A global corporation uses a distinctive advertising technique that requires substantial production time. It recently had three high potential ad concepts, the budget to produce one, and no time to conduct quantitative concept testing before production commenced. A3 Research scrambled to conduct focus groups among target consumer segments, using the storyboards. The last group concluded at 10 p.m., and thanks to A3 Research’s efforts, the client team had the topline report and recommendations in hand for the 6 a.m. decision meeting the following morning. Consumer preferences swung the team’s decision and the resulting ad continues to outperform earlier efforts.
A high-end research supplier conducted an in-depth quantitative study among Moms. Even after extensive analysis, the client wanted more. The supplier, team, however, was over-extended and burned out, so they contracted with A3 Research to complete the additional analyses. Bringing fresh eyes to the data, and producing succinct, insightful summaries, A3 Research was able to complete the initiative, delighting both research teams, who said: “You truly helped us out of a tough spot. You delivered such high-quality work, and for such a challenging analytic task!”
A3 Research conducted complementary quantitative studies among financial advisors and a specific type of investor to determine opportunities for the advisors to better understand and serve investors’ needs. Results show advisors and investors are aligned in some areas, and that advisors previously misunderstood these investors in other areas. Results were used to inform and educate advisors, enabling them to be more empathetic, knowledgeable and focused on these investors’ needs and desires.
Facing stagnant sales and lacking a prospect database, a B2B equipment manufacturer retained A3 Research to determine best practices by conducting in-depth-interviews among the sales force, management and support teams. A3 Research then collected, merged and duplicated all available databases, and added applicable prospects for each territory. A3 Research also created a contact hierarchy based on internal and market strengths to ensure prospects with the greatest potential receive the most frequent contact. The new databases have been added to a centralized CRM system, providing years' worth of new prospects and giving management visibility to its sales team's efforts.
An international firm was considering major changes to Health & Wellness offers for its headquarters employees. It needed to measure its baseline awareness and usage, and wished to use employee feedback to prioritize potential additions. A3 Research designed and implemented a turnkey online approach with quick turnaround and low costs. Employee preferences were clear, enabling the company to focus on the most popular initiatives. In addition, the sponsoring research director received kudos from upper management for quickly securing clear, valuable feedback from fellow employees.
A premium tire manufacturer needed to test the validity of its engineering tolerances in real-world driving situations with real-world drivers, in order to see what levels of noise and comfort were perceptible, tolerable and preferred among target consumers. A3 Research created a blind test and control research design using matched vehicles to test a variety of tire features in specific driving conditions. Drivers completed brief questionnaires after driving each pair of vehicles through pre-determined courses and conditions on a test track. Results helped determine performance specifications for the resulting tire lines.
A regional entertainment complex wished to conduct ongoing, in-person guest satisfaction studies to monitor and improve guest satisfaction over time. Management approached a mid-sized research supplier with which it had prior experience to conduct the work. Unable to meet the client’s budget constraints, the original firm referred the client to A3 Research. Despite being located 1,000 miles away, A3 Research was able to meet the desired measurement objectives -- including monthly and quarterly reporting for two venues – within budget. The guest satisfaction program identified issues that led to upgrading TVs in the sports bar, improving menu offers, optimizing the advertising plan – and even outlasted the initiating manager’s tenure by a year.
A dominant utility planned a mail-based informational campaign to raise awareness and use of safety procedures among businesses and individuals who were responsible for multiple utility lines. A3 Research conducted in-depth phone interviews among targeted mailer recipients to “disaster-check” the information and to identify opportunities for strengthening the message and/or mode of information. As a result, information presented in the mailers was streamlined to focus on the most important messages. Respondents also provided great ideas for additional places to post the information (e.g. places they tend to wait in line), ways to preserve the mailers for safe-keeping at job-sites, and even how to reduce printing costs.
The B2B division of a consumer products conglomerate wished to grow its industrial supplies market share and profitability by developing innovative products that eliminate obstacles in key automotive process areas. Partnering with a sophisticated research supplier which managed the research design and field, A3 Research analyzed the results of a large qualitative initiative conducted among automotive employees in the US, Europe and Asia. Results identified short- and longer-term opportunities to reduce incidence and costs from injuries, product defects and more.
An acclaimed travel guide publisher sought to evaluate and prioritize potential new product offers, and to better understand leisure travelers’ planning process, timing and tools. The publisher had some behavioral information, but lacked insight regarding the language these consumers use. A3 Research pre-screened social medial followers and invited a select few to participate in an online qualitative discussion board. Results helped prioritize which new product ideas should be further developed, and also offered new destinations, topics and formats travelers would like to see from the publisher.
A specialty tire brand needed to understand the risks and potential rewards of selecting a particular name for a relatively rare, but high profile (and profitable) tire line. The brand had anecdotal evidence for and against the top contenders, but also needed input from influential users. A3 Research conducted online focus groups among pre-screened users, whose animated discussions (paired with confidential in-group polling) helped make a tough choice much easier.
Administrators for a private Montessori school saw evidence that a longer school year paired with non-traditional breaks would be more conducive to student learning and knowledge retention. However, a few parents loudly protested changing the calendar and the accompanying tuition increase, making school administrators uncomfortable with the potential risk. A3 Research conducted a pro bono quantitative online study among families and staff to evaluate preferences and to determine the risk posed by each potential path. It found a large majority of families and staff favored the new, non-traditional calendar and would absorb the tuition increase. It also found the risk of non-re-enrollment due to the change was extremely low. The school adopted the new calendar and experienced results that mirrored those predicted by the study.
A well-known furniture brand uses a fleet of branded delivery trucks and needed to update and optimize on-truck branding to maximize recognition, appeal and consideration. The brand needed exposure to a broad audience, but had limited research resources. A3 Research used an omnibus study to test the potential truck designs among a representative sample of US consumers. A single design emerged as the clear winner and was installed throughout the fleet.
A sizeable US durables manufacturer considered expanding to the UK and Northern Ireland, but first needed to determine its baseline category usage and brand awareness. A3 Research created online studies to address these needs, including enlisting native speakers to check questionnaire wording prior to field. The study revealed several other brands were already entrenched in these markets, while the sponsoring firm had low awareness, but no negative impressions to overcome. With a better understanding of the significant headwinds it faced, the firm elected to invest its limited resources elsewhere.
A global research supplier fielded complex studies about tool usage among manual laborers in selected Asian countries, but lacked adequate staff to analyze the results. A3 Research was able to complete the analysis, enabling the client teams to better understand each country’s competitive landscape, how worker needs and preferences differed from those of other markets, and how to adjust its marketing and product plans to achieve success in these markets.
An automotive parts manufacturer created a product that offers a major technological breakthrough. Lab results were promising, but the manufacturer also desired real-world results prior to launch. A3 Research designed comprehensive research and worked directly with the manufacturer and its distribution partner to secure qualified participation and monitor owner perceptions and usage throughout the life of the product -- including two years before and two years after the official launch. Results were even better than the lab suggested, and the product is now a top-seller for the manufacturer.
A notable retailer wished to grow its gift card business, and undertook a comprehensive quantitative study to learn: consumer awareness and use of the retailer’s and competitor gift cards; perceptions of appropriate/ inappropriate gift card occasions from the perspectives of gift card purchasers and recipients; interest in potential new gift card features; and characteristics of gift card users/ non-users.
A3 Research analyzed results and consulted with the gift card team to optimize the group’s strategy, as well as near-term and longer-term tactics for achieving the strategy.
A Satisfying Dining Experience
The research team for a large family dining chain inherited a huge guest satisfaction system (50,000 responses/ week), which was selected by upper management, then turned over to the research team for analysis and monitoring. Already overextended, the team needed to learn how to extract useful and timely information from the system, as well as to monitor usage across restaurant units and groups. A3 Research worked directly with the system provider to learn system capabilities and constraints, then conducted initial analyses and set up a reporting system the small internal team could implement moving forward.
(Occasionally, initiatives we don't do are as useful to know as those we do.)
An ad agency approached A3 Research to bail them out after their head of research abruptly left – after designing but not implementing a time-consuming, yet budget-constrained qualitative initiative intended to optimize a client’s web site. A3 Research worked with the remaining agency research staff to re-think and re-prioritize the research design. The result was a smaller-scale study that achieved the objectives at a much lower cost than originally budgeted. This enabled the agency to complete the work itself, rather than hiring it out. By collaborating with the agency, A3 Research favorably impacted results -- even without generating revenue for itself.
A long-time publishing client approached A3 Research to design a consumer study intended to generate publicity. A3 Research created a research design within budget that the client liked very much. However, the client later decided that working with a widely-known research firm might secure more publicity – even though the costs were substantially higher and the sample size and overall research design were less robust. The client apologetically went with the name-brand research company instead of A3 Research. The results briefly garnered publicity – for the research firm, rather than the client company – and the client company returned to A3 Research for all of its external research needs.