case Studies

EMC Research offers a unique understanding of how to apply research findings to strategic decisions. Our research professionals have been involved in hundreds of demanding political and marketing battles. Take a look at the following case studies to learn more about some of the work EMC Research has done. 

Brand Research

EMC Research has helped dozens of organizations, including private companies, public institutions, non-profits, and government agencies, develop and analyze highly effective marketing and public outreach programs. Using a variety of research tactics and methods, EMC Research has provided CEOs, Executive Directors, Presidents, and others with the knowledge they need to increase their market share, improve their products, target their outreach, focus their messaging, and improve customer satisfaction.

Brand research projects take on a variety of shapes and forms, depending on the organization, industry, customer base, location, and product. Our team of research professionals have diverse backgrounds in communications, marketing, politics, and academics, providing a keen insight into the research for our clients in these critical areas. 

EMC Research has conducted dozens of brand research projects, including:

  • National and regional telephone surveys to measure market penetration of marketing campaigns and new product launches
  • National online surveys to measure public perceptions of a city or region
  • Focus groups to determine the effectiveness of customer service programs
  • Mail surveys to gather feedback from customers and members to help enhance products and services
  • Intercept surveys to gain insight into the travel habits and preferences for travelers at airports, train stations, and bus depots   

Specific examples include: 


EMC Research has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on a number of brand research projects including a series of nationwide telephone surveys to measure the market share, ad awareness, and product penetration for a new over-the-counter medication.

EMC Research conducted a quarterly baseline survey, as well as weekly tracking surveys to help GSK determine where their marketing efforts were most effective, whether or not they were reaching their target demographics, and how they could adjust their strategies to improve their market performance.  

San Jose International Airport

EMC Research provides on-going market research for the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. The objectives are to gather opinions on customer service across a range of airport services, understand how different people use the airport, and what improvements are desired. The project includes intercept surveys with travelers in the airport, focus groups with local travelers, a survey of residents neighboring the airport, and executive interviews with travel agents.

The airport has recently begun a large-scale renovation, which will incorporate many improvements that will address the visitor concerns revealed by our research. Once the renovations are complete in 2010, more opinion research is planned to track satisfaction and use at the remodeled facility.

Social Marketing

EMC Research has conducted dozens of social marketing studies. These projects have involved a wide array of clients and a diverse set of subjects. EMC Research has helped public agencies, non-profits, and other organizations promote their specific causes. Through our work, people across the country are recycling more, enjoying a cleaner environment, seeing critical wetlands and ecosystems restored, and many previously uninsured people now have health insurance. 

Some of the topics covered by EMC Research’s social marketing projects include:

  • Improving public transportation
  • Enhancing and promoting local recycling programs
  • Developing new fundraising strategies for non-profit organizations
  • Increasing access to affordable healthcare
  • Raising environmental awareness
  • Promoting the restoration of delicate ecosystems

Specific examples include:

Sound Transit

Sound Transit is the regional transit agency for the Seattle metropolitan area. The geography and population spread of the area means Sound Transit has a unique set of challenges in serving commuters throughout the region.

Sound Transit has turned to EMC Research time and again to conduct a wide variety of research projects, including rider intercepts to measure customer satisfaction and desired changes, investigating support and desire for expanded transit options, and understanding voter opinion on the agency’s performance.

King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program

King County’s Integrated Pesticide Management Program wanted to understand residents’ attitudes and behaviors regarding lawn care, with a goal of reducing pesticide and weed and feed product use. Using the results of a baseline telephone survey, the County developed a series of Natural Lawn Care informational postcards, conducted Natural Lawn Care workshops, and set up Natural Lawn Care Model Neighborhoods in key areas to get the word out.

EMC Research then conducted tracking surveys to assess the effectiveness of the County’s outreach efforts, including measuring specific recall of the various elements of the outreach program and testing the effectiveness of outreach efforts in changing overall attitudes and behaviors with regard to natural lawn care.

Save The Bay

EMC Research worked with Save The Bay on a telephone survey of attitudes about, and funding for, San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration. This survey was conducted among voters in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The research helped Save The Bay develop public and private outreach strategies with the goal of making the San Francisco Bay cleaner and healthier, and to improve the sense of connection between residents and the Bay.

The research revealed that local voters deeply value a clean and environmentally-sustainable San Francisco Bay.  Research also revealed that voters are willing to invest in wetlands restoration and other San Francisco Bay ecosystem improvements. Save The Bay continues to use the research results to reach out to public officials and build consensus. Follow up research will help Save The Bay measure the progress and impacts of their efforts.    

Voter approved revenue measures and candidate campaigns

EMC Research has worked on hundreds of political campaigns, including voter approved revenue measures (parcel taxes, sales taxes, assessment districts, utility users taxes, transient occupancy taxes, etc.) and candidate elections at all levels, from City Council, to U.S. Congress, to President of the United States.

EMC Research understands the unique circumstances involved with conducting voter research. Whether it’s a school measure, money for transportation projects, or a need for additional general fund revenues, EMC Research has helped countless districts, cities, counties, and campaigns improve their financial situation and provide better services for their students, residents, and constituents. 

Candidates for elected office know that EMC Research can be trusted to provide them with honest, objective feedback about what it will take for them to be successful. Through hundreds of hard fought battles, EMC Research has provided candidates with the tools they needed to perfect their messaging, target their voters, and efficiently allocate their campaign resources. 

Specific examples include:

Mark DeSaulnier

EMC Research worked with the campaign team of Mark DeSaulnier on his successful bid to become a California State Representative in 2006. DeSauliner won a hard-fought battle in a competitive Democratic primary against the spouse of the current, but termed-out, incumbent. After running a successful primary campaign, DeSaulnier went on to win the Assembly seat in the November 2006 General Election. 

EMC Research has continued its partnership with the DeSaulnier campaign as he seeks to win a seat in the California Senate in 2008.

Mendocino-Lake Community College District

In 2006, Mendocino College was faced with the prospect of significant cuts in state funding. At the same time, they had many old and outdated facilities that were in need of repair. EMC Research worked closely with the College to design an effective and efficient telephone survey to test voter support for a general obligation bond to fund facility improvements.   

The survey showed strong voter support, both for the College and for the proposed measure. Using messages tested in the survey, the College moved forward with a campaign and placed the measure on the ballot, where it was subsequently approved by voters. 

Alameda County Transportation Authority

Leading up to the general election, EMC Research conducted extensive opinion research for Alameda County’s Measure B transportation sales tax renewal. Focus groups and telephone polling was used to test reactions to the proposed plan, explore voter attitudes toward transportation and traffic, and hear from Alameda County voters on what they felt was necessary to relieve congestion in the County. 

Using ballot language developed through the focus groups, Alameda County Measure B drew support from 81% of voters in a poll conducted in June. In the November general election, Measure B was approved with a stunning 81.5% of the vote.       

Public policy

On a number of occasions, clients have come to EMC Research for help to develop strategies for public outreach, lobbying, marketing, voter persuasion, and efforts related to a specific public policy objective.  Our work has helped inform state legislators about critical decisions regarding the public education system, helped public water agencies advance water conservation and water recycling efforts, helped counties develop comprehensive transportation plans, helped cities adopt and amend their General Plans, and helped public healthcare systems improve and expand their product offerings to provide health insurance to uninsured families and individuals. 

Some of the public policy topics our research has covered include:

  • Healthcare
  • Water
  • Education
  • Land use planning
  • Environmental policy
  • Transportation planning
  • Parks and recreation
  • Public libraries

Specific examples include:

Children NOW

EMC Research partnered with Children NOW to launch a statewide study of the public education system in California.  The statewide telephone survey revealed a number of interesting findings, notably that the majority of voters feel the public schools overall are performing poorly, but the public schools in their own area are doing quite well. 

Research also showed strong public interest in proposed adjustments and enhancements to the public school system. Children NOW continues to utilize this research in their lobbying efforts with California government officials. Follow up research will help Children NOW measure the progress of their efforts over time. 

Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System

EMC Research has an on-going research partnership with Santa Clara County’s health care delivery system, which includes a hospital, clinics, mental health and public health agencies. EMC Research provides strategic direction on targeting, message strategy, social marketing tactics, communications efforts, business development, and overall strategic planning. In many instances, we have found creative methods for capturing data from populations that are traditionally difficult to reach, such as low-income families, recent immigrants, and non-English speaking households.  

Projects have included: patient satisfaction intercept surveys at hospital and clinic sites; patient and non-patient focus groups; multi-lingual surveys and qualitative studies; studies of uninsured residents; focus groups on sensitive topics such as injection drug use, syphilis, and heath coverage for undocumented workers; and, health plan member satisfaction surveys.