Distilling a Broader View and of How Individuals Make Choices
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Distilling a Broader View and of How Individuals Make Choices

May 1, 2013

What we know is the psychology and science of decision-making – and there are vast elements of that knowledge and experience that transcend industries and categorical definitions. We fundamentally believe that understanding the emotional underpinnings of why someone buys life insurance is informative and valuable in grasping why someone elects to travel on a particular airline.

There are a lot of market research firms that are industry specific – they know the automotive industry inside and out, or pharma, but not much else.  Others will tell you they “only” do business to business – or that they “know” voters or donors.

What we know is the psychology and science of decision-making – and there are vast elements of that knowledge and experience that transcend industries and categorical definitions.  We fundamentally believe that understanding the emotional underpinnings of why someone buys life insurance is informative and valuable in grasping why someone elects to travel on a particular airline.

Our holistic approach to consumer behaviors intentionally blends the talents and experience of the staff on each account; precisely so that your analytical work isn’t being done by someone whose knowledge base is derived strictly through the vacuum of your industry.

What you’ll find in this section is our experience across the traditional categories of consumer research; what you’ll garner from our work and our approach are the tactics and knowledge base we’ve gained from a broader view and understanding of how individuals make choices and draw conclusions.

Public Opinion: It informs every decision we help you make

No matter what your business challenges may be, you will want to ensure that solutions are fashioned with a creative eye hip to the changing mores of the American public. Public opinion is a powerful, fluid, and often unpredictable force… if you fail to keep abreast of it. But if you observe it, study it, respect it, and come to understand it, public opinion becomes another valuable resource with which to design your communications.

When you partner with Kelton, you’re aligning yourself with a powerhouse of institutional, current and comprehensive understanding of public opinion.

At Kelton, we assess public opinion each and every day. We are in the field, on the street, online, or on the phone each day talking with Americans of every demographic and psychographic stripe. So before we’ve even designed your research study – whether it’s qualitative or quantitative – rest assured that your challenges are always observed first through the critical lens of public opinion.

Associations & Non-Profits: streamlining communications, maximizing impact, and augmenting efficiencies

Profit margins, market share, and stock price are not the sole determinants of success. In fact, if your job is to ensure the smooth operation of an advocacy Association or a Non-Profit, you probably quantify your success with measurements like “member satisfaction,” “earned media hits,” and “donor return and retention.”  Your dues-paying members are your “shareholders” and if you wish to stay “in business” you ignore them at your peril.

Membership assessments. Messaging studies (internal and external audiences). Advertising audits. Outreach initiatives. Goal hierarchies. Media training. Public opinion. Earned media. Forecasting. These are just a few areas of Kelton’s expertise in this realm.

Our related client roster includes non-profit charities, NGO’s and public agencies. But perhaps our proudest example of this type of work would be our extensive efforts on behalf of The United Way and many other members of the Leadership 18 following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Following the destruction concentrated in the Gulf Coast States, United Way of America and other members of the Leadership 18 (including the Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and more), were desperate to learn how best to allocate their resources, prioritize their emergency response efforts, and expand their dialogue with displaced individuals and families. They turned to Kelton for help.

Our “Listening Initiative for Gulf Coast Communities” entailed a broad, complex and exhaustive methodology that incorporated three distinct research phases.  Over just 14 days, we were able to conduct in-depth and in-person interviews with more than 1000 residents (including displaced persons, community leaders, small and family business owners and charity heads) of the nine most severely impacted communities.  Our detailed report and presentation had a tangible impact on policy-making, message dissemination, and resource allocation for those who remain on the frontlines of this disaster.

Not insignificantly, our report was used to secure additional funds from Congress.

Business-to-Business: helping our clients communicate more effectively with theirs

The B2B research space is often defined by its unique challenges and sensitivities, and as a result, few market research firms are eager to compete in this realm. But one of Kelton’s foundational philosophies is to transform obstacles into opportunities, so we’ve pioneered several specific methodologies that had previously only been used in consumer research and morphed them into valuable B2B research tools.

Kelton’s extensive experience conducting in-depth membership studies to examine clients’ customer bases and understand their needs and usage habits has earned the loyalty of clients including MetLife, Omnicare, ARAMARK, Microsoft, R.H. Donnelly, the Surplus Line Association of California (SLA), and the National Education Association.  Over the course of hundreds of studies, we’ve developed customized member assessment methodologies to go deeper than traditional approaches and produce a full-fledged strategic read on attitudes, performance, needs, and recommendations for growing member satisfaction. In fact, clients often come to us with membership studies conducted by other firms and ask us to evolve their research by applying the Kelton approach.

Avaya, Irwin Tools, American Express and AT&T were also drawn to Kelton because of our extensive focus and track record in B2B research. These companies and others continually call on Kelton because they know we effectively deliver accurate, compelling and actionable insights.

Kelton’s three main practice areas in the B2B arena are Member / Employee satisfaction, Internal Needs Research, and Communication and Corporate Response for employees, boards and executive committees.

Consumer Brands 

Interested in getting smarter about your current and potential consumers? Do you wish to identify fertile opportunities in the marketplace?  What about acquiring a precise scientific understanding of your brand’s perception among both customers and non-customers? In other words, would you benefit from a detailed illustration of how consumers view your brand today before you begin positioning it for tomorrow? If so, let Kelton help determine your best avenues for advertising, promotion and partnerships, as well as a strategy for impacting and augmenting your brand’s image.

We have done it for brands as diverse as mike’s hard lemonade, American Express, Lexus, Taco Bell, Embassy Suites, and Continental Airlines.

This qualitative and quantitative approach will provide you with:

  • A demographic and psychographic profile of your potential consumer to help you understand who is a likely target consumer for your products. It will detail both simple demographic facts like age, race and region, as well as in-depth lifestyle information such as interests, hobbies, brand affinities, and shopping habits.
  • A Brand Equity Outline that will explain where your brand fits within its competitive set and which brands are strong – and weak – in the eyes of consumers. It will also detail segmenting specific attributes from quality to price to image, and anything else consumers may perceive – rightly or wrongly – about the category’s key brands.
  • Details about the attitudes that drive purchase in your category and what brand equities lead to purchase. What are each key product’s competitive advantages and disadvantages? What brands do consumers consider and what causes them to choose one over another?
  • How, what, where, when and why people shop for your particular product category and where opportunities exist to insert your brand. How do customers currently consume/utilize your brand? And what are consumers’ future expectations for your brand, and the category in general?
  • A Media Consumption Study that outlines where your consumer is finding information.

Specific feedback on products, ads, promotions, retailers, or any other information you provide us that may be valuable to you, your distribution partners and your retailers.



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