — 19% in the first half of fiscal 2009, which began in June — while competitors, including Kellogg and Kraft, have begun to scale back on the heady marketing outlays of 2008, instead preaching bundling and greater return on investment. General Mills estimates that its consumer-marketing spending will be up by “double digits” for the full fiscal year.


General Mills’ sales have responded well to increased marketing support as consumers are eating more at home. Sales grew 11% in the first half of fiscal 2009, to $7.5 billion. The company has raised guidance with each of the first two quarters. General Mills is doing so well that analysts had been expecting the company to raise its earnings guidance again this morning.



1 2 3 4  Scroll to top