A research innovator with a focus on peoples' needs and wants, and a track record of building and mentoring multi-disciplinary research teams, managing complex research projects, and delivering actionable insights to Fortune 500 marketers. 


Founder,
Director of Strategy

Firestarters, 2017-now

Setting up a creative research shop that inspires and validates new ideas.


SVP, Director Of Consumer Insights

Origin, 2011-2017

 

 

Bootsrapped a full-service insights and innovation group

Recruited and mentored a team of world-class researchers with backgrounds in cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, information design, statistics and data science, and engineering. 

Built and managed a cost-effective supply chain of data sources, tools, and vendors to save the agency $1M+ a year in research costs.

Lead the effort to automate data collection and analysis. Achieved record-short turn-around times on survey-based, web-scraping, and data-mining projects.  Reached record-short turnaround times in a fast-paced agency environment with tight deadlines.

Promoted the group’s services throughout the organization: opened a gallery of information art produced by the team, hosted bi-annual training sessions, managed an internal outreach campaign with catalogs, posters, and direct mail; wrote materials for publication.

 

Created a social data practice

Created a social listening & computational anthropology practice that sold a suite of syndicated intelligence products based on advanced social media research methods: graph analysis to identity interest clusters, audience engineering, purchase barrier analysis, influencer targeting, consumer needs profiling, and motivation analysis.

 

Conducted or directed more than 200 national and global research projects

Designed, conducted, or directed segmentation studies, brand trackers, user research, creative tests, social media monitoring, and analysis of online reviews for Fortune 500 clients (view Work).

 

Developed and implemented innovative research methods

Developed proprietary frameworks and methodologies for:

  • Assessing consumers’ emotional and functional needs
  • Pre-testing creative assets
  • Evaluating brand equity
  • Assessing online attitudes toward a brand
  • Measuring yield of marketing efforts
  • Using social media data in brand research
  • Analyzing online product reviews for businesses with large retail footprint

Recent Clients

recent clients.png

VP, Media Research & Innovation 

Hill Holliday, 2009-2011

Co-founded a content/native advertising practice.

Studied TV consumption and cord-cutting through a series of deprivation experiments that received national press coverage.

Conducted experiments in viral media to measure propagation potential of various channels.

Introduced social media ethnography as a consumer research methodology. 

Identified the insight that reframed Major League Baseball as a modern entertainment property, leading to the creation of the Fan Cave (Webby, Bronze Cannes Lion, One Show Merit.


Researcher, Emerging Media

Hill Holliday, 2006-2009

Developed new-media engagement strategies for the agency’s clients.

Won a One Show Merit Award for Operation Hoodsie Cup, a community outreach project for the Boston Police Department that handed out 120,000 free ice-cream cups since launch.

For a major retailer, created one of the first-ever corporate blogs guest-written by customers. The blog is still running and was recently mentioned in People magazine.  

Built the case for an award-winning content program for an insurance client (Silver Cannes Lion, Webby Award).

Advised clients and senior executives on changes in the digital media landscape; lead media innovation workshops.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MSc in Comparative Media Studies (2004-2006)

Co-founded the Convergence Cultures Consortium to advise brands on emerging media practices


Directed national advertising for P&G and Wyeth brands.

Designed and executed a national mystery shopper campaign for P&G, earning a top agency evaluation from the client.   

Planned interactive campaigns with a response rate of 25% above the category average.

Account Planner

Grey Sofia, 2003-2004


Planned, budgeted and implemented comprehensive communication programs for European and American offices of a leading web design studio (now dba Dynamo Software). Generated front-page coverage in the national press. 

Directed company’s university programs.

Introduced social media listening as tool for corporate reputation research.

Adopted paid search – Overture and, later, AdWords – as a major part of the paid media mix.    

PR Director

Netage Solutions, 2000-2003


American University in Bulgaria

BA in Business Administration and International Relations (1996-2000)


Research Expertise

A chart of methods I use to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about marketing communications. (Click to make larger)

Types of Research

  • consumer needs and motivations
  • user experience
  • consumer journeys
  • personas
  • purchase intent and barriers
  • sources of influence and competitive analysis
  • segmentation
  • testing (concepts, products, packaging, names, ads)
  • pricing and price elasticity
  • brand positioning and brand equity
  • brand tracking
  • campaign effectiveness
  • customer experience
  • voice of the customer research
  • NPS and other key metrics
  • media research  

 

Data Collection Methods

  • qualitative
  • quantitative
  • observational
  • experimental
  • conjoint
  • projective techniques
  • subconscious / neuro methods
  • surveys (online, mobile, street, mail-in)
  • card sorts
  • web intercepts
  • field research
  • lab-based research
  • ethnographies
  • interviews
  • deprivation studies
  • web analytics
  • social data
  • web scraping
  • location analytics

 

Technical Skills

  • Design of questionnaires, experiments, diaries, interview scripts, and moderator guides
  • Creation of research stimuli
  • Survey programming, UX, and optimization for online, mobile, street, and mail-in
  • Advanced digital and social media research methods: graph analysis, photo analysis, and digital ethnography
  • Clickstream and search query analysis