Headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices in New York, Dallas, London, and Belgrade, Quadrant Strategies is a research-driven consultancy that helps its clients improve their reputations, reposition their brands, develop marketing campaigns, construct winning messages, and navigate through crises. The company is a trusted advisor to senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and NGOs. We sat down with Michael Zalesne, VP, Strategy (pictured), to learn more about the firm.
Of the services you offer, is there one in particular that is still emerging and you feel holds the most unfulfilled promise? If so, why and how do you see it evolving/helping your clients in the future?
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Consultation is an area that is ripe for development. Ninety-seven percent of companies want to be more diverse and inclusive - they have spent $8 billion on diversity and inclusion training; yet it seems almost no one feels like they’re doing a good enough job at actually moving the needle.
Quadrant has developed a proprietary research-based approach to find hidden biases in a company’s systems. Our offerings help with acquisition, growth, engagement, and retention with employees from diverse backgrounds.
For several years now research companies have realized they can’t simply deliver insights, but need to consult closely with clients to help them implement and communicate insights across their corporations to have a real impact. How are you going about this?
Quadrant was founded on exactly this principle - too many companies either offer just data or just advice. Quadrant invests in the absolute highest caliber staff (whom we’d put up against any top management consulting firm) and rigorously trains them not just how to do research, but how to consult. While many research firms will deliver a 50- or 75-slide deck that’s heavy on data and light on advice, we tend to do the opposite: put together a tight deliverable that concisely tells a clear story of what we found and what we think you should do.
How do you see the role of the research methods that you employ changing as data streams continue to proliferate and analytics becomes more sophisticated?
AI and Machine Learning are rapidly changing the way research is done. In fact, it’s already changed how we work at Quadrant. We’re now able to look at more data in less time and we are staying at the forefront of using AI and machine learning to improve our current research. Our use of AI/ML tools speeds up our ability to do research without reducing quality. We are also working with PhD Data Scientists to build machine learning models that integrate quantitative and qualitative market research data with real world data to help understand the why. We hope to better understand how to reduce churn, what builds trust, and what will increase a customer's willingness to pay.
What is your biggest pain point currently? How are you working to fix it?
For years we had challenges with B2B respondent quality. Our clients wanted to reach really hard audiences like CTOs of Fortune 500 companies, former members of the EU Parliament, or crypto traders in Asia, but there were limited options for finding these people. So, we build our own recruiting operation that helps us get the hardest to find audiences around the world. The participants are not sold to other research companies so that we can provide them with an excellent experience which in turn lets us conduct same-day qualitative research and overnight polls with senior executives.
What are the most common problems that brands bring to your door?
Messaging. Our staff are trained writers who can create content and messages that break through and stick. The research builds on these messages to determine the best messengers and how they should communicate.
Reputation - Reputation Measurement allows us to provide a basis for understanding our client’s reputational strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors. Further we can pinpoint what drives reputation and build a roadmap to help improve it.
Hard-to-reach audiences - Companies increasingly need to reach senior audiences — like policy elites, advertising buyers, Business Decision Makers, and IT Decision Makers at every sized company — and our in-house recruiting team helps find exactly the right people for the engagement.
Employee Relations. We help companies understand the employee experience and work to understand how their brand as an employer is perceived by prospective employees, customers, opinion elites, and policy influencers.
High-Stakes / Existential Problems. When companies are facing high-stakes challenges like government regulation, anti-trust action, or are exploring a big bet idea (like a Fortune500 re-brand or launching a new product), they turn to us to advise their insights teams and senior executives about how to proceed.
What prompted you to join the Insights Association / What have been the most valued benefits of membership for you and your team thus far?
We wanted to get more involved with the industry to stay ahead of upcoming trends, connect with others in the space, and learn more about upcoming regulations (GDPR was about to be enacted) and CCPA was in the works. From the IA, we have been involved with the Return on Insights committee, leveraged legal resources and industry best practices around privacy, and appreciated Howard Feinberg’s efforts to create sensible regulatory frameworks at the state and federal levels.