2012 Qually Winner
qually winner 2012

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Layla Shea, Founder of Upwords Marketing Solutions, and The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada

Layla Shea’s research study for the CCFC was selected for its strong efforts to:

  • Tackle an important health issue with creative research techniques
  • Uncover valuable patient insights on a sensitive topic
  • Provide a solid business plan for the client’s five-year strategic communication efforts

The study focused on identifying relevant communications channels in which the CCFC could better engage with patients of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. The 10-day study aimed to understand how to get the right information into patients’ hands at the right times.

Understanding that the disease often dictates patients’ lifestyles, Shea designed a study that would allow respondents to participate on their own schedules. She used an online discussion board to encourage openness and honesty in a supportive environment. Important conversations took place among participants as they revealed details of their struggle and found support.

During each day of the study, respondents were asked to complete a different task or share opinions on a different topic. For example, patients at varying stages of the disease were asked to recreate the moment of their diagnosis, recommend valuable information sources, review and offer feedback on various CCFC publications or describe how the syndrome affects their day-to-day work/school life.

The study revealed different communications opportunities at various stages (prior to diagnosis, at diagnosis and post diagnosis), as well as types of information and tools that would assist in providing future patients with knowledge, empowerment and support to most effectively control the disease.

The CCFC has used the results of the study to develop a five-year strategic plan that would guide the organization’s approach to patient and health care provider engagement and communications. The CCFC now tailors its communications in a meaningful way to each of the defined patient audiences to provide appropriate information at appropriate times.

About the Winner:
Layla Shea started Upwords Marketing Solutions in 2008 to design and moderate activity based conversations via online qualitative research after an extensive marketing and consulting career. Layla’s unique background as a marketer, consultant, facilitator and focus group moderator has honed her qualitative research skills from all angles.

Layla began her marketing career at Coca-Cola and S.C Johnson, learning solid foundations of marketing and innovation. Then, for nearly a decade Layla applied her marketing skills as an insights consultant and advised on qualitative and quantitative research designs for large consumer packaged goods, and other industry clients.

Since starting Upwords, Layla has developed a passionate expertise moderating in the online realm. Having been in her client’s shoes, Layla moderates with a deep understanding of the business issues to be solved. She is skilled at building game changing insights, which she then transforms into practical business implications. Layla’s clients are raving fans of her activity based online approach and her simple results-oriented reports.

Layla is now based on the West Coast; her online work knows no boundaries.

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