Walk the Dog Research

We’re a research company that specializes in making ideas bigger and better.

Walk the Dog founders Chip Walker and Hugh Duthie bring energy, enthusiasm and life to ideas via the way we approach research.

The two of us are both veteran brand strategy practitioners. As former agency heads of planning, we learned to do research in “the trenches” for some of the world’s most iconic brands.

When you understand where ideas come from and how they turn into real-world execution — you do research differently.

When you are aware of how fragile baby ideas are — you understand the need to handle them with respect and sensitivity.

And when your agency’s work lives or dies by your research approach — you do it more effectively.


In our opinion there’s a lot wrong with how ideas get researched today — especially creative ideas:

  • It’s about “testing” or beauty contests rather than idea optimization.
  • It’s about what respondents like or don’t like. (How often have you had a moderator show an idea, and then say, “what do you think?”)
  • It’s done by researchers who don’t understand the creative process. They don’t know how to listen for ways to optimize or fix an idea.
  • It panders — either to creatives who are understandably defensive or to clients who are understandably cautious. When what’s needed is an apolitical voice that advocates for the idea.
  • It’s with the wrong respondents.
  • It’s done in the wrong setting.
  • It’s done at the wrong stage in the creative development process.
  • It uses the wrong stimuli.
  • It routinely kills great ideas — or worse, waters them down.

Great ideas have the power to make or break brands. And they deserve better. We’re about research that helps you get to great ideas from good ideas.

The Partners

Hi, I'm Chip Walker

Find me on LinkedIn, or send me an email.

Chip Walker

Hi, I'm Hugh Duthie

Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn, or send me an email.

Hugh Duthie


If I seem laid back, it’s my Alabama upbringing and southern roots. When I found my way North after graduating from Vanderbilt, I had to adapt to the warp speed of Madison Avenue. Whether it was conscious or not, hanging on to my zen has been key to surviving. Now, as a researcher, I find that my ability to relax people is a true secret weapon.

I have spent most of my career as a strategist at a range of agencies – traditional agencies like BBDO and Y&R, a digital/CRM agency, Wundermann, and a creative boutique, StrawberryFrog. I definitely went to the University of Advertising – and I have loved every minute of it. I have also led strategy across WPP companies (ad, media, digital, multi-cultural, etc.) for some of its largest clients including AT&T and Bank of America. Most recently, I served as CSO at Y&R’s brand consultancy, BAV Consulting, and EVP of Brand Planning for Y&R New York.

My forté is not is not just the brand and creative strategy, but the foundational insight and research that fuel it. I have recently conducted qualitative and/or quantitative research for major retailers (Etsy, Gilt Group,) CPG brands (Colgate, Kraft,) service providers (United Airlines, Comcast) and B2B brands (Goldman Sachs, Xerox.)

I have written and spoken extensively on a wide range of cultural and business topics – ranging from global consumers to Millennials to sustainability. I have been a keynote speaker for organizations like the Institute for International Research and The Conference Board, as well as large corporates, like Nike and Pepsico.



I am the world’s nosiest person. Lock your medicine cabinet.

I wound up in strategy and research by accident. In grad school, I spent summers leading luxury bicycle tours throughout the wine regions of France. Engaging tables of complete strangers in fascinating dinner table conversation was, I found, my calling. I parlayed this into my very first moderating position. Twenty five years, and over 5,000 focus groups later, I still have passion in what I do, and have led studies in virtually every consumer product/service category.

I’m first and foremost a creative strategist and researcher, whose skills were honed at several of the world's top advertising agencies, in Canada, the US and UK: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Fallon McElligott, M&C Saatchi and JWT. After that, I decided to follow my entrepreneurial heart by cofounding Kudzu, a qual research boutique in NYC. For the past 4 years I have been consulting independently — helping solve some of the world’s most fascinating brand challenges. I can’t think of a major category I haven’t worked in — automotive, airlines, financial services, alcoholic beverages, fast food, cpg, retail, travel and tourism, higher education being some of the major ones.

I’m an innovator who embraces the new in qualitative research — from better ways to recruit to more exciting ways to get close to people. Along the way I have won multiple awards for the effectiveness of my work — Cassies, IPA Effectiveness Awards and Effies. I’m also an adjunct professor at NYU, teaching in the master’s degree program in integrated marketing.


Years of experience*


Brands made better*


Projects completed*


Industry Awards*

* Aggregate cumulative career totals of Chip and Hugh

Our Services

Our core competencies encompass research across the entire planning cycle, from insight hunting to brand positioning research to concept development and creative evaluation research. The following are just some of the methodologies we routinely employ.

Focus Groups

We resist the cookie cutter, but harnessing the dynamic of groups is still a powerful learning tool. We love to take groups out of facilities and closer to where people interact with your brand in real life.

Online Quali-Quant

Increasingly, research done online is a brilliant way to get closer to people and meet them on their own time, in their own worlds, and to do it on a scale that provides some of the confidence of numbers.


We are experts at entering people’s homes and workplaces and bringing their emotions and behaviors to life in ways that clients can make brand sense of.


One-on-Ones, dyads and triads – these are the most intimate of forms of research forums and we are experts at getting rich insights and not just “answers to questions”.


Our shopalongs are like safaris – exciting, thorough, brilliantly executed and yet full of great surprises. Nothing turns us on like a shopping expedition with your customer.


With a combined 50+ years of experience with the best-of-the-best, we have an unrivaled toolbox and a set of methodologies proven to make ideation and brainstorming productive and truly successful.

Our Clients

Contact Us

Office Address

25 W 15th Street, 3rd floor New York, NY 10011


Chip: +1 917 816 8363 Hugh: +1 347 641 2208

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