Case Studies by Project Type

Provided below are some very brief case studies that display the wide range of research topics upon which our studies have focused. The case studies below are grouped together by the type of project.
Advertising, Branding and Positioning Case Studies
  • Conducted a two-phase study to assist an advertising agency in developing an effective branding campaign for a client college. Phase One consisted of nine focus groups with students, alumni, lost leads and target employers. Phase Two consisted of a telephone survey with lost leads and prospects.
  • Conducted many qualitative and quantitative studies for a grocery store chain that addressed such issues as: reactions to new prototype store designs; reactions to store brands and high-end store brand packaging; reactions to alternative pricing strategies; reactions to alternative tag lines; and reactions to TV advertising creative.
  • Conducted focus groups and surveys to assist our client in developing an effective communications campaign to convert oil heat customers to gas.
  • Conducted a series of 13 focus groups to assist a bank in developing a new strategic plan for attracting new and retaining existing customers. Focus groups were held across regions, consumers and businesses, and with customers and non-customers.
  • Conducted qualitative and quantitative research projects for an independent TV station to assist them in making effective programming decisions and developing an effective positioning strategy around its programming.
  • Conducted focus groups with employers, employees, consumers, seniors, physicians, and brokers to assist an advertising agency in developing new and effective branding and positioning strategies for a health care plan.
  • Conducted a study for a secondary school to assist the school board in deciding whether it should change the name of the school. The study included surveys with: the school community (students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni); parents of prospective students; college and university admissions counselors; and key placement agencies for teachers.
  • Retained by an advertising agency and the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health to conduct a qualitative research project to assist in developing a campaign to encourage middle school teens to abstain from having sex. Focus groups were conducted with middle school students, middle school student parents, middle school teachers, and youth workers.
  • Conducted group interviews with DIY consumers who shop at national home improvement stores to assist a manufacturer in developing effective merchandising displays to be used in national “big box” home improvement stores. Specifically, consumers were shown and asked questions regarding full size mock merchandising displays.
  • Consumer and business focus groups to explore state residents’: (1) concern with energy conservation and energy efficiency; (2) awareness of the state’s authorization of the new energy efficiency utility, and feelings about this approach; (3) reactions to alternative names, slogans, and graphics being considered for the new energy efficiency utility; and (4) preferences for ways to be informed about this new entity.
  • Conducted a series of consumer focus groups across primary and secondary regions to explore target market reactions to alternative creative for a hospital advertising campaign.
  • Conducted a series of in-depth interviews (IDIs) to explore reactions to three alternative creative expressions that could be used in a financial services company marketing communications campaign. Each participant looked at three mock capability brochures with headlines and graphics.
  • Conducted consumer focus groups to assist an advertising agency in developing a new marketing communications campaign for a major utility company. The focus groups resulted in a new tagline.
    Conducted a series of focus groups to explore the effectiveness of a bank’s intended commercials for: capturing consumer attention, communicating the intended message, and motivating consumers.
  • Conducted a variety of research projects for a private college to assist the college in its efforts to increase applications and improve its yield. Phase One included a survey of primary and secondary market high school students, student parents, and guidance counselors. Phase Two included several focus groups with freshmen at the client college, and Phase Three included a survey of the college’s freshmen.
  • Conducted IDIs with customers and prospects to assist an advertising agency in developing a positioning strategy and creative execution for an insurance company.
  • Conducted employer and consumer focus groups to assist an advertising agency in developing positioning for its health plan client. The focus groups included questions to explore reactions to eight possible positioning statements.
  • Conducted several consumer telephone surveys for hospitals to determine the importance of different factors in assessing the desirability of a hospital and reactions to possible positioning directions.
    Conducted numerous qualitative and quantitative studies to assist advertising agencies and utility companies in developing effective marketing communications programs and positioning strategies for energy efficient products and services.
  • Conducted telephone surveys in the United States, Europe, and Asia with target market companies to determine the key criteria impacting supplier selection and reactions to alternative brand promises developed by the client’s advertising agency for their credibility and impact.
  • Conducted a series of eight focus groups with key corporate decision-makers to assist a copier manufacturer and its advertising agency in naming a new product line and developing a marketing communications program to support the product line.
  • Conducted focus groups and surveys with Employee Benefits Managers to explore their reactions to alternative health plan positioning strategies.
Brand Awareness and Image Case Studies
  • Conducted a survey for a private university with their alumni, students, faculty, and staff; applicant non-enrollees; and the local business community. The goal of the study was to determine how various constituencies viewed the university and how that compared to its major local competitors.
  • Conducted a national online survey with 1,500 consumers across ten target market regions to determine target consumers’: brand awareness levels, key criteria for selecting an insurance company, insurance company “consideration set,” and perception of the client and its major competitors.
  • Conducted quantitative telephone surveys to determine the target market consumers’: unaided and aided awareness of the client health care plan and its competitors, perceptions of the client health care plan and its major competitor brands, satisfaction levels with their current health care plan, most desired brand attributes, and their preferred health care plan and reasons behind their preference.
  • Conducted a national telephone survey with 4,000 consumers across 16 target market regions to determine pre-campaign brand awareness and image.
  • Conducted brand awareness and image telephone surveys for many banks and credit unions, including having conducted this type of study for one client for 12 straight years.
  • Conducted a national online survey of target market consumers to serve as a benchmark for tracking changes in an insurance company’s brand awareness.
  • Conducted a quantitative telephone survey for a health care plan to determine target market unaided and aided awareness and perceptions of the client health care plan and its major competitor brands.
  • Conducted several consumer telephone surveys for hospitals to determine: top-of-mind hospital awareness, their overall image of our client and its major competitors, and specific impressions of local hospitals.
  • Conducted telephone surveys in the United States, Europe, and Asia with target market companies to determine their overall image and specific impressions of a manufacturing company and its key competitors.
  • Conducted a target market telephone survey for a state university to determine the perceptions of target market high school students, parents of prospective students, and the general market.
Consumer Behavior and Needs Case Studies
  • Conducted focus group research for an advertising agency and network affiliate TV station that explored target market viewers’: news sources, main reasons for watching the evening news, evening news station selection and loyalty, and perceptions of strengths and weaknesses of the client TV stations’ evening newscasts.
  • Conducted focus groups for a retail women’s clothing chain to explore target market consumers’ purchasing behaviors, criteria for store selection, use of competitor stores, impressions of the client’s stores, and suggestions for enhancement.
  • Conducted multi-region focus groups to assist a national broadcast network in developing and refining TV programming to meet the needs of the TV shows’ target market viewers. For each show, the focus groups were used to explore: current viewing practices, interest in specific content and production elements for the specified show, suggestions for ways to make the current program more interesting, and ideas for new programming.
  • Retained by a major daily newspaper and its advertising agency to provide information that would assist them in understanding the needs of the newspaper readers and developing strategies to increase readership. The project included focus groups with loyal readers, medium readers and light readers to explore such issues as: reasons for relying or not relying on a newspaper as their primary news source, what readers want in a newspaper, perceptions of the client newspaper and recent changes made to the newspaper, ideas for new sections that could be included, reactions to other newspapers’ “front page”, and reactions to prototypes for new weekly sections. Phase Two of the study included a survey of 600 readers of the newspaper on such issues as: reliance on newspapers, loyalty to the newspaper, interest in specific topics, overall impression of the client’s newspaper, and level of readership.
  • Conducted a two-phase research project to assist a major national retail chain redesign its stores to better meet target market needs. Phase One of the project included several 4 hour qualitative research sessions where the moderator: (a) held an initial focus group session on current purchasing and shopping practices; (b) took participants to the client and competitor stores where they were asked to find specific products as well as walk through the store to experience its overall look and feel; and (c) conducted a post-visit focus group session to explore participants’ experiences, perceptions, and suggestions. Phase Two included taking participants to one of the client’s existing stores, a competitor store, and the client’s prototype for a new store design, followed by a focus group to explore participants’ experiences and perceptions.
  • Conducted focus groups to explore the impact of the current economy on consumer spending, saving and investing practices; and assist the client bank in developing products and communications to address consumers’ changing needs.
  • Conducted 1,600 store intercept surveys across 20 stores for a discount retail chain to determine the major factors in the decisions of footwear department “lost leads” to not make a purchase in the footwear department.
Customer and Member Satisfaction Case Studies
  • Conducted consumer and business bank customer satisfaction studies to determine satisfaction and loyalty levels and to contrast customers’ assessments of our clients with key competitor customers’ assessment of their banks.
  • Spectrum Associates conducts a member satisfaction study for a state REALTOR® association every three years that includes both qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (telephone/online) research to determine association members’ experiences, needs, challenges, satisfaction levels, and suggestions.
  • Retained by a state bar association to conduct member/lapsed member satisfaction research every four years to assist the association in making important member services and communications decisions.
  • Conducted a series of seven student focus groups to assist a university in gaining insights into students’ experiences across a variety of academic disciplines.
  • Conducted focus group projects to help utility companies manage customer relationships with small, medium and large commercial and industrial customers.
  • Conducted telephone surveys on an ongoing basis with consumers who had recently contacted a utility company call center to measure their satisfaction with their call center experiences, and determine satisfaction levels with individual customer service reps.
Employee Satisfaction Case Studies
  • Conducted an annual employee survey at multiple call centers to determine employee perceptions of each call center’s: teamwork, internal communications, management and supervision, performance management, compensation and benefits, hiring, developing and retaining staff, operations, and environment and culture. In addition, Spectrum Associates presented findings to employees and facilitated action planning meetings to assist the call center management in addressing employee concerns.
  • Conducted an annual online employee survey for a bank with specified corporate departments to obtain employee feedback about the company overall, and to explore employee concerns and suggestions in critical areas.
Juvenile and Criminal Justice Case Studies
  • Received a grant from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to serve as the Research Partner to the U.S. Attorney District of Connecticut in an effort to reduce gun violence in New Haven, Connecticut. The Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI) was a DOJ pilot project that emphasized: partnerships, knowledge-driven decision-making, and ongoing strategic assessments. The project was spearheaded by U.S. Attorneys and was implemented in five cities–Indianapolis, IN; Memphis, TN; New Haven, CT; Portland, OR; and Winston-Salem, NC. Spectrum Associates was the only private research firm participating in the project, as all other U.S. Attorneys selected universities to serve as their research partner.
  • Policy Research Associates received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a cross-training curriculum to assist local communities in providing essential services to adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders who were also in contact with the criminal justice system. Eleven cities across the country received cross-training of practitioners in the mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice systems. Spectrum Associates was retained to conduct post-training focus groups in each city to explore participants’: perceptions of the content covered during the training, perceptions of the cross-training process, perceived importance of and key traits associated with trainer personality and style, perceptions of the impact of the cross-training program, and recommendations for improving the cross-training program in the future.
  • Three times since 1991, Spectrum Associates received grants from the State of Connecticut Office of Policy & Management to conduct a comprehensive study to assess disproportionate minority contact in the state’s juvenile justice system and to determine if, where and why disparities occur in the system’s processing of minority youth. These comprehensive studies have included: extensive analysis of police, juvenile court and Department of Children and Family data; a survey with system practitioners; in-depth interviews with juvenile offenders; and forums held across the state to both present key findings to system practitioners and gather their reactions to the findings, as well as their ideas on how to address the issues identified by the studies.
  • Retained by the Rhode Island Justice Commission to conduct an Assessment of Disproportionate Minority Contact in Rhode Island’s Juvenile Justice System. The study included both qualitative and quantitative phases. For the quantitative phase, data were obtained from the 38 municipal police departments for all arrests in the study year as well as from family court and the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Findings from the study were presented to many agencies/organizations across the state and the report was used as a resource for agencies tasked with identifying strategies to address the disparities that were identified in the study.
  • Selected by Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee to examine the impact of the state’s 1995 legislation on the transfer of juvenile delinquents to the state’s adult court system. The qualitative phase of the study comprised of in-depth interviews with 58 juvenile and adult court judges, prosecutors and public defenders from across the state to gather input on: how they view the transfer process; how they make decisions regarding transfers; and what changes, if any, they’d like to see made to the transfer legislation. The quantitative phase examined data from juvenile and adult court as well as the Department of Children and Families and Department of Corrections to enable determine: the frequency with which juveniles are transferred to adult court; how often transferred juveniles are sent back to juvenile court; a description of who is/is not transferred to adult court (demographic characteristics, prior court history, offense attributes); and the dispositions and sanctions imposed by the adult court on transferred juveniles and how that compares to similar juveniles handled by the juvenile court.
Product Concept and Development Case Studies
  • Conducted focus groups to assess the feasibility of and opportunities for enhancing a specific energy conservation program targeted at seniors and financial hardship residents.
  • Conducted focus groups with consumers with chronic medical conditions to explore consumers’ reactions to several new health care programs being considered by the client for this specific population.
  • Helped a state lottery determine whether it should launch a new lottery game by: (a) surveying target market consumers on their interest in the new game and their stated expectations regarding rates of participation, purchases, and impacts on playing other lottery games; (b) assessing other jurisdictions’ experiences with a comparable game; and (c) applying sales forecasting models to the research findings to develop projections.
  • Conducted multiple qualitative research projects (focus groups and IDIs) with risk managers to explore reactions to new insurance and Workers Comp products being considered by a major insurance company.
  • Conducted a qualitative research project to assist a major insurance company determine the feasibility of offering a new property & casualty insurance product. Specifically, telephone IDIs were conducted with three market segments critical to the success of this product: insurer field personnel, independent insurance agents working with target market agents and contractors, and target market end-customers.
  • Conducted qualitative and quantitative research with cancer patients to assist a hospital in enhancing and expanding services provided to cancer patients.
  • Conducted a series of focus groups for a major manufacturer to explore office managers’ reactions to a new office product being developed by the client.
  • Conducted focus groups with a mix of designers (architects, consulting engineers, lighting designers) and end-customers (building developers, property managers) responsible for a lighting control system to explore reactions to a new system designed to reduce energy consumption, increase occupant satisfaction and improve building management. In addition, the focus groups were observed by manufacturers, and Spectrum Associates facilitated focus groups with the manufacturers after they had the opportunity to observe target market’s reactions to the new lighting system.
  • Conducted a series of focus groups to explore interest in a system designed to reduce consumer and corporate air conditioning demand during peak times.
  • Conducted a national study that included 400 mall-intercept consumer interviews and 20 in-person IDIs with showroom managers to assist a manufacturing company in developing, marketing, and pricing a new product.
Trademark/Likelihood of Confusion Case Studies
Spectrum Associates has conducted many quantitative research projects across the United States to assist law firms and expert witnesses in preparing for Trademark and Trade Dress cases. These studies have included Likelihood of Confusion and Secondary Meaning research projects. Spectrum Associates has conducted these projects across many industries (e.g., technology, health & beauty, food & beverage, and women’s accessories), and using a variety of research methodologies (i.e., mall intercepts, store intercepts, and online panel surveys).
Website Development Case Studies
  • Retained by a major daily newspaper to conduct a survey of state residents prior to the newspaper’s launching a statewide marketing campaign designed to promote consumer awareness and use of its website. The objectives of the survey were to obtain baseline data on website awareness and market share, as well as detailed data on state residents’ internet practices. In addition, Spectrum Associates was retained to conduct focus groups with heavy and moderate users of the website to explore their reactions to the website’s functionality and content, and to identify ways to improve the website.
  • Conducted a two-phase study to assist a professional association in redesigning its website. Phase One included member focus groups in four locations and had participants use the website at the focus group. The focus groups were used to explore such issues as members’: perceptions of what makes for an easy to use website, experiences with other industry websites, desired content for the client’s website, reactions to the client’s website, and suggestions for ways to improve the website. Phase Two consisted of a survey of state residents to assist the association in deciding whether its website should include content targeted at consumers as well as association members and, if so, what content should be provided.
  • Conducted a three-phase study to assist a professional association in redesigning its website. Phase One included in-depth interviews with the association’s Task Force to elicit their perceptions of and suggestions for the association’s website. Phase Two included member focus groups and had participants use the website at the focus group. Phase Three consisted of an online survey with association members to obtain statistically projectable data on member use of, experiences with, and preferences for the association’s website.
  • Conducted focus groups for a company that operated websites for over 100 radio stations. The focus groups were held with listeners of specific radio formats (i.e., Rock, Oldies and Country) to explore their reactions to websites developed for these target markets. Focus group participants had the opportunity to use and explore the website designed for their format. The groups explored participants’: reactions to functionality and navigation design; reactions to the website’s overall look and feel; preferences for content; and suggestions for ways to improve the design, functionality, and content of the website.