May 7, 2021

Knowing which influencers have influence, with whom and how deeply their influence extends, the demographics and behavior of each influencer’s audience, and ultimately what influencer impressions will trigger a purchase decision, is a science. Billions in influencer ad spending depend on having the right answers…so advertisers turn to market research firms, IFOP lead among them, to gauge and forecast consumer behavior.  IFOP’s 2021 Affluent Consumer Insights Study is a bellwether for understanding affluent lifestyle spending, as findings such as that ‘87% of affluent women have not delayed luxury purchases during Covid’, can be crucial to ad spending decisions.

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“We’re not in the Madman-era anymore. Advertising and consumer decisions are part of a more storied journey, rather than a linear path. Someone might see a TikTok video, take note of the product, and then make the decision to purchase after seeing a print ad with a fixed impression. And a retail store is just one of many touch-points in the consumer journey these days –  and its role is shifting.” Stephanie Sandler, the recently appointed President of IFOP North America, says. “It makes it more complex for marketers and sales teams to effectively target their customer, but exciting because they need to pivot quicker, and test 

and learn, in order to create new ways of connecting and engaging. This is why watching and listening to your customers- where and how they shop, who is influencing them, how they are responding and why- is so important. For brands, having been historically more wholesale dependent, it’is a new frontier!”

Stephanie knows quite a bit about the paradigm shift in marketing and the customer journey, having spent most of her career at Chanel, focused on creating desire and emotional connection.

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After graduating from law school, Stephanie became in-house-counsel at Chanel, specializing in Intellectual Property – protecting the trademarks and nabbing counterfeiters. Then Maureen Chiquet 

became Chanel’s US President (before taking on the role of Global CEO)…and Stephanie’s mentor. Stephanie recalls, Maureen spent her career working at companies where the customer was at the center, and in order to lead effectively and achieve substantive business results, she would always say that you have to listen at every level. Chanel instituted a creative contest to understand how luxury was shifting in the eyes of a new generation, and I was one of 5 people in the US selected to help define how luxury was evolving and what that meant for the brand and its future. Eventually I moved to the business side, focusing on marketing, communications and product development in New York and Paris, and Maureen gave me the opportunity to create Chanel’s US Consumer Insights Division. …But first, she sent me to the frontlines for a summer, to  work in our boutiques and behind the beauty counters. I learned more that summer – firsthand – from the sales associates and clients themselves – than from any marketing course. Leading the Insights Division, I made it my business to wrap the research in an actionable package for marketing – in order to concretely help drive sales and image. Maureen taught me that the consumer is always front and center.”

Throughout her insights-focused career in the luxury world, Stephanie had worked closely with IFOP, as IFOP is the go-to ‘couture of research’ agency for luxury and beauty brands, known for bespoke and hands-on attention to every customer. …And Stephanie is fluent in French as well as luxury. …So it was no surprise when IFOP recently tapped Stephanie to be US President of the French-based company. Stephanie says simply, “They know I understand the power of research.” Reporting on IFOP, and the news of Stephanie joining the company, WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) quoted Stephanie as saying: “Everybody is being overwhelmed with so much data. But I don’t want to provide clients with just information. I want to give insights  on what the data means for the brands and their products.” Unlike other research agencies, IFOP has specific expertise focused in specialized luxury categories, and utilizes a wide array of quantitative and qualitative research methods.”


When a company makes the decision to launch a new product, IFOP is a business partner helping plot a strategic path forward to ensure success through sizing market potential, profiling the customer and identifying purchase triggers. As Stephanie explains, “As a marketer, I know what a company needs to understand in order to build a brand, launch a product, invest wisely in media and CRM, and enhance a client experience on or offline. Direct to consumer brands, in particular, think they know the consumer just from what she/he buys – but there needs to be more in the consideration set for strategic

decision making… ‘how did the client come to you’ and ‘why?’”. In order to continually recruit new customers and build client loyalty over time. 

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Although Stephanie has been a city girl most of her life, having been born and raised in Manhattan, she and her wife, Libby Kountzman, and their 2-year-old daughter, August, made the move to New Canaan in March. Libby is an award winning architect and designer, and has been managing the renovation of their new South side home. 

August will be starting nursery school this Fall. And the young family is enjoying their new life in New Canaan and thrilled to already be meeting incredible people in and about town. 


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