TMRE General Session ‘ Cohabitation: Rethinking the Client/ Consultant Relationship

Tina Brogdon, Psyma International
Laura Bernier, Kraft Foods

When working with a client and a vendor, it’s important to understand roles. Client brings a deep, rich understanding of the brand. The supplier helps keep the project objected throughout the whole process. A partner helps to keep things on an organized timetable. The vendor needs to dig deep and figure out what has to come out from the research.

Laura was in charge of conducting the ethnography and so she was responsible in choosing a team. There were participants with a wide role of functions. The team was divided by market and industry so that they would have a clearer understanding on the research. Having a cross-functional team was vital in collecting the right information.

When the field work happens, make sure to debrief after each session. The reason behind this is to hear the stories because everyone has a different role in the process. Igniting the spark with teams is crucial because at times they can be working for 12 hours so snacks will be important in keeping staff motivated.


- The vendor needs to learn the history & business in a short period of time
- Tight timelines
- Communicating across a large team can be difficult and time consuming
- Senior management is involved
- Objectives and consumer targets cannot change during research
- Projects can be long

Usually clients fall in the trap that we are the consumers, but we are not. Make sure to remove these biases.

Here’s a brief clip from the presentation below.