Friday, November 25, 2016
Author: John Patterson

Study on Canada Post

Patterson, Langlois Consultants and its partners Ad Hoc Research, Laroche Recherche, the Parriag Group and Qualbox recently completed a major study titled "Canada Post Review: Research with Canadians"...

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Brand Strategy and Architecture

Brands, brand architecture and brand strategy represent the lion’s share of our work over the last 20 years. We have influenced a wide variety of brands in consumer packaged goods, recreational products, pharmaceuticals, as well as in government, working directly with end clients and in partnership with agencies. The following is an inventory of some of the brands we've touched:

Claritin, Aerius, Coppertone, Hydrasense, Danonino, Silhouette, BRP Spyder, Ski Doo, Johnson, Evinrude, Metro, Alcan, Majesta, Grolsch, Labatt 50, Blue Light, Nike and many more.

Packaging & Logos

Although packaging research in qualitative is fairly common, it is rarely easy or straight-forward. So much depends on what’s in place (or not) before we get into it with consumers: What’s the yardstick for recognizing “good” options? How do well or precisely do we expect packaging to reflect positioning? Are the options being assessed similar or truly differentiated from one another?

Then, there are a whole series of challenges once we confront consumers: How do you get literal-minded research participants to think about and process abstractions? How do you tell whether lines and colors really reflect a brand’s positioning or not?

And finally, there are challenges in processing things after the fieldwork: What’s to be done when no clear “winner” emerges? How do you weigh participants’ subjective preferences against other marketing imperatives?  Over the years, we’ve come to really love researching packaging, and have expanded our capabilities with quantitative and on-line tools. 

The following is a partial inventory of some of the packaging we’ve worked on: State Express 555, Claritin, Aerius, Chlor-Tripolon, Player’s (family), du Maurier (family), Lucky Strike, Majesta paper products, Labatt 50, Grolsch, Bud Light, and several more.   We have also worked on the "fit and finish" and design of Ski-Doo snowmobiles,and the logos of a variety of corporations and public initiatives.


Although most marketing professionals recognize the importance of a good, well–articulated positioning statement for their brand, fewer of them ever think to conduct research on this elemental part of the marketing mix. Yet this is a particularly productive area for research: Understanding how different consumers decode a brand’s natural or acquired positioning and the semantics of a proposed change can put a brand on solid ground for years to come. What’s the brand’s premise for being here? What the most compelling articulation of the brand’s offer? Why should we believe? Answering these questions through the eyes of consumers and translating the often tangled feedback we get into clear language is one of our strengths.

We have done positioning work for companies and organizations such as Metro, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Imperial Tobacco, BRP, Danone, BAT, The Canadian Forces, Parks Canada and several other appendages of the Federal Government...

Advertising & Concept Development

We’ve done our fair share of advertising work, much of it in CPG, but also in Government and social marketing areas. The challenges here are ever-present: Getting research participants past the limited nature of stimuli. Getting beyond likes and dislikes to the positioning implications of the concepts. Articulating the broader consumer realities that account for how advertising is decoded. Making sure that the right kind of metrics are addressed with appropriate methodologies. These are all problems we have been dealing with successfully for years.

We have done advertising work for the following: Labatt Breweries, SAB Miller, Molson, Parks Canada, Industry Canada, Exxon-Mobil, Pizza Pizza, Metro, Schering-Plough (Merck), and more...

Social Marketing, CSR and PSA’s

What are the obstacles to boaters wearing life jackets? How do you encourage community acceptance of rehabilitated offenders? How do you convince employees that diversity among their ranks is worth making sacrifices for? How do you define “bureaucratic patronage” in a way that hiring managers will understand? How do you articulate the responsibilities of the tobacco industry? These are just a sampling of some of the difficult questions we have helped our clients with over the years.

Clients/Topics: Participation in the Census (Statistics Canada), Official Language Policy in the Public Service (PSC), Boating Safety, Student Loans, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Food safety (CFIA), Reintegration of Prisoners (Correctional Service of Canada), Alcan’s CSR policy, Employment Equity in the Public Service, Harm Reduction in Public Health...

B2B (Business-to-Business)

Conducting research with business owners and operators poses a host of specific challenges, not least of which is securing access to the right people within sometimes tangled structures, and ensuring that the “clients of your client” experience the research process in ways that preserve and enhance essential relationships. Then, the challenges are often to figure out the ways in which individual and organizational imperatives mix and collide.

Clients/Topics: Small Business Needs , Motivations of convenience Store owners and reactions to trade terms, customer loyalty, customer segmentation, etc. Industry Canada, Imperial Tobacco Canada, National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada, among others.

Tobacco - Harm Reduction

The recent emergence of E-cigarettes and the pervasive availability of cheap, unregulated illicit cigarettes underscore the difficult and important questions underlying the marketing and regulation of tobacco. We have world-class and leading expertise in the area of tobacco and harm reduction.

Topics: Strategies related to the launch and marketing of several tobacco harm-reduction products (in consideration of an evolving regulatory environment, including SNUS, “Heat not Burn” and E-cigarette products. Corporate Social Responsibility in Tobacco. Strategy as it relates to the marketing of harm-reduced nicotine offers.



If your organization has ever indulged in strategizing around "the" customer, or “the” consumer, as if they were all a homogenous lot, then you probably have first-hand experience with how frustrating marketing can be.  Target audiences are more fractured and diverse than they have ever been, and accounting for this diversity is one of the primary challenges to marketing research in the digital age.     That said, failing to account for that diversity can be even more of a challenge.  

Segmentation is rightfully considered the linchpin of any marketing strategy, and an outcome that can only be arrived at with hard work, consultative approaches and the deployment of both qualitative and quantitative tools. The right segmentation solution isn't simply a function of the exterior environment -- it must reflect the organization, it's internal structures and decision-making culture.   

We have extensive experience orienting and executing major segmentation projects, as well as exploratory qualitative work leading to the development of segmentation models.   We are particularly good at elucidating and articulating the codes and values that both account for consumer diversity and provide the most solid foundations for segmentation.