Stone-Olafson

Understanding people. It's what we do.

Customers, employees, shoppers, voters, stakeholders - they're people, not data. We understand them; we get them, and we understand how you can turn what people think, what people do, and what people believe into your advantage.

At Stone Olafson, we believe in going well beyond data traditionally collected by market research companies. We are a better advisor.

If you need to understand what people think about your organization we can help.

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Our Clients

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We've walked in your shoes.

Clients are people too, and we understand what they require, what they want and we can make their jobs easier.

Our people have been in your shoes and know that a good partner doesn't just deliver the data. They make meaningful results work for you by solving problems, leveraging opportunities and informing good strategies.

Our client relationships are enduring because we are easy to work with and deliver meaningful outcomes for our clients who see value in our services.

We're proud of our clients.

Stone Olafson has a depth of experience with companies and organizations in a wide range of industries and sectors. For example: energy and utilities, technology, travel and tourism, hospitality and attractions, public affairs, communications, and of course, every type of retail business you can think of.


What We Do

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We focus on what works.

Our clients are best served by delivering meaningful outcomes from every investment in research. We're not churning out reams of irrelevant data or pushing the latest branded tool on our clients.

We cut through the jargon of complex research to focus on what really works and what you really need to do next.

The method behind our madness.

Getting the results you need shouldn't be complicated or difficult. We are dedicated to making it simple, easy - even interesting.

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Research >

It's not a four-letter word.

Nor is it a synonym for 'mystery'. Our clients come to us for custom research solutions to help them with all sorts of situations.

And every one of those research situations is unique.

From conducting large-scale research with thousands of customers, to understanding the opinions of a few key stakeholders: our focus is on delivering research solutions that work.

We'll work with you to get to the heart of your business challenge, and then design the research solution that will get the results you're looking for.

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Plan >

We work within your organization to help plan and manage your research, using our knowledge of the industry to your advantage.

That frees you up to do what you do best: focus on growing your business.

Think of us as your internal advisors. We identify what's needed, then help you get it. And that's how you can be sure you're getting the best value for your research investment.

Calgary Stampede Case Study
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Advise >

Data is a commodity: you may have more than you realize. Chances are you don't need to conduct more research. You just need someone to help make sense of what you already have. You need someone who has been in your shoes and understands the issues.

Our team brings the analysis and insight from your existing research and data to help you develop strategies that work.

Stone Olafson provides the type of advice and counsel few others can match. Clients count on our advice to help them with everything from conducting marketing agency reviews and completing research audits, to organizational effectiveness planning and measuring.

All of which are research tools that we use to get to one outcome: the right advice and direction for the client.


Our Team

We are a team who understands people.

We care most about taking what people say, think and do and making it meaningful and actionable for clients. Each member of our team has more than a dozen years of direct experience delivering reliable research outcomes and advising clients. Some have even been clients themselves and understand what it takes to make research work for an organization.

Tim Olafson
Contact Me
Previously

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs at Angus Reid Strategies
President, Ipsos Observer
Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Market Research West, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

Air Canada, Calgary Stampede, City of Calgary, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Evans Hunt, American Airlines

Learn More About Tim
Chris Ferneyhough
Contact Me
Previously

Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Calgary, Vision Critical
Vice President, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

Blackberry, Telus, WMS, AMD, AT&T, ENMAX, Mawer, American Eagle

Learn More About Chris
Kristine Neil
Contact Me
Previously

Vice President, Vision Critical
Customer Marketing Manager, Kraft Canada
Director of Marketing, Cott Beverages Inc.

Client Experience

Princess Auto, SaskPower, ATB Investor Services, Husky, Mark’s, Calgary Stampede, SaskEnergy, SaskTel

Learn More About Kristine
Mathew Stone
Contact Me
Previously

Organizational Effectiveness Manager, Calgary Stampede
Consumer Insights and Brand Manager, Calgary Stampede
Senior Research Manager, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

Calgary Stampede, ENMAX, Calgary Co-op, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Arts Development, Calgary Economic Development, Husky, Long View, Travelodge, YWCA, Calgary Chamber

Learn More About Mathew
Kim Griffin
Contact Me
Previously

Associate Vice-President, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

HRIA, AGLC, Eye Recommend, Calgary Co-op, Calgary Stampede

Learn More About Kim
Courtney Levins
Contact Me
Previously

Senior Research Manager, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

Points.com, Calgary Stampede, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, OnStar, Cadillac Fairview, Metro

Learn More About Courtney
Gillian Grantham
Contact Me
Previously

Associate Vice President, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

Calgary Co-op, Calgary Chamber, Calgary Stampede, Calgary International Film Festival, Forzani Group, Telus

Learn More About Gillian
Jason Walker
Contact Me
Previously

Senior Manager Customer and Market Insights, AGLC
Vice President, Ipsos-Reid

Client Experience

AGLC, GTECH, BCLC, InterProvincial Lottery Corp, Texus Lottery, ENMAX, Calgary Co-op, Government of Canada, CryptoLogic, Horse Racing Alberta, Husky

Learn More About Jason

Contact us

Understanding people. It's what we do.

Chris Ferneyhough
403.402.9725
Gillian Grantham
403.703.4894
Kim Griffin
403.650.9520
Courtney Levins
403.926.6396
Kristine Neil
403.669.3326
Tim Olafson
403.605.0904
Mathew Stone
403.926.3591
Jason Walker
403.404.1479
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Services for every situation

We'll help you look far beyond the numbers to gain real insight into the attitudes and motivations of the people who will shape the future of your business.

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Case study: The Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is a beloved, world-class brand. Over the course of the year, the organization will host over 4 million visitors at more than 1,000 events - ranging from rodeos to rock concerts, the cattle show to royal visits, conventions and practically every major trade show in town. If it happens in Calgary, it happens at Stampede Park.

The Stampede as an organization maintains its connection to Calgary by constantly working to understand what people want; to make sure they're getting it; and to have a clear idea of how the organization is regarded by Calgarians.

Stone Olafson serves as the internal consumer insights team for the Calgary Stampede. As trusted advisors, our team works directly with executive and senior leaders to manage and plan all their research throughout the year.

Even more significantly, we are trusted counselors who provide advice and input at all levels and on a variety of important initiatives, from long-range strategic planning and employee engagement, to guest engagement, entertainment programming, and marketing planning.

Every year the Stampede wins accolades for the quality of its marketing and programming. But the biggest reward comes when record numbers of visitors attended the most recent Stampede, and the organization is recognized as an enduring brand in Calgary.

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Chris Ferneyhough

Chris is intelligent, perceptive, and has an incredible ability to get work done well. He'll never be accused of being the life of a party, but when he speaks, people listen. Collecting information - the numbers - is where most researchers stop. Chris is a numbers interpreter, not afraid to offer his counsel on what the numbers mean, where they're pointing and what opportunities and pitfalls may be hidden within them.

And he doesn't sugarcoat it.

With some 15 years experience in the industrial and corporate battlefields of Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, Chris has done everything from concept testing to loyalty research. He knows what information the client needs to help with serious decision-making, and knows what questions to ask to make sure he gets it. From ad testing to moderating online focus groups, and from in-depth interviewing to more subtle projects like asking why a customer would make a particular purchase decision… without actually asking - he's demonstrated an ability to do it all.

A tech geek at heart, Chris has naturally gravitated towards the technology sector, but his credentials reach far beyond. He has handled challenging and complex projects for some of the biggest brands in the energy, lotteries, gaming, retail and not-for-profit sectors.

Chris is a master of using information to achieve results. He makes it happen, he gets it done, and he makes his clients' lives easy.

That's the way it should be.

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Kristine Neil

Kristine's passion is her greatest strength as a professional. It permeates and infuses everything she does to help her clients shine.

She's been described as "bi-analytical", which means she's one of the few in the business who's truly proficient in tackling a business challenge whether it requires a rigorous quantitative or personal qualitative approach.

Having spent more than 12 years on the client side working for multi-national and tier-one brand companies, she's thoroughly familiar with the pressures facing marketers, strategists, and planners responsible for the health of a brand. Yes, she's definitely walked in the client's shoes.

Before coming to Stone Olafson, Kristine spent four years as the vice-president of research with Vision Critical. In those years she designed and conducted consumer and business-to-business research for clients in industries such as retail and consumer goods, technology and telecommunications, energy, health, gaming, financial, agriculture, and not-for-profit.

(Which, in case you weren't counting, is basically every industry currently driving the Western Canadian economy.)

With the heart of a client and the mind of a researcher, she finds the answers. Whether its an advertising and communications challenge, or understanding product development and consumer experience, Kristine knows how to get the real answers and (more importantly) how to use them.

Kristine develops intelligent, considered, lasting solutions: that's why she has lasting relationships with her clients. They know her, and they trust her.

And that pretty much says it all.

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Courtney Levins

With a background in psychology, to say Courtney understands people would be an understatement. She’s gone to great lengths to learn more about them – global lengths. Having spent a lot of time travelling and working in other parts of the world, Courtney brings a different perspective to her work.

Courtney has contributed to a wide variety of projects across North America and in other parts of the world. What makes her so popular with clients is her desire to deliver insights that clients can run with. She has a genuine interest in learning what makes people tick in a broad swath of sectors – from retail, grocery and consumer packaged goods to non-profit, tourism, and energy - and then delivering what she learns to the client in a meaningful way.

Courtney understands that getting the answers to business questions can be hard enough – and great client service goes a long way to making the research process easier and a whole lot more fun.

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Gillian Grantham

Gillian is organized, detailed and methodical in all aspects of research management from design to reporting. But not to be confused with a really smart robot, what truly motivates her is understanding people: what drives their behaviour, what they value, and why they think what they do.

In her 12 years as a market research professional, Gillian’s experience has spanned a variety of study types such as branding and reputation research, issue management, policy development, concept testing, usage and attitude, customer satisfaction, as well as advertising testing and tracking. It doesn’t matter what industry or sector you’re talking about, Gillian thrives on figuring out why people do what they do and how that can help her clients. She has conducted a broad range of both qualitative and quantitative research studies for clients in government, private and not-for-profit groups. She also managed an extensive monthly provincial omnibus study for clients across a broad spectrum of industries and a syndicated, industry-focused public affairs study published quarterly for a leading national market research firm in Canada. She’s a versatile consultant who can take the details and translate them into something clients can use.

Outgoing and a self-described “people-person,” it’s only natural that Gillian truly loves to figure out the intricacies of how people think. Her passion for delving into the consumer experience is complemented by what some may call “Type A personality” or what Gillian simply refers to as attention to detail. Priding herself on leaving no loose ends, she is responsive to client needs, digging deep into the data to find the detailed insights that will provide next steps, solve the marketing problem, and ultimately drive the business.

Friendly, well considered business solutions with no detail spared. Congratulations, you’ve just found what you’ve been looking for.

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Kim Griffin

When you meet Kim Griffin you'll notice she talks fast, is quick to laugh and doesn't miss a thing. Bringing eight years of research experience to Stone-Olafson, Kim has had more conversations with North America's gaming and entertainment consumers than anyone. She frequently traveled in-market to gain a better understanding of the research required, and to experience first-hand the diversity of people who make up every cultural, economic and political region of North America.

While a Bachelor of International Relations may not be an intuitive first step towards a career in research, Kim found her way into quantitative analysis through her personal interest in political public opinion polling. When she realized her natural ability to turn raw data into something useful could be a career, she was hooked.

Driven by the challenge of interpreting the story of market research, Kim worked her way up through Ipsos Reid ultimately becoming Associate Vice President of the Lottery and Gaming Division. She developed custom studies for lotteries such as AGLC, WCLC, the Florida Lottery, Minnesota Lottery and the New York State Lottery. She also developed and guided Ipsos' annual Emerging Markets Syndicated study through five years of publication, and has now rounded out her career with travel and tourism, retail, energy and public opinion research.

Kim has experience with focus group moderation, segmentation tracking, product testing, attitudes and usage studies, syndicated studies and analytics with specialized knowledge of the 18 - 34 year old crowd. She is a collaborator who also happens to love lists. Perhaps not surprisingly, she feels just as comfortable with qualitative or quantitative research methodologies. Simply put: she's a feelings and numbers type of gal.

Bring your most challenging and problematic issues forward. You'll get an approachable, knowledgeable business partner who will be more than happy to raise the bar on what you thought research could accomplish.

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Tim Olafson

Tim is a cool guy. Not cool as in hip (although he tries), but cool as in unflappable. He's the kind of person you want at the table when your organization is under pressure; when you're the decision-maker upon whom so much depends; or when you just really need someone to come up with a solution that works.

As a noted research leader, Tim's steadying advice and counsel is well honed within Canada and internationally. He directed Canada's first-ever election polling program conducted entirely online, and it's no coincidence it proved to be the most accurate poll in the country.

Delivering executive leadership at Angus Reid Strategies and Ipsos-Reid for close to 20 years, Tim has provided insightful guidance to major brands, all levels of government, start-ups and not-for-profits.

Whether the client is RIM, Dell, Air Canada, ENMAX, the premier of a province, or a publicly funded NGO (we aren't making this up - he's worked for all these, and more), Tim's cool and collected ability to quietly listen and then provide the perfectly astute and practical advice needed is second to none. And while he's at it, he'll probably crack a few jokes. You don't have to laugh, but some people find him funny.

He's concise, perceptive and thorough, with an instinctive ability to find creative solutions on the spot, and in the heat of the moment.

Problem Solved.

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Mathew Stone

Outcomes, and how information can best be used to achieve the client's business goals, are what drive Mathew. He's a fixer who gets to the heart of a problem fast, then just as quickly recommends how best to solve it. He works from the belief that research is not about collecting numbers and providing reams of charts (he hates math): it's really all about engaging audiences.

Over the past 12 years, he's worked with clients in branding and marketing; package design; product and issues testing; advertising effectiveness; performance management; public affairs consulting; and organizational effectiveness. Having worked on the client side of branding and marketing for half his career, he knows his clients want more than just information: they want action and advice on how best to tackle the challenges they are facing.

Mathew has worked with grocers, hotels, museums, industry associations, tourism attractions, not-for-profits and ad agencies. He's been called upon for strategic advice by clients in the energy industry, NGOs and governments. And he helped lead the re-development of one of Canada's most iconic brands, the Calgary Stampede.

A convincing and engaging communicator, he always delivers objective answers to hard questions. No stalling. No BS. Clear, simple answers in a light (some might even say 'fun') and engaging way.

He believes that delivering the right information shouldn't be complex, hard or painful. Refreshing, right?

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Jason Walker

Jason loves helping businesses grow. Talking to leadership, employees, consumers or data analytics, he does whatever it takes to tell the whole story and guide a business to the best decision. Jason is a champion of evidence based decision making and takes a holistic approach to every business challenge.

With leadership experience as both a consultant and a client, Jason recognizes the importance of understanding all perspectives. In his 15 years’ experience in the research and strategy world (most recently building and leading a Customer & Market Insights team at the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission) he has worked with businesses across North America – and a few further abroad as well. All that to say – he’s got a very diverse background tackling challenges in different places and this fuels his approach of helping his clients look at a business challenge or opportunity from many different angles to arrive at the best solution. Any challenge, any place, any time...work is a great distraction for any Edmonton Oilers fan.

Jason is especially fond of the hospitality and entertainment sectors, and not just because they throw the best parties. Whether it is creating a new market or growing market share you can bet on Jason to provide you with the right direction...did we mention he is an expert on gambling and lotteries?

#whateverittakes