Market Research

Our baseline research, polling, and message testing take the guesswork out of campaign development and content delivery, ensuring you always put your best foot forward.

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You’ve developed a great campaign, your team is excited about it, and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go awry if you haven’t done your research. DS can help you avoid the pitfalls of public communications by determining which audiences to speak to about your goals and what messages are likely to resonate with them.

Each of our research projects is tailored to generate a clear picture of your social or political landscape. Those insights enable our clients to effectively position their brands or campaigns, segment their audiences, and build relationships to understand how to best engage them.

  • Gather information on target audiences

  • Cluster your audience into actionable segments

  • Maintain competitiveness

  • Avoid messaging backlash

  • Make strategic campaign decisions

  • Evaluate potential political success

“When we started, we didn’t approach message testing with a preconceived notion of how it should be done. Instead, we used the power of 4 PhDs from various disciplines to devise a multi-pronged approach that delivers results.”

Megan Cooper, Ph.D., VP, Research

Products and Services

Explore our research products and services below. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you are looking for something different. Our expert researchers can help build a solution that’s right for you.

Baseline research and audience segmentation

Whether it’s voters, customers, employees, or volunteers, understanding your audience is crucial. Our baseline research report gives you a holistic sense of your organization’s public image, and how people position your organization in the broader social and political landscape.

In our surveys, we establish a baseline for a broad range of metrics, which can include: brand familiarity and favourability, social and political attitudes, and willingness and propensity to engage with your campaign, among others. We consolidate these insights to provide a clear picture of your organization’s strengths, potential blind spots or weaknesses, and prospective strategies for messaging and communication.

Using state-of-the-art machine learning and statistical methods, our approach to audience segmentation helps you understand who and where your current supporters are, the most promising communities of potential supporters, and who to avoid altogether. It’s the first step to establishing a successful campaign.

Message Resonance Testing

Message resonance testing is the gold-standard method for measuring the impact of persuasion content before it is released into live environments such as radio, TV, and crucially, social media where it can go viral within hours.

Message resonance tests are core to establishing the most effective messaging and communication themes for a variety of goals, including driving engagement and sales, persuading and motivating voters, as well as improving overall perceptions of your organization or campaign.

Our Message Resonance Testing framework is a forward-thinking technique where we discretely test how audiences respond to content in a controlled environment, verifying that each message has its intended effect. Crucially, we don’t rely on self-reporting, or how people believe a message will affect them. Instead, we capture more reliable data using subtle experimental manipulation, and we analyze the message impacts using a carefully honed and rigorous statistical methodology.

Tracking polls

After you’ve done your baseline research and developed a great repertoire of messages for your campaign, tracking surveys are the next step in making sure you continue to see results.

Tracking surveys help ensure the continued success of your campaign, allowing you to follow key attitudinal metrics over time, investigate specific questions as they arise, and test new messages in a controlled context.

Brand positioning and customer surveys

Need to find the best name for a new company? Want to know how you compare to competitors? Curious to know more about different types of donors or volunteers? Our brand positioning and customer surveys help you understand where you stand and to track your progress among a selected audience of target customers or members. Our survey insights help our partners understand what their brands evoke and how to strengthen them, which issues to tackle first and to measure over time the impact of their actions.

Dashboards and online reporting

Maintaining an effective and agile campaign requires on-the-fly access to a variety of key metrics and research insights. Our dashboards and online reporting tools ensure that all the information you need is available at your fingertips, whenever you need it. Custom-built for each project, our dashboards help our partners ask their own questions about the data and respond quickly to changing circumstances.

Qualitative research and other offerings

To help you understand an issue beyond numbers, we also offer qualitative research offerings that can be customized to meet your specific needs. In the past, we’ve conducted focus groups in Canada and abroad, performed program evaluations, and conducted in-person interviews with target audiences. We can also help you strengthen your internal research program by conducting audits and providing guidance on topics ranging from data management to survey design.

For more, read our Social Return on Investment Study conducted for the Integrated Case Management (ICM) program in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.