Projects and partners within the Applied Marketing Research Group

Includes Blue Sheep, Flexifoil, Motivation and more.

An extensive overview of many of the key research and consultancy projects that the Applied Marketing Research Group (AMRG) have led and contributed to, demonstrating their capabilities and diverse interests.

Current projects

Viper Subsea: Co-creation of new user-led markets

Professor Tim Hughes and Tracy Hunt-Fraisse are working on this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), funded by Innovate UK.

The project takes a co-creative approach to user-led innovation by working with new partners in establishing how the company’s new 'CableGuardian™' technology can create value in different sectors and markets. The KTP is strategically critical to Viper’s future ability to enter new markets with millions of pounds' worth of potential.

LinkAge: Co-creation of a charity offering with partners

LinkAge is a Bristol-based charity offering social activities to reduce isolation and loneliness in older people.

In partnership with UWE Bristol, LinkAge has won a grant from the Local Sustainability Fund to improve their operation. As part of this, Professor Tim Hughes is leading sub-projects on branding creation, and the implementation of it, as well as marketing strategy.

Blue Badge Company: Co-creating the brand with marketing agencies

Blue Badge is a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) that manufactures and sells stylish products for people with disabilities. Professor Tim Hughes worked as a consultant to the company in developing a communications strategy to grow the brand.

This involved selecting and working with marketing agencies to integrate their resources and capabilities with the limited resources of Blue Badge. This was in order to develop awareness of the brand using digital and conventional channels.

Client and agencies: Getting the most out of the relationship

Professor Tim Hughes and Dr Mario Vafeas have spent the last three years researching client-agency relationships with a view to asses the current state of the typical relationship and identify ways to improve value creation for both parties.

The research has consisted of one-to-one interviews, surveys, and a number of focus groups with representatives from both sides of the relationship. Responses have been received from more than 300 research participants.

Outputs from the project include research papers with journals such as Industrial Marketing Management and Marketing Theory, and knowledge sharing with practitioners. Working with organisations such as Bristol Media, Design Business Association, and Bristol and Bath Marketing Network, Tim and Mario have delivered seminars to industry practitioners, and have offered consultancy to individual creative and digital agencies.

Previous projects


Flexifoil Ltd; a designer and manufacturer (outsourced) of recreational kites, traction kites, and kites for kitesurfing. Flexifoil is a small company of six employees with a reputation for innovation and quality, and has been in business for 40 years.

The aim of the 18-month KTP was to undertake two substantial research projects – one with retailers and one with customers. Reasoning for this was to:

  • explore perceptions of the Flexifoil brand
  • establish a profile of Flexifoil’s customers
  • understand the customer decision-making process (motivations and benefits sought, information search, evaluation).

A vast amount of data was collected through very successful online surveys allowing the company to make, for the first time, informed marketing decisions in the areas of brand positioning, product innovation, communications, pricing, distribution and service.

Market Dojo

Market Dojo is a start-up company offering e-auction software for businesses. Its founding partners were experts in their fields of technology and finance but had limited marketing experience and knowledge.

However, they understood the importance of establishing a distinctive brand from the outset. Through this consultancy project we were able to provide them with frameworks to assist with the analysis of their marketing environment and with the identification and strengthening of their brand attributes, benefits, values and personality.


Motivation is an international disability and development charity working in low-income countries to reduce poverty and enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities. The company provides appropriate and suitable mobility products, which it designs and produces in China, working with local organisations to develop skills in assembly and repair.

This KTP came about because Motivation identified a number of potential opportunities and markets which would provide new income-generating streams. Celia Rhodes, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at UWE Bristol, is currently working with KTP Associate Jason Williams to develop these opportunities, so that the charity’s trading arm becomes a sustainable, income generating social enterprise with a clear strategy for business development with a market orientated approach.

Wiltshire NHS Primary Care Trust

In the light of changes designed to move towards a more market-oriented approach in the NHS, Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) wanted to prepare their managers to develop their own business plans.

In response to the brief we developed, tailor-made workshops were held to meet the needs of different types of managers within the Trust. Two-day workshops were delivered to Heads of Service and Clinical Leads, and one-day workshops to Neighbourhood Team Coordinators and Practice educators.

Working within the theme of 'Applying business thinking in the new marketplace', the sessions facilitated delegates in planning and managing customer-oriented service delivery, for themselves and their teams, during a time of rapid change.