Consultant Profile
Kenneth Erickson

Ken Erickson is an ethnographer and market researcher who focuses on new product development, market testing, advertising and related fields. He is a Principal in Pacific Ethnography, a consumer and product research firm. Erickson began applying ethnography in education and the human services. He created the Center for Ethnographic Research at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1997; a few years later, he formed Ethnographic Research Group to conduct ethnographic research to help companies understand consumers and develop new products. His firm worked with Epson America, Dell, Cargill, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis, the American Veterinary Hospital Association and other global consumer product and service companies. His work for consumer product companies has supported the development of new products, new retail spaces, and targeted advertising campaigns. He was also an Associate Professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, in the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program. His experience includes the following:

  • Dell Computer: Identified user experiences (product and support) and purchase experiences among small business users of mobile computers.
  • Major US Appliance Manufacturer: In-home and in-store studies of consumer food shopping and storage practices and needs to develop new food storage product specifications.
  • Motorola: Mobile communication needs research for new mobile handset products among HVAC and small construction trades in Sweden and in families with teenagers in USA.
  • Epson America: Documented end-user experiences and wholesaler needs in digital projectors for product positioning and new product development. Studied in-store retail experience and point-of-sale effectiveness re: printers in mass-channel retail.
  • Sprint-PCS: Study of music use, storage, and organization among youth and adults for new mobile handset MP3 product development.
  • Pfizer/Warner Lambert: International oral-care product development study in Japan, China, USA, England, Sweden, and Mexico to identify new product and product extension opportunities.
  • Horizon Matrix LLC and Qualcomm: Developed a process to discover and design use scenarios for the mobile handset application development community.
  • Colgate Palmolive: Ethnography of companion animal veterinary practices to identify opportunities and barriers in prescription pet diet products.
  • Cargill, Incorporated: Studied consumers understanding and needs for healthy foods in USA.
  • Tropicana Beverages (multiple projects): Study of small retailers needs for beverage packaging for post-launch product evaluation; study of thirst-related needs for new product design specifications.
  • Wendy’s International: Study of space use and customer experience in re-designed quick-service restaurants.
  • Novartis: Study of vet medicine product perception and characteristics via in-home and in-clinic field research to reshape product form and product positioning.
  • Hallmark Cards (multiple projects): Identified customer needs at retail level for seasonal greeting cards; evaluated retail re-design; conducted in-home research on family celebrations for new product design.
  • IT Equipment Manufacturer: Non-IT new product development consulting.
  • Ethnographic S.A. (Santiago de Chile): Development of ethnographic research training and research offerings.
  • Lynoppen (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China): Ethnography for Consumer Research executive training seminar for Kraft, Microsoft, Goodyear, and others.
  • Callihan Creek (Lawrence, KS): ethnographic research methods for consumer insights training.
  • Institute for International Research (Atlanta, New York, San Diego): Half-day and full-day executive training sessions 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.
  • Excell Incorporated (division of Cargill): Intensive workplace ethnography to assess workplace culture to improve plant productivity.

He received a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in Anthropology, a Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming, and a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Washington State University. He has published numerous papers on anthropology, ethnography, multiculturalism, and related topics. He is fluent in Spanish and knowledgeable in French, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Swedish. He is skilled in videography and qualitative and quantitative research design and data analysis.