Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson Associates

Qualitative research consultant with a curiosity and strategic focus that drives out new insight.

Services

The full range of qualitative research services:
  • e.g. focus groups, creative workshops, interviews, filmed interviews, ethnographic research, online forums, mystery shopping.
BtoC and BtoB. Amongst everyday consumers, shoppers, high net worth consumers, passengers, holiday-makers, employees, business executives, and 'VIPs'.      

Speciality

A reputation for strong expertise:
  • in Brands and Shopping (from grocery to luxury to 'tax free' shopping), Leisure (from holidays to spas to food & drink) and Travel (from planes to trains to ships)
  • to inform clients' service, brand, communications and retail strategies
  • amongst consumers when they are wearing their everyday, business, indulgence or VIP 'hats'.
I enjoy getting to the heart of what matters to consumers and understanding what will enhance sales and commercial revenues for clients; and/or what will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty from delivering a better brand experience. My credentials extend across Customer Experience and Satisfaction research, Category Management and Shopper research, Brand development and Communications research; Travel and Travel Retail research; Category Management research; and Employee Communications research. I have unique expertise in the plant-based market, undertaking brand development research for product innovation - supported by the launch of my web business www.VegantoDinner.com designed to engage consumers in this market. Sustainability Consciousness increasingly underpins consumer expectations of employers and brands. I have been undertaking research amongst consumers and employees to understand and harness how the growing consciousness of our carbon footprint underpins consumer expectations in terms of product, packaging, and brand communications.  

Background

I've been an independent qualitative consultant for the last 20 years, sometimes delivering projects individually, but often collaborating with qualitative and quantitative consultants. For strategic briefs and challenging problems,  collaboration can be extremely beneficial to ensure well-balanced insight and to meet tight deadlines. Prior to 'striking out independently' I was part of the qualitative team at The Harris Research Centre in Richmond for 4 years, with projects being either 'stand alone qual' or ones which dove-tailed with the agency's quantitative research studies. The agency had a strong profile in retail, consumer, automotive, utilities and technology sectors - the 'halo effect' was I generated client experience in all of these markets -  including being 'baptised' by car clinics! I gained my qualitative training initially with Reflexions Market Research, a boutique qualitative agency specialising in advertising research. However, the foundation of my career lay client-side - starting out with Bain & Co management consulting, leading to a strategic role as a Planner in the PR and Communications consultancy Valin Pollen (a leader at the time in the land of financial and corporate markets). A period as account manager with a small packaging and product design agency gave me a 'hands on' perspective on working with packaging design creatives and delivering a promotional campaign for luxury champagne brands amongst others!