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About Us

We are a marketing research and strategic consulting team who draw on our skills in traditional consumer research, organizational process design and facilitation, and data storytelling to help our clients identify, express, and achieve their goals.

We have extensive experience with research in media and entertainment, having conducted hundreds of focus groups and in-depth interviews with media users across the country and for a variety of clients. Our clients have used this research to refine content, inform content and marketing strategy, test the health of their brands, and understand consumer behavior across media platforms and touchpoints.

In the video sector specifically, we have fielded qualitative and quantitative research among viewers for major broadcast organizations, national cable networks, public media organizations, and a number of local television stations and content producers. We have conducted pilot testing, talent screenings, program diagnostics, as well as foundational, attitudinal, and behavioral research.

City Square has also worked extensively in the education and not-for-profit sectors. Our portfolio also includes experience in primary research related to marketing and enrollment, user experience, program and product evaluation, alumni activation, market trends, and strategic planning.

 

Our Team


 

Our Clients

While we’d love to showcase the logos of our clients, we’ve made it a practice not to publish our client list. (Strategic work is often confidential work!)  You can rest assured, though, that our list is both impressive and diverse, and we’d be happy to share our references when we speak or meet live.

Some things our clients say about us:

They follow through and deliver.
Many consultants are good at being either strategic or tactical, but CSA is good at both.
They are masters of the details and nothing gets overlooked. They are able to read between the lines and pick up on the nuances that the process and research is revealing.
They coordinate expertly but are also flexible and adaptable.
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Our History

I have yet to meet a youngster who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, said "I want to go into marketing research." Indeed, the best marketing research professionals I know came to the business from sociology, political science, psychology, literature — even philosophy!

I did my first bit of marketing research in 1992 on a contract basis while I was still teaching philosophy at a small Catholic college in Boston. I was delivered 24 hours worth of videotape consisting of regular folks talking about what attracts them to and repels them from the shows that appear on primetime television. "See what sense you can make of it!" was the assignment given me by my first marketing research mentor. I must have done something of worth, because a year later I was working for the Taylor Research and Consulting Group in Portsmouth (NH).

During my time at Taylor, I had the opportunity to cultivate skills in-group facilitation, research design, business management, and — naturally — research analysis. In 1997 — being constitutionally ill-equipped to take direction from anyone — I left Taylor and launched my own research practice.

Instead of christening the practice with my own name, I decided to give it the name of the section of Boston's Charlestown neighborhood in which I was residing at the time: City Square. I was impressed by the way in which this neighborhood for a period spanning more than 300 years nurtured spirits as diverse and creative as that of Samuel Morse (of Morse Code fame), Elizabeth Foster Goose (yes, the Mother Goose), and John Harvard (of college and brew house fame).

CSA’s logo when it was established in July 1997

CSA’s logo when it was established in July 1997

It seemed to me that the city square was the perfect metaphor for what we do in marketing research: A wide variety of ordinary people gather in that unique place, not just to exchange goods and services, but insights and ideas as well! Those insights and ideas, in turn, shape the decisions that leaders of all kinds — business, political, and charitable — make and determine the direction of the culture.

Since 1997, our business has grown, contracted, and grown again. We have moved from the spare bedroom of my old apartment, to an office share in Boston’s South End, to Brookline Village, and then to Central Square in Cambridge. And our work has become increasingly diverse—both in terms of the industries we serve and the work our clients ask us to do with them. But, in the end, the history of City Square is a story of people collaborating — clients and vendors, principal and associates, consumers and businesses, for-profit organizations and not-for-profit ones — to chart a path toward greater prosperity and a continually improving quality of life.

—Chris Schiavone, Founder and Principal