WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Anne Bailey Berman

Recent Posts

The Power of Kaleidoscope Thinking

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Mon, Jul 27, 2015

KaleidoscopeI can’t count the number of presentations and lectures I’ve attended throughout my professional career. While many have contained grains of useful insight, few have remained as relevant as one I attended by Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In that presentation, she argued that we should practice “kaleidoscope thinking.” I’ve always loved that idea—"look at all of your assets, move them around, and see if they create new opportunities." While Kanter was talking about marketing, I’d argue that today those of us in the information and insights business must practice this type of thinking more than ever.

To me, kaleidoscope thinking describes how we should approach information to reveal insights that are useful for our clients. Regardless of the volume and sources of information (e.g., characteristics, behaviors, beliefs, satisfaction, intention, and experiences), much of what we are trying to do is understand the patterns that will influence behaviors. In our information world, we call this analysis.

The sheer vastness of available data can be paralyzing or—worse—lead to catastrophic decision-making. We need to put the right information in our “kaleidoscopes” and view the data and decisions in different ways. By thoughtfully turning the barrel, we can see all the different decision paths until we uncover those that are best for increasing opportunity and decreasing risk. It is critical that we develop the skills to see and understand the most useful patterns and insights—not necessarily the solutions that first appear. This is what provides the most beautiful (read: useful) image in the kaleidoscope. 

Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and a collector of kaleidoscopes. This summer, she can be found lecturing on storytelling in the insights industry.  

Watch our recent webinar to hear the results of our self-funded Consumer Pulse study on the future of the mobile wallet. 

Watch Here!

Topics: business decisions, consumer insights

The Lessons of Market Basket and the Rewards of a Strong Company Culture

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Tue, Sep 09, 2014

market basket, cmb, employee satisfaction, company culture

Our readers who aren’t from New England might be surprised by the topic that dominated our news this summer. It wasn’t the state of the Middle East. It wasn’t even our upcoming gubernatorial race. No, the story that got the most space in the Boston Globe was a fight over ownership of a family-owned regional supermarket—Market Basket. A fight that closed dozens of stores and sent customers and employees into the streets to protest. 

market basket, cmb, company culture, employee satisfaction

The family drama between CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (“Artie T.”) and his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas is over now. “Artie T.” bought out his cousin, loyal customers are thrilled, striking workers are getting back to work, and the store shelves are being refilled. So if it’s all over, why is the Market Basket saga still on my mind? 

I shopped at Market Basket last Friday and immediately realized how much I missed it. The experience at Market Basket is truly different from shopping at the other stores I used during the shut-down. Employees were actually thanking us for coming in, and their gratitude seemed genuine. 

These employees across 71 Market Basket stores did the unthinkable by collectively refusing to work after the dismissal of their president. Yes, loyalty was involved—in fact, “Artie T.” knew their birthdays and attended their weddings—but their actions hold a deeper lesson for businesses everywhere. In a time when many businesses emphasize short term profits, and when stockholders are always more important than employees, this episode of family feud showed what employees valued and how powerful they could be. 

The employees were loyal to “Artie T.” Their risky and enduring work stoppage was motivated by Market Basket’s management’s understanding that employees are important players in the organization, which is demonstrated by their unusual decision to give employees middle class salaries instead of minimum wage. This strong company culture is reflected in the long tenure of many employees and in the customer experience.

As the gap between the haves and have-nots widen in the United States, this is an example of the power of treating employees well. For me, it was a reinforcement of the brand experience that I immediately recognized.  Many business leaders should appreciate this and ask themselves whether their employees would do the same for them if faced with the same situation. When it comes to CMB, I truly believe a large part of our success and the incredible value we bring to our clients is based on our company culture and our exceptional employees.

Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family, and spending time in her vegetable garden.

If you’d like to be a part of our team, check out our open positions

Topics: consumer insights, brand health and positioning

6 Questions with Allstate's Bob Pankauskas

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Wed, Aug 13, 2014

allstate, innovation, Bob Pankauskas  Allstate Insurance’s Director of Consumer Insights, Bob Pankauskas, sat down with CMB President Anne Bailey Berman to talk innovation, mobile, and what clients need to expect from market researchers.

Anne: Innovation isn’t a word people typically associate with insurance, yet the industry’s changed drastically in the past 5 years. How has that impacted you as a Market Researcher?

Bob: Innovation is a big part of what my team is charged with supporting. We’ve been doing a lot more exploration in terms of coming up with new products and services. This also means we need to broaden our toolkit with more exploratory and discovery work. For example, we’re rediscovering the world of ethnography to try and provide products and services for the future. We’ve done several ethnography projects, and we’re using new tools. We even had one of the ethnographies we did turned into a video that was used by the board of directors to showcase some interesting pain points consumers have with their cars. We’re also doing more and more concept testing and developing and exploring ideas.

Anne: So when you’re talking about innovation, you’re talking about two types of innovation. You’re talking about innovation for products and services for Allstate, but you’re also talking about the innovation of information tools in your bucket. How do you determine if the tools you’re using for innovation are really helping you more than traditional tools?

Bob: The thing we’re always searching for is that insight—that visceral reaction that consumers have. Consumers are behaving in a certain way. Why are they behaving that way? Anything that helps us get to a good insight is really useful, and a lot of the nontraditional ways seem to be more useful than the traditional quantitative approach. You have to work a little harder to get insights out of a quantitative approach, so using qualitative helps a great deal. Our CMO will say, “Great, what’s the consumer insight? What is the pain point?”  We need to focus on the problem we’re solving for the customer. It’s very easy to ask, but often we find we’re solving a problem for Allstate and not really solving the problem for consumers.  We work hard to address that.

Anne: What research challenges are keeping you up at night?

Bob: A really pressing topic of the day is the migration to mobile. It’s only a matter of time before we migrate all of our research platforms to mobile devices. We want our respondents to be able to choose when, how, and where they answer our questions. At this point, we do optimize our surveys for mobile. We pay a lot of attention to question length, simplifying response options, and usability. Our goal is to make our surveys engaging and rigorous.

Of course, trackers are a bigger challenge—it’s painful to live through that period when you say, “. . . and then we changed everything and our numbers are different.” But there are incremental opportunities that mobile provides—being in the moment, getting a real-time view of sponsored events, and just the ability to capture insights when customers are in the midst of an experience. We’re also really excited to utilize consumer-generated images to get more color and context from mobile cameras and not just words and numbers.  The shift is inevitable and the opportunities are there. We just need to be mindful of what we lose and what we gain as we make trade-offs in terms of trending.

Anne: What about target markets?

Bob: We’re trying to go after Millennials like everybody else. Everybody is chasing them, and it’s hard to crack the code. Going after a target means going after them well—understanding their motivators and having a product or service that is tailored to them. I think we have found how they liked to be talked to. They want to be treated with respect. They do want to research things online, but they still want to talk to somebody and touch base with them. It’s more about the “how” and less about the “what.”

Anne: What consumer insights get you most excited? Which tools?

Bob: It isn’t necessarily the tool that gives you the best insights. It’s creating receptivity and listening carefully. One of the most powerful insights we had at Allstate was the need for tangibility. Insurance is an intangible product or service. When you’re getting it, you really don’t know what you’re getting.

The thing is that we’re trying to solve the same problem again and again. So the issue is, how can you—as a smart marketer, researcher, or innovator—change your perspective just a little bit and look at the same thing you’ve been looking at for a long time and say, “Oh! Wow! Look at that! That’s new!” Now maybe it wasn’t new, but you changed your perspective and suddenly saw it. Many of the new techniques allow that change in perspective, and that’s pretty powerful.

Anne: And finally, what would you tell market research vendors about how they can best support the decisions you need to make?

Bob: Partner with your clients. Experiment as often as you can because you’ve got to make changes. You don’t put all your bets on the stuff, but you do have to test and learn. And then the second thing is TLDR—too long, didn’t read. It’s a great feeling to know there’s a 100 page deck of tables to support whatever the project is and that you’ve got your money’s worth. But that’s not at all what we pass on to our internal clients. We live in an ADD world. We’re all time starved, so we need to get to that 1 page summary. Tell me the 2 things I need to know—what’s your recommendation and how this is actionable? The ability to do that is what I’m looking for in a partner.

Check out our new case study to see how we helped a top 25 global bank develop a new value proposition and evaluate perceptions of various service channels and transactions.

DOWNLOAD CASE STUDY HERE

Topics: insurance research, mobile, consumer insights, millennials, Researchers in Residence, growth and innovation

Remembering Dr. John Martin

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Fri, Feb 14, 2014

Dear Friends,

Anne Bailey Berman and John Martin CMBIt is with an extremely heavy heart that I share that Chadwick Martin Bailey’s co-founder, leader, and my partner, John Martin passed away Thursday morning after a long illness, with his beloved wife by his side. While it’s difficult to put into words what a truly special man John was, I wanted to share briefly what he meant to me.John was a genius—a brilliant market researcher who set the standard for where the company is today. His precision, creativity, and passion will be just part of his legacy. More importantly, he was a tremendous friend.  He was funny, out of the box, loyal, and the ultimate teacher. He seldom wore shoes and used language that would make a sailor blush. 

Personally, John taught me and made me laugh for 35 years. Try as I might, he would not let me take myself too seriously as we faced the ups and downs faced by all businesses. Our essential values were always aligned and this set the open, collaborative tone that our employees and clients value so much.

I know what he meant to me is shared by so many CMBers – both present and alums.  He listened, he taught, he advised, and he truly cared. And those of us who knew him, we felt it. Of course, he was not just my partner for over 30 years; he was also an intimate friend to my family.  He was always there for my husband and was mentor to our two sons who grew up with him, advocating and advising them on life. 

John is survived by his wife Marion, to whom he was profoundly devoted, and his beloved daughter Bronwyn, and son Travis, who are feeling the pain of loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

While there will be no funeral, plans for a celebration of life will be shared in the coming weeks. John touched so many lives, and hearing the wonderful, funny stories has been a great comfort, please share your thoughts and memories here: http://john-martin1.muchloved.com/

Donations can be made in John's name to the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital: https://giving.brighamandwomens.org/IMP

Thank you, John. Your friend, Anne

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, our people, John's Corner

CMB: More Than Just Data

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Wed, Jun 27, 2012

We’re pleased to announce Chadwick Martin Bailey was recently named as a “Top 50” firm in the annual Honomichl report of the top revenue-generating marketing research companies in the US. While we’re happy to be recognized for our revenue, what we are most proud of is our continued commitment to our core values—our clients, our approach, and our people.

Our Clients
We are a client-centered firm.  Our clients trust us for the insights we provide them, and we take this responsibility seriously. Our collaborative approach and role as trusted advisors means that insights are translated into practical business advice and solutions. 

Our Approach
Our mantra is solving companies’ problems. We provide the right information in the right way so clients gain insight—not confusing or burdensome data dumps. We maintain a methodological center of excellence, and use integrated data sources, rigorous research methods, and leading edge technology to solve real world problems and guide effective business decisions.  Our offerings are not “off the shelf,” but rather acknowledge that every company’s situation is different and needs to be treated that way.

Our People
From the very beginning, we have strived to build a culture focused on team work, common sense, and excellence. The CMB client experience is so much about our people; our clients benefit not just from the efforts of individuals, but from a team of smart and committed people sharing their high-level skills and experience. We are a strategic learning organization where all of us are expected to be active learners and contributors.  I am most proud of the way our consultants, analysts, and methodologists work together.

Learn more about why CMB stands out from the crowd:

 

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, our people

2012: A Look into the Future

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Thu, Dec 22, 2011

new yearsThe new year is a time for reflecting and looking forward to the next 12 months. And for businesses, as we enter the last weeks of 2011, it is critical that companies in all industries reflect upon the past year’s decisions and peer into the future.

There is little doubt that the economic strain of the past three years will continue to affect companies across industries. Yet, 2012 will hold both opportunities and challenges for market researchers.  More than in the past, our clients will need the ability to manage, analyze, and integrate massive amounts of data while gleaning insight and recommendations within very constrained budgets. 

Price sensitive clients will be asked to choose between mountains of data at low prices, or more targeted consultative approaches focused on insights, action and outcomes. To differentiate ourselves, research companies will need to create true partnerships that work to address the core needs of our clients. My prediction is not that 2012 will be an easy year, but that we as a company will continue to evolve and perfect practices that help our clients make sense and use of the data we collect.

We are urging our clients to read Drinking from the Fire Hose; authors Chris Frank and Paul Magnone effectively detail the issues related to having too much data and how effective companies and managers can ask the right questions to insure focus on their companies’ goals and decisions. Take the time to explore the “7 Questions” that they outline and revisit these questions throughout the year.

As with every year, 2012 will have its own set of challenges, but success lies in our ability to channel the lessons of the past year and make smart decisions for the coming year by asking the questions that count.  At Chadwick Martin Bailey we believe more than ever, in the importance of being true partners with our clients, so together we can connect the data points and develop strategic insights that lead to better business decisions.

describe the imageFor more on Drinking From the Fire Hose, read Christine Gimber's take on our recent event with Chris and Paul here.

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, consumer insights

Problem Analysis: The Value of Probing Negativity

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Thu, Aug 18, 2011

I like to think of myself as a very positive person.  I appreciate the good meal at my favorite restaurant, my laptop’s ease of use, and the friendly service or good prices of our panel suppliers.  But, I’m only human, so when asked, I respond with much greater clarity about the things that irritate me.  Be it the noise in the restaurant, or the broken button on my computer; and when my suppliers provide similar offerings, I factor in how much irritation they’ve caused right along with price and service.

This quFly in soupality of being much more articulate about what irritates us than what benefits us is salient to those in product and service planning. How do you have a competitive edge on what is important to consumers?   How do you get insight into out-of-the-box ideas that have market appeal?  What attributes should be accounted for in next generation products?  For providers of products and services, seeking market input for new products or feedback on service, a focus on the negative cuts to the heart of differentiation.   

I’m a fan of an old methodology that uncovers generally unarticulated “problems” that consumers have. Problem analysis utilizes long lists of potential problems that may not be top of mind. While it may seem depressing, it produces valuable and useful insights.  Although social media also picks up the negative, problem analysis differs in that it proactively and methodically probes for irritating issues.   These are issues that can direct providers to future “solutions” such as new products, or little considered but notable competitive distinctiveness.

For example, consider a medical equipment supplier that wanted to separate themselves from other competitors by implementing a meaningful service guarantee.   What should be included in the guarantee— friendly representatives, quality products, good prices?  Yes, those are important, and expected by the customers.   As it turned out, customers told us that all suppliers were friendly, were about the same in quality, and had prices in the same ballpark.  

However, while probing for problems, we found some very specific issues causing varying levels of irritation and ranging in importance to the customer.  These were issues which the supplier had not recognized as being real irritants or better yet, real opportunities for distinction.  In terms of service, customers indicated they needed more rapid product replacements.  They also indicated that they wanted representatives that were product trainers more than sellers, and during medical emergencies they had an extreme unmet need to consult with product managers. 

Armed with these insights, the medical supplier equipped a meaningful service guarantee including the “usual” aspects of service with some that would normally not have been included.   In addition, they were able to revamp their sales program and establish a new consulting service. 

I prefer being a positive person, but when it comes to useful market insights, proactive probing of problems is crucial. 

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

Topics: consumer insights, brand health and positioning

The market research industry is evolving, are you?

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Thu, Jul 07, 2011

Midnight in ParisI recently went to see Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris movie and I am still thinking about it.  My husband and I have been talking about it in snatches since we walked out.  It is what you might call a thinking person’s movie.

In Allen’s movie, Gil, the protagonist, seeks the intoxicating time in Paris that followed World War 1, the 1920s, when so many writers and artists lived and started careers in Paris.  Yet, we only know so much about their lives in the 1920s and we only know about their successes and dramatic failures, if any.   Gil – and we -- are not able to “live” the day to day toil and grind that T.S. Elliott and Faulkner faced as they produced work after marvelous literary work.   Yet, it was the detail and grind in which they spent their lives that produced the masterpieces that we are all so familiar with.

What Roger (my husband) and I took away was a blatant, clear realization that although the past– near and far- often seems so much better, more fun and exciting and . . . . fill in the blank, the absolute best time is the present.  It is now -- today -- that we can experience the changes in the world and make our own mark.

The world of market research is so different than it was when Chadwick Martin Bailey started in 1984.  Back then it was all about the advent of personal computers and software that we could use to analyze data that could only be previously analyzed on mainframes.  Market research startups started with a flourish. Opportunity was everywhere.

Small companies that could never use market research or have it available to them were able to gain market insights that previously were only available to large companies.  Some used it well and prospered.  We know them as household names today.   It was a revolutionary time in market research and it was fun.   It was also hard work and for our employees, it was a continual learning experience.

Today, market research has evolved!  It has grown up, it is everywhere and new technologies and developed databases allow for insights that we could never conceive in the 1980s.  Now consumers get questionnaires almost every time they buy something.    Samples, data collection techniques, analysis methods – all have changed and continue to evolve.  Things are moving so fast, one has to constantly be learning just to stay abreast. 

Is the change for the better or worse?  As in Allen’s movie, it is easy to look back and be nostalgic.  Yet, when you think of what is possible today, when you think of what we can do by combining technology with perceptual market feedback and then analyze for insights, we are living in an exciting time, the present time- the time to leave our mark

Woody Allen was right.  A prior era, the 1980s, was a wonderful time to be in market research.  Today is even better- filled with new possibilities and great opportunity.

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

 

Topics: consumer insights

Understanding the Value of the "Engaged Employee"

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Thu, Apr 21, 2011

Employee Engagement

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief among managers for having weathered the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.  Over the last couple of years, managers were primarily focused on being “efficient” and “effective” as they dealt with the rocky economic climate.   

Managers will give a variety of reasons for successfully weathering the storm, but one they almost always neglect to mention is the extent to which their employees are engaged.  Now, after finally getting through harsh economic times, those same managers are starting to feel the effect of that oversight.  They hear that employees are eagerly beginning to look for other jobs. The company leaned on them hard and they are ready to move on.  To get through tough times, companies have worked tirelessly to engage prospects and customers alike.  Does it make sense that they have not similarly worked to engage their employees? 

Engaged employees are not merely “happy” employees.  Engaged employees are those that understand the values of the company and are empowered to impart those values to customers and prospects.  The engaged employee knows his or her role and understands the roadmap that leads to corporate success.  It is more than money, vacation time, or workplace camaraderie.  Employee engagement is about commitment and achievement.  To be successful, the executive team must facilitate engagement through their actions, through the planning process, and through open and honest dialogue with employees at each level of the organization.

How can you know that your employees are engaged?  Companies may try to make that discernment, but their processes are, frequently, neither systematic nor substantive.  

Companies may conduct employee feedback studies.  Unfortunately, many times, these studies reflect employees’ relative state of “satisfaction” with their work environment, their pay, and their fellow employees rather than cogent insights about the organization that can be used in real, operational decision-making.     

Employees will reveal if asked in a meaningful way!  If employees are one of a company’s most important assets, then the same in-depth techniques that are used to understand customers and prospects should be used in engagement assessments.  While it's essential to gain insight into an employee’s work environment, it is also critical, for example, to understand how his or her team works with both internal and external clients. Why?  We know that to the extent that employees are “engaged” with their employer, the more committed and productive they are.  Engaged employees are quite efficient at telling management:

  1. Their understanding of the company’s brand propositions and how they individually and in their business unit can most contribute to that brand success

  2. Reasons for any gaps that exist between what the company promises (brand propositions) and what it actually delivers

  3. Solutions for reducing the gaps

Over the last two years, management has focused on weathering the economic storm.  Now, it is time to go back to focusing on one of the largest investments and most important assets, employees.  It is only after taking this step that companies can move to the next step: increased efficiency and effectiveness.  

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, consumer insights

Taking the Time to Say "Thanks"

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman

Tue, Apr 12, 2011

 Someone told me that life is like a flowing river.  The water is constantly changing, yet downstream, it is still the same old river that you knew upstream.  I thought of this recently as our company took some time out of our busy day to stop, reflect and celebrate Chadwick Martin Bailey’s 27-year history. Although we have seen a lot of changes over the last 27 years, the foundation of our culture remains the same.  Part of the reason why is that we haven’t forgotten to stop, reflect and take the time to thank those who have formed both our culture and our company over the years.

 

U  2011 CMB Photos CMB 27th bday Picture 023It has become a tradition at our company birthday celebration to thank the employees who have been with us for 5/10/20+ years and built this company and cultivated this culture to what it is today. Our culture emphasizes teamwork, ideation, flexibility, personal growth, informality, and individual leadership.  We are definitely a “speak-up” culture.  We work hard, but also take the time to have some fun together.

This year at our 27th birthday celebration, we honored three of our employees, Rich Schreuer (20 years with us), Jim Garrity (10 years), and Jeff McKenna (10 years) for not only their years of dedication to CMB and our clients, but for the leadership they continue to provide in their own very different and individual ways. 

As I looked around the room, these three were joined by others who have spent many years molding this company.  And, I also saw many other newer members of our 60-person staff who will contribute, impact, and become leaders at CMB.  I couldn’t be more proud or excited for the future of Chadwick Martin Bailey.

The science of market research has progressed significantly over the last 27 years.  But science needs art.  At Chadwick Martin Bailey, the way we conduct our market research is informed by the art that is so integral to our culture.  Teamwork, ideation, flexibility, personal growth, and individual leadership aren’t just buzzwords here.  It’s who we are.

John Martin and I want to say “thank you” to not only our great staff, but our wonderful clients.

Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey