Needless to say, I was terrified the first time I encountered her back in 1988. I thought of her as the First Lady of Orman Guidance. She could pierce a sizable pile of research methodology and pull out every misplaced comma. She was a highly skilled moderator and researcher. And when it came to her employees, she was not short on, a-hem, constructive criticism.
M. Jane Burns was Al Orman’s 2nd business partner and eventually Al Orman’s 2nd wife. Last Friday evening at her home, with her hand in Al’s, Jane passed away. She was 95 years, 7 months, and 31 days old.
Over my many years at Orman Guidance I’ve tried (with varying degrees of success and learning) to bolster the principle of teamwork. Now, with over a quarter century of my life’s work in the rearview mirror, here’s my take on what it takes to make Teamwork, well, work.
As market researchers, our first duty is to protect and promote the interests of consumers. Whether it’s promoting consumer preferences in the marketplace or defending the right to be left alone from telemarketers, Orman Guidance greatly values its role as a consumer advocate.
When you hear “Market Research”, what comes to mind?
One way mirrors.
Perhaps the television series Mad Men. (We hate to break it to you, three cocktail lunches are no longer in vogue.)
And…what likely comes to mind is focus groups; the quintessential form of qualitative market research. If you haven’t been in one yourself, you probably know someone who has.
At the core, focus groups are discussions among consumers on a product or service led by a trained moderator. Focus groups affirm or challenge consumer attitudes, behaviors and preferences about products, services, packaging, messaging, and so on.
The year was 1975. All across corporate America, a thin haze of cigarette smoke wafted lazily above the brisk clatter of typewriters. Correspondence was delivered by courier or snail mail. In many executive offices, a well-stocked bar was part of the furniture in case you ever needed a drink to work alongside your pen.
We always hold our breath at this time of year — anticipating the ratings from Impulse Survey. We do not take for granted the journey toward top ratings, nor the fact that clients placed Orman Guidance among the World’s Best Facilities every year since 2001.
But this is a special year for us. We’re a 40 year old company this year. We’re rebranding and rebuilding. It’s a new day at Orman Guidance, and it ain’t your father’s research company anymore, ya know?
Orman Guidance covered the topic of Millennials and co-creation in the context of marketing earlier in 2015. The key takeaway from our findings is that Millennials don’t just want to buy a brand, they want to be a part of it.
We continue to recommend that our clients utilize co-creation in their brand, but we’re not letting them have all the fun. Orman is implementing co-creation in our own best practices. We’ve begun integrating it into our internal consumer engagement process. We aren’t stopping there. We’re using co-creation to attract and retain our employees with uniquely tailored careers.
Last week, Orman Guidance had the privilege of attending Brand Matters, a fantastic speakers’ series focusing on how companies can build a recognizable and worthy brand. The series is offered by our good friends at Yamamoto, as well as the Carlson School of Management and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Orman’s interest in the topic is key due to our ongoing study of consumer engagement preferences and the role that brand plays.
The study of consumer engagement preferences in the context of market research has been an ongoing source of study, exploration, and learning at Orman Guidance since 1975. As we all know, when our consumer outreach efforts do not yield results, market research suffers. Consumers get burned out, and clients feel insecure about the quality of the research findings.
Orman Guidance envisions a better way, a much different modus operandi for market research. We’re getting closer to that vision every day. Here’s a preview.
Today is the birthday of our President & CEO, Rosemary Sundin. Last night, the Orman team got together and made a collage celebrating the things that make her so special. Here is what Whitney Nguyen, Orman’s Facility and Hospitality Manager, had to say:
“Passion [pash-uh n] noun:
1. A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything:
2. The object of such a fondness or desire:
3. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.