Examples and Case Studies

Industry: Education

The issue: To achieve an in-depth understanding of both current and competitive students that will enable the development of a distinct brand positioning that will connect more closely to their lifestyle, motivations and school selection process.

The Gray Insight approach: A total of 40 individual depth interviews lasting one hour in length, conducted on campus with current students and in a neighboring research facility with competitive students. The interviews included an exploration of each student’s personal history, personality and school decision process as well as a variety of projective exercises that were collected, sorted and analyzed for subconscious content to determine what makes these students “tick.”

The outcome: A clear indication not only of the high degree of overlap in perceptions of both our client’s brand and the main competitive brand but also a fundamental point of differentiation that became the basis of a successful repositioning.

Industry: Wine

The issue: To establish a more systematic method for qualitatively evaluating a large number of alternative labels for both new and existing wine brands.

The Gray Insight approach: We established a strict protocol for evaluating potential wine labels in focus groups that included (1) review of a competitive display to assess shelf presence, (2) individual evaluations of each label through a short written survey, (3) discussion of the labels after all had been evaluated and (4) incorporation of the brand’s positioning and brand personality attributes.

The outcome: Consistency in the evaluation methodology means that the focus groups run much more smoothly, from initial set-up through execution and leading to the final report.

Industry: Healthcare

The issue: To develop a viable positioning strategy for our client’s health plan that would be congruent not only with the unconscious programming users associate with these health plans but would also differentiate our client’s plan from competitors.

The Gray Insight approach: We conducted a total of 6 Typology “Supergroups,” co-moderated by Robert Gray and Thelma Beam, with members of both our client’s plan and competitive plans. These groups included various projective exercises, including pictures and stories, that were analyzed for unconscious content to identify the key themes and forces underlying attitudes towards health plans.

The outcome: The analysis identified a powerful “model” of health plans that was entirely congruent with our client’s brand imagery and become the basis of a revised brand strategy. This strategy was then validated in follow-up qualitative research.