NEWS27 May 2016

Obituary: Jackie French

News People UK

Jackie French, co-founder of Cooper Research & Marketing, died on the 14th May after a short illness, she was 79 years old.

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Jackie French, with Peter Cooper ( 1936-2010 ), were co-founders of Cooper Research & Marketing Ltd (CRAM International, now QRi Consulting), which they started in Manchester in 1968.

Jackie was a pioneer in the UK qualitative research industry, who juggled between running a business, being a researcher, as well as a wife and mother of three children. A woman of her time, and an inspiration to other women, she commanded respect in boardrooms around the world in a male dominated era. While Peter was often seen as the inspiration and genius behind CRAM, it was Jackie who was the driving force and organiser behind the business operation, as well as being an outstanding qualitative researcher in her own right.

Jackie worked together with Peter and other CRAM Researchers, including Dr. Alan Branthwaite and Gillian Broadbent, in developing CRAM’s unique psychological approaches to qualitative research, including, Extended Creativity Groups (ECGs®), and pioneering and developing the use of Projective Techniques and QualiQuant®.

Jackie’s empathetic and creative approach, coupled with her academic rigour, enabled her to produce clear evidence to support her conclusions. This was a key issue in the early days of qualitative research, as it distanced itself from the less robust methods of motivational research, and why her research and analysis was so respected.

During her career Jackie worked on a wide range of brands for multinational companies, including: Rowntree, Ferrero, Beecham, Unilever, Parker pens, Schweppes, COI, BBC, Max Factor, General Foods and Reckitt & Coleman.

As a moderator Jackie’s empathetic, creative and engaging style encouraged respondents to feel comfortable and relaxed. Her approach was very intuitive, and sensitive to the underlying nuances behind what respondents said, as well as what they were hesitating to say. Respondents and clients alike felt totally at ease with her down-to-earth, everyday, straightforward style. She was a friendly companion and advisor.  This intentional move away from a more clinical style that had typified motivational research was another of the keys in the advent of modern qualitative research.

Jackie played a pivotal role in CRAM’s decision to expand into the US.  She herself eventually moved to New York and became managing director of CRAM Inc.  American clients respected the direct approach of this ‘English woman in New York’ as she engaged them with CRAM’s in-depth qualitative techniques. Jackie eventually retired from research in 2003.

Working with Jackie always triggered new lines of thought, insights into consumers’ needs, and it was always a genuine learning experience for those fortunate enough to have worked alongside this inspirational woman.

Jackie died in South Devon in May 2016, leaving three children and five grand-children.

Her funeral is on Monday 6th June at 2pm at St Petrox Church, Dartmouth, Devon.