Tag Archives: LRW

Live from #TMRE13: The Pragmatic Brain

Jeremy Sack, Director of Pragmatic Brain Science Institute at LRW, provided a fresh perspective on the word “stereotype.” We hear that word all the time, but it almost always carries a negative connotation. But Sack says that stereotypes are ever-present, and are essential, especially when it comes to dealing with brands.

“Brands are stereotypes within themselves,” he states. When you hear the word Disney, you might immediately start thinking of Mickey Mouse or your favorite Disney movies and feel some kind of emotion. What you may not realize, is all of those thoughts and feelings that the word Disney brings about is the stereotype that you have of the brand. And in this scenario, the word “stereotype” is not necessarily a bad thing. 

A great example Sack provided is of a prank that Jimmy Kimmel pulled back when the iPhone 5 was about to be released. The phone had not actually come out yet, but Kimmel surveyed people on the streets by showing them the iPhone 4S and telling them it was the new iPhone 5. He asked them, “How do you think this is different than the previous iPhone?” And to my surprise, these people were convinced that they were actually holding a new iPhone 5 and described it as “lighter” and “sleeker” than the iPhone 4S. It just had to do with the perception or stereotype they already had in their minds about the new and improved iPhone 5, and it was affecting their reality. 

All of us have ideas and images that come to mind when we think of certain brand names. So, when thinking about your brand as a whole, it is important to understand the stereotype that it holds in the marketplace. 

Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Insights from Arnie

It’s a classic tale of entrepreneurship. A young man, his heart full of passion to make his own way, his brain filled with knowledge from the tutelage of his mentor, packs his car and heads west.

Today we celebrate the spirit that drove that young man, our founder and chairman Arnie Fishman, to open his own shop, Lieberman Research West.

Much has changed in the four decades since Arnie signed the lease and went knocking on doors to share the benefits of research to help grow the entertainment industry.

What hasn’t changed is the purpose of our company, now called Lieberman Research Worldwide. We use market research to have significant impact on our clients’ businesses.

We’ve learned a lot through the years from clients and vendors and, yes, even from our competitors. We’ve also learned a lot from Arnie. His experience and perspectives shaped us as a company and more importantly, as individuals. We thought we would share a few ‘Arnie-isms’ with you.

*Editor’s note: For authenticity, please read the following quotes with a Brooklyn accent.

On Research
Language matters. Write surveys like you’re having a conversation. Talk to people in a way they are comfortable responding. So don’t use highfalutin words like ‘purchase’ when ‘buy’ will suffice. Avoid stiff language and research-ese.

Successful market research invariably comes down to two simple but foundational requirements ‘ 1) interviewing the right people and 2) asking them the right questions.

On Client Management
Always return a client call, immediately. If you don’t have the answer, that’s ok. Tell them you are getting the answer, and if you can, when you will have it. Never leave them wondering if you’ve even heard the message. You may be feverishly working to answer their question, but they don’t know that, if you don’t tell them. For all they know, you haven’t even received the message, and no one is working on their urgent need. So let the client know you are in it with them, and they have a partner that is working on the solution.
When you’re struggling with a big issue on a study and you find yourself trying to guess what the client is thinking, pick up the phone and just ask them.

On Going Fast
No one will ever fault you for taking the time to be right, as it’s better than being fast and wrong.
People always make time to fix the problem, but often don’t spend enough time to avoid the problem.
A client will remember great work, and forget that you were a day late’.when forced to make a choice ‘ do beautiful work.

On Smarts

  • Don’t just do what you are told. Always understand WHY you’re doing it.
  • Don’t automatically do something the way you have done it in the past just because ‘that’s the way we always do it.’
  • Don’t try to prove you’re smart. We already think you’re smart, that’s why we hired you. Just focus your energy on being smart.

On Humanity
People often do things for the wrong reason but they seldom do things for no reason.
Approach every situation with the assumption of good intentions. Most people are doing what they think they should be doing and are not acting with malice.

We all have an equal place in the meeting and bring something special to the party. There is no reason to be nervous or feel at a disadvantage. You know what you know, I know what I know. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m glad I’m here.

We can all remake ourselves if we have the will.

On Life
Don’t use a rubber band to shoot paper clips.

On Creativity
If you look at an issue from multiple angles, including from outside the box, you have a better chance of finding a solution.

On Entrepreneurship

  • Be willing to take risks, but always risks that you can afford to take ‘ that won’t take you out of the game permanently.
  • Ego points cost money.
  • Take the long view ‘ get rich slowly.

On Appreciation
Don’t forget to congratulate people for their accomplishments, including just doing an everyday good job.
Be thankful. LRW has been a huge blessing for all of us. Take a moment from time to time to recognize and be thankful for our good fortune.

Happy anniversary, LRW. Happy anniversary, Arnie. (And thank you, from all of us.)


For 40 years, LRW has been asking so what’ to help our clients use market research to have significant business impact. Learn more about us at LRWonline.com.

6 Ideas to Prevent Problem Projects

We in the supplier business are dedicated to our clients’ success. Indeed, when clients succeed, so do we. And since you’re reading this blog, you know that insightful research contributes mightily to business success.
But, what about those studies that go wrong? The ones that under-deliver against expectations, are over-budget, or are late?

Not only can they prove to be poor investments, but in the worst-case scenario, they can even derail a market researcher’s career.

LRW‘s founder, Arnie Fishman, is fond of saying that successful market research invariably comes down to two simple but foundational requirements ‘
1) interviewing the right people, and
2) asking them the right questions.

We couldn’t agree more that these are the two most important factors.

But beyond that, what can we do to avoid falling into the trap of designing and executing the wrong research? Based on having conducted thousands of studies that have succeeded ‘ and more than a handful that have not ‘ we offer these ideas for your consideration:

1. Define the explicit purpose of your study and know the business decisions that it will drive. A lack of clarity at the outset is a near-certain guarantee that the final report and presentation will fall flat. Be vigilant in ensuring this definition occurs up-front and is sufficiently stakeholdered.

2. Know your information objectives, limit them to 3-5 per study, and make them highly specific. Nothing sinks a study like vague objectives or too many of them. And nothing slows down the questionnaire
development process as effectively as a lack of crisp objectives. Guardrails serve an important purpose.

3. Define your relevant universe thoughtfully and exactly. Market research begins with a definition of the market, and too often we are quick to cut-and-paste from previous RFPs. Know who should be screened in and out, and why. And, use your research company partners to help you think this through. They live and breathe it every day.

4. Unless entirely unavoidable, don’t allow timing to interfere with getting clarity on the points above.You will nearly always be forgiven for taking the time to get it right, but may not be if you execute the wrong study quickly.

5. Disclose your budget, even if it’s just a broad set of parameters. The adage of ‘never tell the vendor your budget’ seldom works to anyone’s benefit. Absent your guidance, your research company may unintentionally over- or under-design your study, leading to inefficiency and re-work. It’s no different than hiring an architect to design a house; it’s difficult or impossible for him/her to do their job efficiently without this critical-path information.

6. Be clear on whether your most top priority is timing, budget, or quality.  It’s seldom possible to find a solution that checks all three boxes. Help your potential research partners to help you by knowing your decision criteria and conveying them to all involved. Remember that when ‘everything’ is top priority, nothing is.

Perhaps you noticed a reoccurring theme in this post, which is essentially that clarity counts. Ensure the success of your next study through specificity and clarity of thought from the outset. Then, not only will you be an all-star client, but your results will serve as sturdy guideposts upon which you can depend.


Eric Asch has over 25 years of experience in marketing research, strategy development and competitive intelligence. As a Senior Vice President, General Manager at LRW, Eric is known for insightful, executive-oriented analyses to guide marketing, operational, legal and regulatory stakeholders.