SperlingQual is a full service qualitative research shop. We’re all about people!  

We’ve managed and moderated thousands of focus groups, ethnographies, IDIs, triads, shop-alongs and online digital approaches. Our approachable, personal and honest style of moderating sets a high comfort level for diverse targets, engaging respondents via a blend of provocative probes and creative techniques that serve to elicit exciting insights and information on even the most intimate of topics. And we conduct research in your most relevant markets—domestically and internationally.

Based on your objectives for research, we find the right people to talk to, and develop a customized approach to ensuring we have great conversations that help us see your brand through the eyes of your consumer. Our aim is to uncover attitudes and behaviors that affect how they feel about your brand, and what they do in your category—one size does not fit all!

We design and manage your qualitative research projects from start to finish—developing the most effective approach that meets your business objectives, and ensures the best results. And we’re flexible—we always start by simply sitting down with you to get to know your brand, business, and research needs first, before we start designing a methodology. A great conversation with you helps us have great conversations with your consumers.

What makes a great conversation? It’s not just about the design of the study—the selection of respondents and interview or observational methods.  It’s also about the way we structure these conversations that enable us to gain insight into the lives and mindsets of your consumer, and how this affects your brand. We want people to feel comfortable when talking to us, to feel they can be candid about their feelings and behavior—in other words, to trust us!

This is how we get to know and understand your consumer—and that’s where insight comes from! This is what enables us to uncover compelling implications for your brands, communications and business, as well as to provide strategic and actionable recommendations.


Brands are the public faces of products and services—the symbol of all that a business believes in. But they are more than that! Brands are about people—the impressions, interactions, transactions, conversations, and decisions made by consumers when thinking about what to buy or use or experience.

SperlingQual uncovers their implications for your brand, and make actionable recommendations that help your brand better connect with people—to be thought of as someone they want in their lives, a brand that sells products or services they want to try, use, depend on, experience, commit to, or have fun with. Or even how the brand can become an extension of how people see themselves.


Branding projects include:



Brand and target exploratories

Brand equity

Innovation or design research approaches


Advertising, PR, social media and word of mouth, packaging—each of these pieces of a communications program influence the way people react to, think of, and feel about your brand. Effective campaigns often aim to reinforce positive messages, foster rewarding interactions with the brand, or reposition brands for changing consumer needs, cultural attitudes and economic realities.

SperlingQual has extensive experience working with brands and their communications agencies to develop successful campaigns. We work with your consumers to understand how different messages or benefits play off each other to tell a great story people can relate to, about your brand.


Our approaches to developing the strategies and tactics for successful communications include:

Creative development

Packaging development

Brand and target exploratories


Developing deep, meaningful and lasting connections with your consumers means keeping a finger on the pulse of people and culture. Often the best approach to understanding the “whys” and “hows” that underpin the way people interact with your brand is through the “whats” and “whens” and “whos”. Observational research shows us:

what people are doing in their day to day lives, and why they do it

when they interact with brands, see communications, or decide on purchases

who influences these decisions and successfully markets to them

What people do goes beyond their shopping habits—it encompasses what TV shows they watch, what magazines they read, how often they check Facebook or Twitter or check in on Foursquare, who they talk to, where they get advice, what needs or desires trigger decisions or discussions, what information they want, what obstacles they face, what criteria they use, which competitors draw their attention, where they shop, how much they spend, and so on. In other words, understanding behavior shines a light on every step in the consumer journey within your category, and toward (or away from) your brand. Life is a journey—to understand what people are really doing and why, we need to accompany them on part of that journey.

While ethnography is a very good way to understand consumers’ lives and lifestyles, shop-alongs, friend groups, diaries and homework assignments can all play a role in developing insight into consumer behavior.

When it comes to moderating — we have high standards. SperlingQual always finds a way to build a rapport with people—to laugh with them, empathize, put them at ease. At the same time, people should never get too comfortable! We challenge people to think about things in different ways, push back when answers become too pat, and probe deep to discover what’s really behind the answers they give, or the stories they tell.
SperlingQual goes deep with consumers to understand how all these touch points influence the way people perceive and engage with your brand.
SperlingQual works to understand how messages break through with people—which ring true, which spark curiosity, which surprise them...and which need further development.
SperlingQual sees understanding people’s behavior—through observation and through conversation—as a key component of developing the insight needed to develop brand and communications ideas that succeed in attracting, engaging and retaining customers.