Consulting​

Michel consults and serves as an expert witness for a variety of companies, large and small, across different industries. His consulting style is characterized by (a) his careful listening to and perceptive understanding of the client's needs, (b) his academic rigor and extensive analyses, (c) his carefully reached conclusions and practical recommendations, and (d) his timely deliverables. Below are mini case studies that illustrate some of his work for different clients.

Improving a large company's segmentation of its customers
Improving a large company's segmentation of its customers

For many years, this large international company had been segmenting its customers using a rather crude approach that is common in this particular industry. To help the company improve its products and services, our consulting team refined the company's segmentation approach in two ways. First, by reanalyzing the company's own data, we were able to show that the company actually faced five different customer segments with very distinct attitudes toward the company. Each segment needed to be addressed quite differently. Second, we proposed an entirely new approach for segmenting this company's customers based on customer lifestyles.

Did Payless cause consumer confusion and brand dilution by copying adidas' "Three Stripes" trademark?

For years, Payless had been selling athletic shoes with two or four parallel stripes on the sides that resembled the well-known three stripes on adidas shoes. On behalf of adidas, I performed a consumer-psychology and marketing-theory-based analysis of: (a) the value and strength of the adidas Three-Stripe trademark; (b) whether consumers were likely to be confused by Payless's shoes; and (c) how harmful Payless's actions were for adidas.

 

In a high-profile trial in the State of Oregon, a jury verdict was rendered in favor of adidas, resulting in record-level damages for adidas.

Analyzing the profitability of a price change
Analyzing the profitability of a price change

A B2B company was considering a substantial change in the pricing of one of its major products. In this particular industry, the products are priced in a somewhat unusual fashion and the company faced a mix of customers, making it difficult to evaluate the profitability and risks of price changes. To address this issue, our consulting team built a relatively simple mathematical model—one that could be run on a standard spreadsheet—to allow the company to estimate the net profitability of various price changes. With this model, the company was able to estimate, for instance, how much profit would come from existing versus new customers, and how much cannibalization of its own sales the company could tolerate before damaging its profitability.

Assessing the validity of a litigation survey

An online retailer ("Company A") accused another company ("Company B") of using a trade name that was confusingly similar to Company A's name.  In its defense, Company B argued that Company A's trade name was generic and therefore not protectable by law. In support of this view, Company B submitted the results of a consumer survey that allegedly showed that consumers perceived Company A's name to be generic. On behalf of Company A, I evaluated the methodological soundness of this survey and the validity of its conclusion. I identified serious flaws in this survey, showing that each of these flaws distorted the results in favor of Company B's position. I concluded that the survey was invalid.

 

An abitrator ruled in favor of Company A.

© 2013 by Michel Tuan Pham