This firm began operations 30 years ago, in May of 1987: three people working out of the small basement of our founder’s home in a New York City suburb. We had no clients and no prospects except for two small projects that Lou Harris (the chairman at our previous employer) had asked us to finish up and was willing to pay us for. We worked enormously hard and we were incredibly lucky. Over time the company has expanded and retrenched with the economy; colleagues and clients and suppliers have come and gone; and technology has dramatically changed the way we do our work. In many ways the only constant has been change.
But a few things haven’t changed a bit; they are just as alive today as they were the day we started. They are . . .
1. An abiding interest in the academic disciplines directly (and indirectly) associated with our work, as they apply to the real-world business issues facing our clients. The academic literature is rich with insights for the work we do. That it can be as dry as dirt doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.
2. A commitment to excellence in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, because each answers questions the other cannot, and because our clients at one time or another (and often simultaneously) need answers requiring both methodologies.
3. Proficiency in research across the full range of our clients’ stakeholder groups: consumers, businesses of all sizes, employees, etc., because nearly all our clients have a wide range of stakeholder groups.
4. Expertise across a broad spectrum of industries, because while industry-specific focus is necessary for great research, it’s not sufficient: insights gained from one industry and applied to another simply raise the depth of insight. There is great value in the cross-fertilization of ideas.
5. Dedication to outstanding client service, because even the most well-conceived study design, rigorous execution, and action-oriented analysis aren’t sufficient for great work. Being responsive to client needs and concerns, completing work on-time and within-budget, and going the extra mile for clients and colleagues are necessary if you want the long-term client relationships we seek.
6. A commitment to working with great people, because without outstanding people none of the above is possible. We have worked hard over the years to find, attract, and hold on to exceptional people—people with the right skill set, but even more importantly, people who are enthusiastic about the work we do, who appreciate what it means to be in a client service business, and who can contribute to our chemistry and to the quality of the relationships we want to build with our clients. A colleague here once said that the most interesting thing about Taylor was that you didn’t have a chance to be offered a position here (or to fit in and be successful here) unless you had a significant quirk about you. We love that.
So this is what we believe in, why we do this, what matters to us; and this business philosophy is the same today as it was three decades ago. It’s what we want to be as a company. It’s who we want to be as people. We greatly appreciate the confidence our clients have shown in our work, and we are committed to living up to that confidence by doing the very best work we can do, every time out.