Archive for December, 2014

Move Over Stuart Weitzman: How a Shoe’s Story Can Benefit Your Brand

Posted on: December 29th, 2014 by doyle

From the desk of Christine Efken

For years, I have proclaimed that the only thing worse than a bad hair day is a bad shoe day. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are many days when the shoes I wear simply provide utility, covering my feet so that when I step on less-than-ideal surfaces (you know the really mushy, sticky or gravelly ones), I am none the wiser. Yet, there are also many days when a shoe can transform my attitude from the dingy housekeeper to the fabulous Cinderella in the mere 5-seconds it takes to slide on that magical slipper.

The right shoe provides one with protection, comfort and confidence. Yes, these happen to be the same emotions that my mom provided to me when I was a child. But shoes provide so much more than just this properties. I challenge you to think about the shoes you are wearing right now, and ponder what they are doing for you. What’s the emotional-end benefit you are getting—or perhaps not getting from your shoes at this moment in time?

To this end, I’ve taken this obsession and found that shoes make for ideal projective or ideation exercises to help get below the surface and find additional insights across a variety of categories.

Whether conducting an in-person or online group discussion, consider having participants ponder…

  • rubyslippersIf the product or service was a shoe, what type of shoe would it be—construction boot, flip flop, slipper, athlete’s cleats, baby’s bootie, loafer, stiletto, etc. Why? What are the images, associations, beneficial properties of each?
  • After reviewing an array of shoes and boots, what are the properties or features of each that could be applied to the business situation at hand—Could your customer service challenges benefit from added warmth (from a fuzzy slipper), more rigid policies (from the rubber gripped soles of construction boots), or should it stand taller or out perform others in your industry (thank you stilettos and marathoner’s running shoes)?
  • Or, how about a little shoe deprivation study?   To more fully understand your busy mom or working-woman-consumer segment, what if you were to deprive these women of their favorite shoes for an extended period of time? What happens? How is her mood, confidence, self image and self esteem impacted? What does she now use to fulfill that need?   How could your product do the same for her?

Stuart Weitzman’s brand statement is “Mildly obsessed with shoes.”   And while I have never conducted research for this brand, I do believe that I share it’s spirit, am perhaps even more than mildly obsessed,  and believe that every shoe has a story that can benefit a brand regardless of the category.

‘Twas the Night Before a Focus Group

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidt

Buoyant with the spirit of the holidays, we’d like to share a melodic story with you to acknowledge the many behind-the-scenes partners who help us create first class experiences for our research participants and our clients.

‘Twas the night before the school play and all through the house

There was chaos, a lost backpack, burned spaghetti with sauce.

Mom received a text invite from a polite young man

Recruiting participants for a discussion, that was the plan.


The survey was brief, she liked the fair honorarium.

So she said yes, she had product uses she’d like to share with him!

The mom mentioned meals, car choices, hygiene, and drinks

She loved that her voice matters! That we care what she thinks!


Her confirmation arrived, the group date was soon!

Then, she traveled a few miles to a cheery focus group room.

She was welcomed by a warm host, offered pizza and a smile,

Why, she hadn’t been treated so well in awhile!


Her Doyle moderator instantly felt a lot like a friend

The conversation was revealing, insightful, even emotional ‘til the end.

They looked at concepts, and packaging, and advertising for TV

The mom’s likes and dislikes were even captured on the big sheets!


Mom left with an envelope, a ‘thank you’ for her time

She then headed home to resume her busy life.

The transcriptions were made, the video edits compressed

The moderator wrote her report, her analytical skills put to the test.


The presentation was given, the clients excited by insights

Another research project performed seamlessly, because of the Doyle team’s foresight.

On project managers! On recruiters, and hosts, and technicians!

We at Doyle say THANK YOU to all for completing each mission!


Whether it’s focus groups, in-home ethnographies, video diaries, or shopalongs, it takes a village of best-in-class professionals to deliver meaningful insights and value for our clients. From our Doyle family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2015!