Winning a National Championship is a spectacular achievement. Winning three of the last four National Championships, like my alma mater has, is epic.
That kind of success does not happen overnight. It takes years. It takes discipline.
KS&R celebrates our 30th year in 2013. We have grown from a new business focused on non profits and regulated industries to a premier, global marketing research provider – one of the Top 50 research providers in the United States.
How did this happen?
A key component of our mission statement makes it clear:
This has been our mantra from Day 1. It is part of our culture. It runs in our DNA. It takes discipline – a discipline to expect more of ourselves than our clients do, to practice our craft without taking short cuts, and a certainty that if we do the small things right (over and over again), the big things will fall into place.
Moreover, we are disciplined risk takers – always looking onward and upward. We don't say "no" to a request just because we have never done it before, we say "yes" and figure it out. We are confident we can figure it out because we are disciplined in the way we approach and practice marketing research.
- When I started at KS&R, we were faxing conjoint cards to respondents and then calling the respondent to get his/her responses to the cards. There really wasn’t an alternative approach for us to use at the time. Then we sold a project that required conjoint to be done online. We had 30 days to have the survey designed and in the field. The first attempt at a solution said it would be at least 90 days before the survey could even be programmed. That wasn’t going to work. What did we do? We figured it out. The project finished on-time, with the successful execution of a conjoint methodology online. Today, this methodology and approach is foundational to our continued success.
- Our enCOMPASS Relationship Equity Builder℠ has a similar history. A prospective client – from within the Sales department no less – approached us to develop a relationship management platform for his Sales team. The traditional research approaches they had used in the past were not working – and did not provide them with the customization and personalization required for their most important, high-touch customers. What did we do? We figured it out. We became a software tool developer, built a process and executed it – completing our fifth year with the program and expanding the capability across multiple other clients.
- Finally, a client recently said they needed a more effective understanding of how to communicate the sensory elements of their product line. None of their other partners had been successful at providing this level of insight. What did we do? We figured it out. We blindfolded participants and made them talk with each other about the items they touched – mashed potatoes, orange slices, feathers, silk, etc. The sensory insight helped build the communications strategy moving forward, and is now part of our standard approach for this type of learning.
I haven't been with KS&R from the beginning. My timeline only accounts for about 12 of these 30 years. I am grateful that we have had strong leadership to build this culture – from Day 1. Moreover, I am glad we are risk takers. I am even more glad that we are disciplined to succeed – and that our leadership is determined to instill this culture in the generations to come.