Special Interest Areas:
Debbie has been with Loran since 1993 and is now a principal emeritus. She holds a BA in political science from Washington University and an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Qualitative research, including:In-person, in-home, in-store, online and phone
As a founding member of Loran, Lori helped shape the firm over the course of three decades. She has worked on the client and agency sides across a wide range of consumer and B2B accounts. Lori has also served as a visiting professor in the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive Education program, where she taught business leaders how to incorporate insights into decision-making, and at Boston University, where she taught advertising courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Lori holds an MA in advertising and a BA in communications from Michigan State University and is a graduate of the Basic Program of Liberal Education from the University of Chicago. Lori is a principal emeritus with Loran.
Liz has been with Loran since 1999. She holds an MBA in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BS in industrial engineering from Northwestern University. Liz has received professional training through the Burke Institute and Riva Training Institute for questionnaire design, data analysis, and usability testing.
Robyn has been with Loran since 1992. She is a member of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association and has served as the chair of the Chicago chapter. She holds a BS in marketing from Washington University in St. Louis.
Consumer Tech: Building Loyalty
This regional wireless telecommunications provider was looking for ways to reduce churn by increasing customer loyalty.
Quick turnaround on custom qualitative research was needed, as the client had an aggressive timeline to provide direction on loyalty program concepts to their design partner.
Webcam interviews: Online in-depth interviews allowed us to gather critical consumer opinions from across the entire customer footprint, yet complete the interviews in just one day.
In just two weeks from approval to delivery of results, the client was able to explore the strengths and weaknesses of new ideas, so they could focus on the concepts customers found most meaningful. Based on our ability to conduct nationwide interviews in a single day, our client was able to meet an aggressive timeline, selecting two concepts to optimize and pursue while shelving two others with confidence.
OFFICE TECH: PROTOTYPE EVALUATION
This midsize manufacturer of office supplies and equipment wanted to explore the feasibility of a new technology prototype.
The client’s tight budget and timeline dictated the need for a hybrid qualitative-quantitative approach, as insights were necessary to make improvements and enhancements to the prototype but data was needed to move forward with confidence.
Having participants rate prototypes via iPads provided a quantitative overlay that traditional focus groups alone would lack, giving the client the best of both worlds. This hybrid approach kept the research and development timeline on track, and allowed the client to make significant, consumer-driven changes to the prototype.
HOSPITALITY: NEW CONCEPT ASSESSMENT
Known for rewriting the rules for boutique hotels, this chain was in the process of developing a new sub-brand geared toward millennials.
The client sought input from young business and leisure travelers on a variety of design elements, services and amenities under consideration for public hotel spaces and guest rooms. In addition, the client was looking for feedback on preliminary positioning territories for the new sub-brand. Key challenges included bringing experiential elements of the hotel to life in order to get accurate, reliable feedback, as well as developing a unique research approach that would provide the quantitative data and qualitative depth necessary in an efficient timeframe.
The hybrid approach developed by Loran assured the quantitative reliability necessary to gauge the appeal of various amenities and services, as well as the qualitative depth to identify the best positioning territories to optimize for further testing.
APPAREL: DESIGN EVALUATION
A multinational dancewear and costume design company wanted input from dance studio owners and instructors to help refine designs for upcoming collections.
Tight timing, due to the seasonal nature of costume design, and the need to understand design ratings in an absolute sense—not just relative to one another—added to the complexity of the project.
Custom online survey tool: A quantitative survey with predictive modeling was developed, which became a turn-key tool used to screen more than 50 concepts per season. In addition to providing basic interest ratings and likelihood-to-purchase metrics, Loran developed benchmarking levels and statistical analyses to help determine each design’s potential for real-world success.
Loran’s turn-key process provided valuable results within the client’s timeline and budget. Predictive metrics helped the client easily identify winning styles and avoid expending effort and resources on designs that were less likely to succeed.
PHARMA: CATEGORY ASSESSMENT
A pharmaceutical company specializing in over-the-counter remedies was considering entering a new product category.
Before embarking on ideation and concept development, this client desired a clear, quantifiable understanding of the potential category, as well as existing consumer behavior and needs. Since this was a new space for them, the client needed to better understand consumers’ key issues and language.
With the research learning as input, the client conducted a fruitful ideation session that generated more than 50 strategically sound seedling concepts for further screening and refinement.
TRAVEL AND CULTURAL ATTRACTION: AUDIENCE INSIGHTS
This world-renowned museum wanted to isolate broad-based themes as well as detailed factors driving family entertainment decision-making.
The client wanted to understand the role of entertainment outings in families’ lives, recognize organizations that compete for attention and share of wallet, detail the decision-making dynamic, and gauge reactions to the experiences chosen.
Loran needed to create an approach that combined broader macro conversations about family entertainment attitudes, pain-points and opportunities, with micro-level insights into individual decision-making moments and feedback.
The year-long qualitative panel provided a clear picture of key target audiences, illustrated how families make decisions regarding family outings, and detailed the challenges specifically facing busy moms. As a result, Loran was able to provide the museum with actionable insights regarding how to grow its share of outings.
Food and Bev: NEW CONCEPT ASSESSMENT
This household name in pasta and sauce wanted to restage their core sauce product.
The client was working with a new category segmentation schematic that provided a wealth of data, but lacked the deeper insights needed to develop compelling new products and positionings.
By incorporating in-depth qualitative research upfront, rather than merely relying on quantitative data from the segmentation schematic, the client was able to optimize a new product concept and positioning, resulting in exceedingly positive BASES test results. The product relaunch was put into fast-track development thanks to consumer insights and direction gleaned along the way.
B2B TECH: NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
This Fortune 500 B2B technology enterprise wanted to explore solutions to streamline paper-driven workflows within specific industries.
To inform the new solutions, the client wanted a ground-level understanding of paper-based workflows in each targeted industry, as well as pain points and opportunities for innovation. Given the highly regulated and competitive nature of some of the industries under consideration, it was not possible to review these processes on site and in-person.
Insights from the initial exploration phases became springboards for new products, resulting in more than 30 new ideas that were selected for screening and further development. Online ethnographies provided a level of detail and depth that would not have been achievable through traditional qualitative or quantitative methods.
PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION:MEMBER INSIGHTS
A leading professional medical organization wanted to elicit insights from its member base to stay current on industry trends and to learn how to better structure their annual meeting to meet the ever-changing demands of its members.
The client wanted to gather insights that would represent the association’s diverse member base—including world-wide geographical dispersion and multifaceted specialties.
Focus groups: Capitalizing on the fact that the physician members were all together in one place at one time, our team conducted qualitative research during the association’s annual meeting. In these richly rewarding face-to-face sessions, we explored satisfaction with the association and the meeting format, discussed industry challenges among new and experienced members, and delved into hurdles that might be affecting membership levels.
By conducting discussion groups at the conference, we were able to elicit responses from an international cross-section of the association’s members. This allowed Loran to uncover insights and guide strategies to help the association build its membership and ensure that it stays at the forefront of industry issues. In addition, our findings helped shape the meeting structure to make attendance more appealing to all professionals in the specialty.