NEWS11 January 2024

Obituary: Dr Alan Branthwaite

News People UK

Dr Alan Branthwaite died on Sunday 26th November 2023 at the age of 77 after a long illness. 

Dr Alan Branthwaite

Alan touched the lives of many people both in the research industry and his former colleagues and students at Keele University. His gentle and inspiring academic rigour flowed over into his interviewing, training and management style, where people were immediately put at ease.

Originally from County Durham, Alan worked for many years at CRAM (Cooper Research & Marketing), Millward Brown, then latterly as founder and managing director at Ignition Marketing Research Consultancy, and consultant director at QRi Consulting, before he retired a few years ago. He was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend to many, and will be sorely missed.

Alan was a highly experienced practitioner in qualitative market research, as well as being an academic psychologist. He conducted qualitative market research studies for major international companies in around 45 countries around the world, sometimes involving up to 20 countries in the same cross-cultural project.

Alan studied Psychology at University of Manchester from the age of 17, where Peter Cooper was his lecturer, and went on to receive his PhD at Cardiff University.

Alan was a founding director at CRAM in 1968, working closely with Peter Cooper and Jackie French for many years, as well as having an academic position as a lecturer at the University of Keele in the Department of Psychology.

Alan wrote many important papers and articles for IJMR, QMRIJ, MRS and Esomar, as well as academic publications. Landmark papers included Value for money of Qualitative Research (Esomar 1977 ), and Analgesic Effects of Branding in the Treatment of Headaches (British Medical Journal 1981 ), both with Peter Cooper.

He also wrote Nothing new Under the Sun (IJMR 2000 – winner of the David Winton Award for Best Technical Paper) with Gordon Pincott, The Power of Qualitative Research in the era of Social Media (Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal – Emerald 2011 ) and In Search of Excellence: the influence of Peter Cooper on Qualitative Research (IJMR, 2012 ) both with Simon Patterson. A full bibliography is available on request.

As part of his work at Keele University, Alan co-edited and contributed to two important books: Children Growing Up (Open University Press, 1985 ) with Don Rogers, and The Applied Psychologist (Open University Press, 1989 ) with James Hartley.

Alan was director of qualitative research and development at Millward Brown ( 1990-2000 ), where he was awarded an Atticus prize on four occasions by WPP for "original published thinking in marketing services" related to qualitative research and advertising.

Alan was a chartered psychologist and fellow of the British Psychological Society. He was also a member of MRS, Esomar and AQR.

Many people have paid tribute to Alan, describing him as an inspiration, a deep thinker and a gentleman, with a great sense of humour. His memorial service took place in Cheshire on the 18th December 2023.

Alan loved his family, cars and music. He leaves his wife Maggie, daughter Sarah and sister Marion. For those wishing to make a donation, the family ask for it to be given to Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

By Simon Patterson