Collaboration & Agility – Essentials for Future Success?

October 25, 2016

Many have said that mankind’s progress for the past 5 millennia has been driven by three basic motivations:-

  1. Greedy people wanting more
  2. Lazy people wanting to do less
  3. Frightened people wanting to be safe

Today, competition and self-interest, …. taking the easy options when things look too hard, ….and risk-aversion are part of the business world, MR is no exception.

We see three different values necessary for future prosperity; they will change the way we operate, the desired skill sets, and how agencies and clients work together.

essentials-for-success

Agencies, conditioned to compete for everything, will instead collaborate both to win clients’ business and then to service it.

We see idleness as the blind adoption of ‘the method we used last time’…… or ‘quick and dirty’ research used to justify a decision already made. This will be replaced by agility – smart thinking and technology combining with ‘fast and focused’ research to provide competitive edge.

Benefitting from collaboration and agility involves risk-taking – clients and agencies will be in new territory and so be more open not only to sharing but also to experimenting with new, untried methods often covering emerging areas of consumer behaviour. The payoff is potentially bigger gains from deeper insights and understanding.

In determining the desired skill sets we first consider the client imperatives then match the skills to fulfilling the demands of those imperatives.

When it comes down to it, the two main reasons to undertake research are for

  • Enhancement and
  • Innovation

imperatives-values

Amongst the many skills sets available, these four stand out

  1. Integration
  2. Agility
  3. Understanding new brand relationships in a digital world and,
  4. Staying true to the fundamentals

Enhancement is improving the existing brand portfolio by launching extensions, adjusting price, increasing performance –actions to keep the brand competitive by avoiding commoditisation.

It is time-sensitive and demands ‘good’ information speedily delivered. This has driven much of the innovation in mobile and online along with the emphasis on ‘fit for purpose’ research. But you cannot determine if something is fit for purpose unless you have a strong understanding of the fundamentals.

Enhancement demands ‘agile’ skills. Agile research is not just about technology where costs and time are saved then decision making is based on the most recent state of the ‘market’.

Agile research is about being flexible in design and not necessarily following standard methodologies to address common questions. It’s the agility of thinking and framing the issues that generates the potential for a new insight or perspective.

Innovation is a multifaceted challenge, continuously undertaken in a complex and fast moving environment. Recently, in ESOMAR’s Research World, the industry as a whole was criticised for not meeting the demands of innovation. MR was not exploiting new thinking and technology to generate innovative ideas. It was only using innovation for operational efficiency.

The adoption of new and innovative ideas is frequently a daunting task for any researcher, research team, and even research organisation. But by collaborating across the research spectrum, the integration and synthesis of disparate data sources, for example, becomes less of a challenge and more attractive.

So collaboration is a new soft skill but for agencies and for clients. Buyers need to re-engineer their research agency relationships by engendering cooperation where rival agencies can work together without compromising competitive advantages.

Furthermore, if clients demand agile research they need to embrace the increased risk inherent in innovative applications of research methods. Those clients will be rewarded with the best and brightest vying for their business – the top researchers always push to work with the most interesting clients!

David McCallum, 2016

Elements of this blog first appeared in “Partnership, Marriage, Hook-up, or One Night Stand? – Client & Agency Relationships in the Digital Age” by Tomoko Nishi & David McCallum at ESOMAR APAC, Tokyo, May 2016

 

 


It’s a Long Way to the Top – building a research career in the 21st Century

August 25, 2015

Whether you’ve been around almost as long as AMSRS itself or are just starting, we feel you’ll find something worthwhile in Teri Nolan’s and my presentation on the first afternoon of the 2015 AMSRS Conference. With me looking back 30 years and Teri looking forward the same, we’re part of the “Passion of Research” session.bon scott swanston We’ll look at….

Developments in three key areas have impacted the industry and career progression

  1. Consumer markets (from mass markets to targeted one-on-one marketing)
  2. Mass media (from single set households to ‘three screens per person’)
  3. Data depth (from surveys of hundreds or thousands to Big Data, Internet of Things and The Quantified Self)

The researcher’s life in 2020 and beyond

  1. Career expectations and changes in the workplace. Disruptions and uncertainty as opportunities
  2. Varied experiences – Jack-of-all-trades, master of one, or a master of some? Work routines and ‘off the job’ learning
  3. Specialists & Polymaths
  4. Re-engineering & re-branding
  5. More boutiques, specialty agencies, so more roles ‘at the top’ for those in research

Big Data & Market Research – Distant Cousins or Siamese Twins?

November 11, 2013

I recently attended a 2 day Big Data Summit conference in Sydney, run by Innovation Enterprise. From the show of hands, I was one of two market researchers among the 150 strong audience.

There a number of roles and opportunities for market researchers to play in this arena as from the quality and content of the presentations, it is clear Big Data is here stay, can only get ‘bigger’.

The retail, banking, and utilities sectors were well represented (fmcg was conspicuous in its absence) as was the Government sector with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CSIRO, and the State of Queensland. The attendees’ profile, based on skill sets, was similar to an MR audience for a similar event but with a quantitative bias and an average age around 8-10 years younger.
big data 3 needs

Sportsbet’s Tony Greubner’s succinctly described 8 factors that would drive future of Big Data. His first three, the variety of sources, proscriptive analytics, and increased scope of application are perhaps the most pertinent (with no 6 “Geek is the new cool” being a favourite with the audience). Tony also highlighted three skill sets in short supply (see picture above) and here is where those with solid MR expertise could contribute. Read On..>


Instant Noodles in India –Tug of War or Tugging Heartstrings?

July 29, 2013

One of the fascinating things about using Facial Imaging when exposing competitive ads to the same respondents in a single category is that it provides unspoken clues about relative brand positioning issues (as FI does not rely on ‘rational’ recall or post-exposure rating).

 ToW foodles

 A brand with an inherently easy to understand positioning is more likely to get its message across clearly than a brand attempting to make consumers think about the product in a new light. Here, we see an example of an Instant Noodles brand, Horlick’s Foodles, taking on the task of provoking Indian mothers believe that instant noodles can actually be nutritious. It is done in a manner successfully demonstrated in previous posts (telling a story and building towards the main message), but the style of the execution is perhaps a little too dark. So it does not seem to reduce the high level of apprehension when the main ‘nutritious noodles’ idea is brought forward. Maggi, by contrast, takes an easily believable ‘life-saver’ message (that Maggi noodles are there and ready when you really need them) and pushes this in an engaging positive manner connected by a catchy jingle. Clever execution combines with a clear-cut positioning to evoke a strong response that builds positively.

The key lesson is if you are taking on a difficult advertising task such as proposing something that may conflict with common wisdom, the sequence and content of emotions evoked is critical.  Such ads are more likely to lose direction in emotional terms, and need more careful prior assessment. Read the rest of this entry »


Emotional Engagement & the Indonesian Consumer

July 16, 2013

In the second of the AsiaEmotion series, we look at SE Asia’s largest market, Indonesia, and show why we think advertisers have a substantial Opportunity to Improve Emotional Punch. Using nViso’s breakthrough 3D Facial Imaging, AsiaEmotion recorded emotional response to ads directly technology and so is about how people actually felt as they watched, not what they said after.

The study, completed earlier this year with leading Asian research agency Cimigo, covered 150 typical consumers in each of China, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, & Indonesia across 75 recent and typical day-to-day commercials in high ad spend categories covering: Noodles, Shampoo, Telecom, Beer, CSD, Growing Up/Health Food Milks. The key regional takeouts can be found at 9 Essentials for Advertising in Asia on the AsiaEmotion website.

Today we’ll look at the services sector comparing ads from competitors Telkomsel and Indosat. Click the links to view the ads and some top line analysis – Telkomsel and Indosat

As a general observation based on the AsiaEmotion findings, Indonesian ads show lower emotional response than other large Asian markets. However, compared to Indonesian ads in other day-to-day categories, Telecom ads evoke about average levels of emotional response. For Telkomsel in particular, the type, build, and shape of response were better than most Indonesian ads as whole.Image

The lower “amount” of emotion may well be related to the high level of very direct product/deal promotion content in nearly all ads. Such scenes cause builds in response to plateau (Telkomsel) or drop off (especially for Indosat).

The relatively low levels of emotion evoked represent an opportunity to increase cut-through and engagement.  Telecom advertisers should consider separate distinctive strategies for brand building and product offering in order to generate more focussed executions.

When reviewing the findings, Indirect Style Beats Direct Functional Approach. Telkomsel uses a dialogue between teenage girls to introduce their key message. The ‘teenage girl’ interaction (with a nice girl vs. nasty girl slant), realistic language, and mannerisms build interest among (presumed) key target groups.

Indo Tel 2

Indosat uses a Game show format to introduce its benefits. These are brought in early, very directly and literally “shouted” at the audience. The rapid change of scenes/visuals leads to low, negative emotive response with poor coherence.

Indo Tel 4

Again, Details Matter, the Telkomsel ad seems crafted to focus on specific target groups and their concerns and behaviours. This leads to more clarity in emotional terms.

Indo Tel 3

When and how the key service offer is introduced also appears to matter – overall we find it is better to bring such offers in parallel with the story or after emotion has built.  This approach is taken by Telkomsel and looks to be more effective than in an immediate, direct recitation of the offer (as in the case of Indosat).

Reactions to specific talent can distract or annoy. The MC, or his manner, in the Indosat ad seems to annoy women.  AsiaEmotion results generally show that reactions to talent can vary markedly among sub-groups and celebrities should not be assumed as universal in their appeal.

Indo Tel 5

The Key Lesson is that despite a direct, clear recitation of benefits and brand, Indosat evokes lower and more negative emotion. It is also lower on rational measures than or Telkomsel and other telecom ads. Indonesian consumers are perhaps out-growing the overtly direct “functional” delivery in commercials

Telkomsel – the Emotional Profile

This well targeted ad succeeds at evoking positive response among Females, SES AB and young (which are the presumed target markets). It combines high emotional response with relatively high ‘rational’ ratings, the only concerning issue being that emotion takes a while to build, thus increasing the risk of channel switching

There is a marked spike in Surprise when the offer is introduced, and the combination of Surprise & Happiness at this stage indicates the offer evokes “Delight”. There are some negatives towards the end, but in context of Happiness being maintained, this likely indicates engagement and memorability

Indo Tel 6

Furthermore, there is a peak in Apprehension/Fear during branding, which may show some nervousness about the brand itself, indicating a need for brand research to determine what is driving this.

Indosat – the Emotional Profile

We see low levels of emotive response with no clear pattern and quite high negatives. (Rational responses to traditional MR questions on interest etc were also lower than others.) These erratic response patterns are associated with rapid change of scenes and messages.

The male MC and the drummer seem to particularly annoy women and although Males and SES C show more positive response, it is still not high relative to other ads tested in the market.

Indo Tel 7

Low positive and high negative response during both branding and main message sequences, raise concerns that this ad could negatively impact brand equity.

Overall then, ‘shouting out’ benefits, and getting them out up-front and early, while superficially useful tactics in the crowded media environment of Indonesian Television, may actually be counter-productive.  Subtler approaches to emotional marketing may ultimately pay bigger dividends.

In our next blog we’ll move to India and a food category – but for now if you would like any more information please contact Alastair Gordon or David McCallum. Or visit the Asia Emotion website http://www.asiaemotion.com


Soft Drinks, Soft Sell – Emotional Engagement & the Chinese Consumer

July 2, 2013

Over the next few months we’ll be blogging a special series revealing the findings from AsiaEmotion, a pan-Asia study on everyday advertising in the region’s key markets. AsiaEmotion recorded emotional response to ads directly and scientifically using nViso’s breakthrough 3D Facial Imaging technology and so is about how people actually felt as they watched, not what they said they felt after the event.
The study, completed earlier this year with leading Asian research agency Cimigo, covered 150 typical consumers in each of China, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, & Indonesia across 75 recent and typical day-to-day commercials in high ad spend categories covering: Noodles, Shampoo, Telecom, Beer, CSD, Growing Up/Health Food Milks. The key regional takeouts can be found at 9 Essentials for Advertising in Asia on the AsiaEmotion website.
Today we’ll compare a couple of soft drink ads from China, promoting iconic brands Coke and Sprite. Click the links to view the ads and some top line analysis – Coca-Cola and Sprite. Read the rest of this entry »


Professional Development – you don’t know what you don’t know!

May 2, 2012

Having recently assumed the chair of the AMSRS’s Professional Development Program, the first thing that struck me was the enormous range and diversity of subject matter one has to command these days to be a truly effective market researcher. The extent of knowledge required makes it even more important to encourage continuous learning if we are to retain the value of MR as a profession in both the commercial and social sphere.

At the risk of over-simplifying, there wasn’t that much to learn in the late 70s to early 80s. If you were capable of questionnaire design, understood stats and a bit of sampling, could analyse data, and maybe present with some coherence you could work in a research company. Read On..>