Skin in the Game – in Praise of Employee Equity

February 7, 2011

A recent Research blog by my ex-boss, Nick Sparrow, founder of ICM, extolled the virtues of offering equity to agency staff. In fact, it was Nick who taught me in the early 80’s how to sell research based on its benefits not its features (which given my statistician’s focus at the time was a revelation!)

Nick expounded his vision of a business “run solely for all the people employed” where a company is best run, and gives the best service to clients, when the people feel a sense of ownership. It’s interesting to note that two of the UK’s ‘thought’ leading agencies (both of whom have won Agency of the Year) Brainjuicer and Truth appear both to have embarked on similar ownership structures.

Although, ICM was owned by 10 shareholders before its sale, Nick was interested to see research businesses go further and make all employees shareholders. Here the clients benefited as their interests were best served and reinforced by the servicing team who in turn profited from satisfied, returning, regular clients. Read On..>


Minute Wise, Hour Foolish

September 22, 2010

In a recent article in Research World, Chris Forbes of Research Reporter highlighted that the traditional economic success for mid-to-large sized research agencies relied on a combination of research expertise and technological infrastructure. As data is collected and assembled faster (both formally and informally) the weight is shifting more and more to the expertise part of that equation. Thus, the agency side of MR is going to be more and more dependent on research experience and “thinking ability” to create unique value for their clients

In fact, more and more the main (and some would say only) resource the agency researcher has to sell is their time. So, when it comes down to it, the quality of how that time is applied and the creativity to which it is put are ‘de facto’ the value to the client. Future economic strength will rely almost solely on how well the time ‘resource’ is both defined and managed. Read On..>

Thought Leadership and Profitable Growth – How do they co-exist?

May 27, 2010

Recently, several articles and papers have been published bemoaning the dearth of talent in the research industry relative to its size and diversity. They focus on two key areas – the lack of basic ‘craft’ skills and the inability to deliver clear and concise insights in the client’s language. One of the root causes has been put down to the increasing homogenisation resulting from the concentration of the industry into fewer commercially driven mega-agencies, where increasingly more of the leadership (unlike in other fields) has a background from outside the profession itself.

As MR has become more business-like in the last 25 years, many would say that the average level of talent or product quality has not changed, which is at odds with the generally improved margins and overall ROI. Read On..>

Tweets of Pain

December 22, 2009

“… I am sooooo busy and soooooo far behind. I do NOT like that feeling!” @LoveStats (Annie Pettit – prominent blogger/tweeter on MR methods/issues)

Commencing what feels like first real vacation in 2 years. Excited to do tremendous amounts of nothing…”  @steveaugust  (Steve August, Founder of  online Quali  software platform)

“think you ever get used to heading for the airport on a sunday night? hate it!!!!” @ericsalama (Eric Salama – CEO Kantar)

An increasing number of MR professionals Twitter. And a surprising number of them share tweets like the above, which have landed in my Tweet Deck in recent times.  (I  picked these to illlustrate the range – there are plenty others!).  Many of us share their frustration.

(c) Randy Glasbergen, 2006

I had a personal epiphany a few years back when, after my third trip to Beijing in a year, I realised I still hadn’t seen the Great Wall, and indeed had not seen much beyond the usual airport, taxi, meeting room and restaurant for dinner. I had a vision of my grandchildren gathered around me in my retirement, asking me about my travels and all I’d be able to say was that “it’s hard to get a taxi in New York when you need it”.

Read On… >