A passion for uncovering and discovering consumer insight

Denise Larson

President & Co-Founder | Thinking Right LLC, LEAP Media Invesments

Denise has a passion for uncovering and discovering consumer insight. Her career path has allowed her to explore many categories utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research which she believes reveals the “heart and soul” behind business issues and ultimately, solutions that can be developed based on sound strategy leading to business results.

Denise began her business career in advertising/marketing at Young&Rubicam in 1976 in the Qualitative Research Dept. From early on, she has been in the role of consumer “advocate” where she has combined both her analytical research skills with consumer insight to develop effective strategic direction and communication platforms for many Blue Chip corporations. Denise was at Y&R from 1976-1985 returning in 1991-1993 and again in 1997-2001, where she was asked to re-join as EVP, Director of Strategic Planning and Research of The Lord Group—a Y&R subsidiary.

Denise worked on the client side at Kraft from 1993-1997 where she was responsible for research management of the Bakery and Bread Divisions. She returned as a research consultant to Kraft from 2000-2001 working in the Coffee Division, which included onboarding Starbucks to the Kraft corporate structure. The transition from Agency to Client provided an additional perspective and dimension to her career with direct responsibility for the brands business results based on consumer and business acumen. Both her qualitative and quantitative skills were further honed at Kraft with “hands on” experience in segmentation, modeling, sales forecasting, ethnographies, geodemographic clustering, big data, etc.

In 2001, Denise was asked to join the Kaplan-Thaler group as the first Director of Strategic Planning and Research

(EVP Level) where she was responsible for effective marketing and advertising research programs including the AFLAC duck campaign, Coldwell Banker and P&G. As part of her day-to-day responsibilities, she played a key role in new business presentations—writing and presenting—helping to win new accounts with consumer insights as the basis for creative development and business building programs. KTG was a new and small Agency (30 people) in 2001. By 2003—with over 150 employees–the Agency was purchased by Publicis Corporation.

Denise’s client and business sector list is quite extensive as she has worked in Strategic Planning and Research for J. Walter Thompson (1985-1989) and Grey Advertising (1989-1991). Her experience includes both domestic and global clients where she has worked across virtually all product categories. Some of her major strategic accomplishments have been for corporations including IBM, Prodigy, Merrill Lynch, Novartis, Yahoo and Kraft.

In 2003, she opened her own research company (Thinking Right, LLC) because she developed a right-brain research technique based on the quantification of consumer Emotional Attachment to brands, media properties and content. The approach and technology received US patent status in August, 2013. (US Patent #8,521,590 B1). She co-founded LEAP Media Investments applying the Emotional Attachment approach to companies including Microsoft, J&J, Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, Discovery Networks as well as many other business sectors. Denise holds an MBA (Magna Cum Laude) from Adelphi University (1983). Her professional awards include Academic Excellence awards from Philip Morris (1975), The Wall Street Journal (1976) and the 4A’s (1982). She received client awards for “Excellence in Marketing Communications” from Kodak (1986) and from Kraft (1994). She holds 3 EFFIE awards for effective branding/marketing on Kodak, Burger King and American Home Foods and won a Gold Effie for the AFLAC duck campaign (2002). She is currently a member of the Advertising Research Foundation and on the Global Advisory Board of the Wharton Future of Advertising Consortium.

Denise is available as a coach in the Media and Strategy/Planning modules


Modules this coach presents


Strategy & Planning