The road to Istanbul was certainly an interesting one this year and no one could be happier than us at ESOMAR to see that we are finally here – and with over 850 of our friends and colleagues – to celebrate research and THINK BIG.

Pervin Olgun, ESOMAR Representative for Turkey, gave a wonderful overview of Turkish history and how Turkey has served to connect the wisdom of Eastern and Western thought. As the 17th largest economy in the world, Turkey provides a big opportunity for researchers globally.

ESOMAR President Dan Foreman underscored this idea in his opening by noting that ‘thinking big’ requires us to take time to reflect on what we do, how we have value and how we prioritise things.  With that in mind, Silke Muenster, Programme Committee Chair, then took us through the programme, emphasising that it is not about Big Data but about big insights coming from small numbers.  This means that we must look beyond and around us to discover new perspectives and leave our comfort zone to try new things.  Easier said than done, of course… but then again, that is why 850 people are here…


Tim Harford

KEYNOTE: Tim Harford
Error and Innovation
There’s a saying that ‘the devil often lies in the details’, and a great example of how this can lead to success (or not) was wonderfully told by Undercover Economist, Tim Harford in his opening Keynote for the ESOMAR Congress. Tim noted that the Brits have always enjoyed cycling and with the 2012 Olympics on their home turf, they really wanted to ensure that they made their mark. So did they invest in the best trainers? Likely. But what they did that was really amazing – and took them from being good to being the best – was recognising that tiny innovations (like hot pants to keep cyclists’ muscles warm and cleaning the tires to eliminate dirt and save milliseconds) could add up and allow for, in this case, a gold-standard result.

Tim believes that this is a great way for people to realise their potential. Experimentation. Finding marginal improvements and making the most of them. Some do it already – think A/B testing and how it’s used in advertising. But, before you go and hire a “Head of Marginal Gains” like the British Cycling team did, Tim wants you to know that success in this manner is limited.  Many of our big problems can’t be tackled with small steps. So what do we do? Sometimes, often the most important times, the step we must take is huge and the chance of failure is high.  But failure is fine if the success results in big returns.

However, we are all subject to human nature and many of us find it hard to bet on people who believe in long shots; who are willing to take chances that may not bring immediate returns to our companies or shareholders. But with new competitors in the research market, many with big budgets and little fear of the unknown, now is the time to start thinking about the long shots in addition to the tiny innovations. Tim rightly recognises that both are needed. If we really want to think big, we need time and space.  And we can’t rely too much on the marginal gains to help us get the big wins. Thinking big means you will fail, and fail a lot. But the most important part is that even if you don’t want to think big, be sure to support those who do in your organisation.  Their risks may just help you reach that gold standard quicker, faster and consistently.


The first sessions of this year’s Congress began in room 1 with Big Impact, the client research transformation which included cases studies from Microsoft, Heineken and AOL. Over in Room 2 the event kicked off with Big Change, research at the crossroads.

ROOM 1: BIG IMPACT - Client Research Transformation - Tom Ewing

It’s a fair bet that few researchers got into the business because they were passionate about the prospect of process optimisation. For all the quality audits, six sigma certifications and knowing mentions of kaizen, process is a resolutely unsexy part of research. The more instant and appealing behaviour-reward cycle of brief-project-debrief still dominates, particularly agency-side.

But, of course, process matters. A lot. And this session got stuck into it from three different angles. Microsoft talked us through their transition towards a big data mindset. Heineken threw a spotlight on how research findings could be used more effectively, and AOL described how to rejuvenate a drifting research function. All three presentations were refreshingly candid about the failings of the old ways of doing things, and bullish about the new.

Reed Cundiff

Reed Cundiff

Of the three, Microsoft’s job was the biggest and seemed the hardest. Their server business is itself going through radical change as more customers move their data and IT functions to the cloud. Understanding this change, according to Reed Cundiff of Microsoft and Patricio Pagani of Infotools, meant fusing “perception data” – attitudinal survey information – with unstructured, huge-scale behavioural customer data.

This kind of fusion is easy to prescribe, far tougher to implement. As most big data presentations ruefully acknowledge, the first thing you learn is how tight your focus needs to be, and the process of working out what data sources are useful is a painful one. Of the 9 behavioural data sources Microsoft uncovered, 7 turned out to be entirely useless – but the remaining two proved extremely rich. Simply discovering and assessing those sources took nine months, but that was only the prelude to an exhaustive process of documentation, training, and building systems to handle the behavioural data.

A theme began to emerge: doing this stuff right takes a lot of time, and a lot of patience. As Cundiff said, “We started to get excited roughly 18 months into the process”. That kind of delayed gratification requires a quite different mindset from the typical research one. Luckily, as Cundiff explained, the payoff has been terrific – once the systems were up and running they gave the organisation several new routes to insight. For instance, longitudinal data could now be event-based (tracking multiple companies from the installation of software) rather than simply time-based. And the new systems meant that when direct questions were used they could be precisely targeted interventions.

With projects of such length, complexity and cost (“Double your time and cost estimates”, said Cundiff), organisational buy-in is beyond crucial. One of the most refreshing parts of the presentation was the revelation that Microsoft had set up a Visualisation Team to shape and present their new insights in the most visible, sharable and powerful manner possible. Research in a big data era demands care at both ends of the process.

Next were Haiko van Lengen of Market Logic, Philip De Wulf of Psilogy, and Sjoerd Koornstra of Heineken, addressing the problems of knowledge management. This is an age-old issue, rarely tackled well. You have a lot of research information: how do you organise it to surface the useful findings? The presenters’ approach was to focus on “Learning Planning” – zooming in on the ‘known unknowns’, and knowledge gaps rather than raking over existing information. Learning faster, they informed us, is the only sustainable source of competitive advantage.

Haiko van Lengen, Philip De Wulf, and Sjoerd Koornstra

Haiko van Lengen, Philip De Wulf, and Sjoerd Koornstra

This is a sensible perspective, and who could disagree with the cry of “too much data and too many spreadsheets”? Knowledge management is an important and neglected part of research thinking. But it was hard – in the 20 minutes provided – to see what made Heineken’s approach particularly special. To the unschooled eye it looked very much like a research Intranet, with a focus on moving useful knowledge upstream to anticipate marketer needs. The presenters discussed the huge savings on workload this approach created, but didn’t really address the issues with Intranets in knowledge management – they live or die by their upkeep, not by their planning. Like a giant 1960s tower block, Intranets are miraculously efficient when first unveiled but ultimately rely on the collective good faith of their users to stay functional. To their credit, Heineken, Psilogy and Market Logic realised the best way to convince us was to offer some hands on experience, and announced a Knowledge Café on the Monday night, with free beer on hand.

Finally, Cortney Henseler and Christian Kugel from AOL described their root-and-branch reinvention of AOL’s research function. They began with the age-old lament of research conferences – why can’t we get a “seat at the table”? The implied answer is sadly that we can’t get a seat at the table because our research department probably sucks. AOL’s apparently did, and Henseler and Kugel had the gruesome old-school slides to prove it. But they also had a Greek chorus of AOL staff singing their praises on video, demonstrating the gap in effectiveness between the old and new approaches.

The AOL change had been accomplished in seven steps, presented in highfalutin’ biz-speak (“Optimize The Supplier Ecosystem”) which luckily turned out to mean sensible, practical steps like combining contracts and working to a single point of contact. Aside from the supplier ecosystem, other advice included creating a better organisational structure, developing hybrid analytics skills in employees, implementing a consistent research process, upgrading communications skills, beating low expectations in employees by demonstrating trust, and focusing on the quality of the work.

Taken separately, none of the advice was surprising, but the power was in the combined approach, and the purpose and vigour with which the new research team approached it.

The outcome was a research approach which reminded me of content marketing – a focus on useful, clear and interesting output and a constant regard for its target and wider audience. Kugel and Henseler presented snippets from several fascinating projects – a conjoint for online comment values, for instance, or their “7 shades of mobile project” which had been widely reported. This was a theme of the whole session – no matter how painful the process of change is, it’s all for nothing if the final outcomes are not quick, easy and enjoyable to use.

The AOL team ended by going back to that ‘seat at the table’ conundrum and putting a new spin on it. What they’d learned, they told us, is that the freedom to do what is right for the organisation is more important than the mythical seat. This was an important message and a good way to end the session: an agile research function continually proving its value on the customer front line will be more useful than one that simply kicks its heels outside the boardroom door. Putting processes in place to become such a research team won’t be easy, but it will ultimately be rewarding.

ROOM 2: BIG CHANGE - Research At a Crossroads - Elina Halonen

A Q New World – reframing best practice for tomorrow’s clients
Kristen Hickey of ruby cha cha started the day by challenging the future of market research: we used to be about “quantitative, qualitative and quality”, how did we end up with “faster, better cheaper”? Through a fable of a king and his farmers, she told the story of our industry. In the current situation where supply exceeds demand, agencies are forced to become increasingly specialised in order to make a difference and attract attention.

However, this has created a situation where it’s more difficult for any one agency to satisfy a client’s needs which also contributes to lack of long term relationships with agencies. The market has also become much more fragmented which makes it harder for clients to select agencies to work. From the client’s perspective, they face increasing budget pressures as well as pressure from the diverse palates of internal clients who may favour certain types of research over others. Researchers’ skill sets have also become increasingly specialised, which supports the niche propositions but also makes it increasingly hard for clients.

Based on her study with clientside researchers, she proposed a new framework for what is underpinning new agency selection. The most important attributes for a researcher are the ability to inspire and having a ‘can do’ attitude (in addition to technical skills, which have come to be expected) as well as passion and creativity. The second most important attribute is horizontal and vertical integration – of methodologies, data sets and approaches. She called for the power of the polymath to be returned: as an industry, we need people who are able to think from multiple directions due to their diverse backgrounds – these are the people we are currently losing to other industries. Finally, we need to transform: the focus needs to shift to ensuring actionable results that can be easily digested and implemented in a client organisation.

Finally, we need to innovate with our pricing models so that we don’t undermine our contribution and reinvent scaleability – smaller agencies can handle big, multicountry projects if they find more innovative ways of working. In a Q new world, we’ll have quintegration (integration of qual, quant and planning), Q factors (attracting quality talent into our industry) and queaper, where quicker and cheaper research is brought together.

Less Facts, More Fiction – Expanding Researchers Minds
Leanne Tomasevic of Truth Consulting and Elizabeth Lonergan from Nokia started by giving us some perspective of the amount of data we are dealing with these days: whereas in the 18th century a person would have consume the equivalent of one Sunday issue of the New York Times in their entire lifetime, we now consume the equivalent of 174 issues in just one day. This proliferation of data has led to us developing ‘data amnesia’ where we try to forget and filter just to be able to handle this overload of information.

Similarly, in the 1920’s when market research began, data was sparse, but we rarely think how this has defined market research. The scarcity of data led us as an industry to collect it as much as possible, and success was defined by those who had the best data. We became focused on technical issues such as the robustness of data and how questions were formed (rather than the insight it produced), forgetting that we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect techniques. We adopted a scientific ‘no-stone-unturned’ reporting style with an emphasis on data driven predictions presenting data as facts and something ‘real’.

As an industry, we’re now at a crossroads, wondering whether to turn left or right. They suggested that perhaps there is no one right way – perhaps our path is more like a ski slope where we need to be flexible to find our way. As a solution, Leanne and Elizabeth proposed their Messy Mind Agenda. We need to experiment more and follow new paths in the method and in the research, and start thinking about how we can move people with our findings. Whereas in the past we’ve prided ourselves on our objectivity, subjectivity becomes the new goal instead of being seen as a problem: we need to be better critics of our own work and learn from it, and have a strong point of view.  We also need to be less controlling: consumers can’t always tell us how they’ve made decisions, but as culture shapes how we think, understanding culture better will enable us to understand the shifts in the consumer landscape.

In this new world, they suggested, research becomes a hygiene factor – we need to move our eyes away from purity and embrace messiness, take chances and get dirty with data as this is where the real opportunities lie.

Big Changes Will Deliver Big Future
Adam Riley from DVL Smith presented findings from a survey of marketing directors to outline skills needed for customer insight professionals. Like Leanne and Elizabeth, he suggested that we’re at a crossroads: do we define ourselves around the professional collection and interpretation of data? Or should we take a greater, more holistic role as strategic advisors? And if we pursue the latter route, what skills do we need for it? To answer these questions, DVL Smith created a segmentation of six customer insight professional archetypes.

While a quarter of us fall into the ‘research technician’ archetype that is closest to a traditional market researcher with strong technical skills, another quarter falls into ‘big issue thinkers’ who are able to combine views from multiple data sources. While neither of these types are expected to be business driven or possess especially strong communications skills, the remaining four archetypes (story tellers, business drivers, consultants and conceptual creatives) are less centred around research skills and more around varying levels and combinations of business acumen and ability to think conceptually. However, there is a dissonance between the archetypes of customer insights professionals desired by marketers and the reality on the ground: relationships with CI professionals are often transactional which leads to market research falling short of fulfilling its potential as well as less actionable recommendations.

The skillsets we need in the future include crystallising problems, looking at problems with a wide angled lens, developing lean and fast approaches to problem solving and being strategic conversation leaders as well as influencers and persuaders. We need to become masters of strategic foresight: grouping together critical trends and looking at fundamental changes in the market has become a key skill for a CI professional. We also need to become trusted business advisors with an ability to understand the data their business has on customers and what actions should be taken. Consultancy skills are no longer a “nice to have”, but in the new information environment we’re living in, instead customer insights professionals are now expected to drive growth.



After lunch ESOMAR Congress 2013 continued in room 1 with Big Business, shoppers in the moment. This session looked specifically at research in retail with case studies from Nielsen, Mastercard and Experian Hitwise amongst others. This was followed with the second Big Impact sessions of the day that took us on a global journey. While over in room 2 we started with Big Focus, a thread that looked at research in developing economies. This was followed by Big Picture which showed the power of visuals in research.

ROOM 1: BIG Business - Shoppers in the Moment Part 1 - Elina Halonen

Unlocking Success with Digital Shoppers: The e-commerce barriers and enablers that you need to consider
Adrian Sanger from Nielsen presented findings from their study with 36000 shoppers to introduce us to the new digital shopper and reveal the secrets of unlocking the power of digital retail. With an estimated market size of 160 billion by 2015, digital shopping of CPG products is an important aspect of the retail landscape today. While consumers’ paths to purchase have changed along with their expectations of a company, three core needs still remain: convenience, choice and price-value. These three needs define the foundation of both barriers and enablers for a brand to move into digital.

In terms of barriers, if a brand is primarily serving needs that are urgent or require hands-on inspection of, for example, quality, it’s probably better suited for a store environment rather than a digital one. On the other hand, if a brand is something consumers frequently stock up on (like dog food where the consumption rate is steady and easily estimated) or where the price-value ratio is less prominent (like vitamins), it’s more likely to be successful in an e-commerce environment. However, categories matter as some play a more functional role in consumers’ lives whereas others are more engaging. Additionally, different ethnicities use digital differently so any e-commerce strategy must recognise what type of shopper they are looking for.

To succeed, we need to understand how people make choices and what their touch points are likely to be, as well as understanding the complex path to purchase with categories moving online at different rates. While planned purchases are easier to deal with, unplanned purchase categories provide a challenge for online retailers. Despite the issues, new business models combining “bricks and clicks” are emerging which have the potential to connect with consumers in more ways than one.

Feel Nothing, Do Nothing: Unlocking the emotional secret of online spending
Orlando Wood from Brainjuicer and Koen de Vos from Mastercard
presented a case study of how we can go about both understanding online purchasing as well as influencing it in an effective way. We like to think of decision making as riding an elephant, seeing ourselves as the rider. In fact, the elephant makes all the decisions and all we can do is build a path for it and hope it follows. In the offline retail world, we can build such paths for consumers in order to influence them, but in the online world it’s a much more challenging task.


Orlando Wood and Koen de Vos

Orlando Wood and Koen de Vos

Van Koes explained that exploring experimental methods in market research appealed to Mastercard because influencing the way people think by making certain changes in the retail environment is more efficient way of steering consumer behaviour than e.g. above the line advertising. Their experiments with Brainjuicer have shown that not only can they influence how people pay but also how much they pay which is crucially important for retail. With experiments, research suddenly goes from being source of information to a business driving tool – engaging with merchants in experiments has helped Mastercard discuss how to build a better business.

To explore the emotional side of online purchasing, Brainjuicer recruited panellists to download an app to their computer which then tracked their website visits and prompted them to take surveys whenever they visited target websites. Based on the data, they were able to see that the path to purchase is much less linear than conventionally assumed – instead, it’s more akin to a “purchase zone” which helps us to understand how to nudge behaviour. For clients like Mastercard, this kind of data can be helpful in partnering up with the right partner merchants to leverage these purchase zones and give consumers more incentives to spend with these brands. Overall, the main finding from the study is that if consumers feel happy after their first visit to a website, they are more likely to come back (and more often) as well as spending more time and money with that retailer. Furthermore, consumers are happier if they pay with a credit card than a debit card, which offers opportunities for Mastercard. However, the research raises some questions about the ethics of using an understanding of decision making and nudge techniques to influencing consumer behaviour – an aspect of behavioural economics our industry has not yet fully addressed.

ROOM 1: BIG Business - Shoppers in the Moment Part 2 - Lucy Davison

The theme of this year’s ESOMAR Congress is all things BIG. The THINK BIG Congress is clearly inspired by BIG data but there are also sessions on BIG business, BIG impact and BIG picture. The hotel is big, meeting rooms are enormous and the event is the biggest in the European MR calendar. (Even the wifi password is ‘thinkbig’, although in lowercase, so in a whisper). Is small no longer beautiful? I imagine Schumacher would be turning in his grave.

The first two sessions I attended this afternoon were both looking at how new technology is enabling us to integrate methodologies and get a broader (bigger?) picture of the consumer, so driving greater insights. In Using GPS Analytics and in-the-moment Mobile, Thaddeus Fulford-Jones showed how the neat technology developed by his company Locately gives a richer understanding of the US Holiday shopper. It might have been the mention of MIT but I for one thought the technology looked really good. Once we got past the presentation about Locately, we were convinced of the value of integrating GPS data and mobile surveys (of no longer than 2 minutes) triggered in store ‘in the moment’ to understand how people shop. Thaddeus was keen to stress that they have an opt in community of ‘engaged consumers’ who reap rich rewards in return for downloading the app and being tracked/giving their responses. He quickly delivered a brief project story on Black Friday in US 2012. My favourite factiod was that people for whom Amazon is their favourite place to shop spend 15% less in bricks and mortar stores. More bad news for the beleaguered high street?

It seems that mobile research can go further than traditional techniques in being able to get closer to that moment of truth at point of purchase in store. But can we combine more? Can we get better insights from more combinations?

Thaddeus was followed by Maria Domoslawska from Research Now and Heather Dougherty from Experian Hitwise. In their paper A 4-dimensional view of the digitally engaged consumer they combined not just two or three methodologies (Locately also uses online surveys to supplement the GPS data and quick mobile surveys), but, you’ve guessed it, four! That is brand tracking collected via PC, survey data, mobile behavioural tracking and mobile GPS tracking. All with a sample of 5,826. If that’s not big enough for you then I can’t imagine what is. Their study also explored consumer on and off line behaviour around ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ in the US, and also added Christmas in the UK. To kick off, they showed a scary video of the frenzy of gift giving around the ‘Holiday’ season. By the way, ‘Black Friday’ is so called because it is the day retailers become profitable – it’s nothing to do with a sudden collapse in stock-markets. ‘Cyber Monday’ was invented by online retailers so that they could join in.

By overlaying the data from the different sources the team from Research Now and Experian were able to show that the patterns of behaviour are different on the different devices. They also discovered that although consumers are busy on their phones in store, they are not using them to shop or search. The traditional path to purchase has changed beyond recognition but some of the newer ‘channels’ such as mobile apps are nascent in terms of use.

Having segmented the consumers Mosaic, they were then clearly able to give retailers guidance on who to target, how and when.

The presentations were followed by a short panel discussion chaired by Ben Page of MORI. Questions roamed around the issue of Big Data and privacy – to make these multi-modal approaches work we need a large group of consumers who are happy to be tracked. Are these people ‘normal’ and reflective of the general population? The panel was keen to stress that the consumers had all opted in to the studies and their research is compliant with ESOMAR guidelines. One questioner cited the privacy of the poor retailer, increasingly bombarded with consumers not there to (just) shop but bribed to film in their stores and take photos of their shelves – who is looking out for them? We have obsessed with privacy about consumer but not about retailers who we collect data on. But before we weep on their behalf the panel pointed out that retailers have been pretty uncooperative in the past – the panel cited experience of studies falling over through lack of retailer cooperation.

Although it is clearly important to measure and evaluate consumer behaviours and attitudes holistically, and to use methodologies that put the consumer and shopper at centre, do more and more data sources give us more and more insight? Sometimes perhaps less is more?

ROOM 2: BIG FOCUS - Research in Developing Countries - Erika Harriford McLaren

Finding Gold in the Desert
The invention of MegaPlaza, the first modern mall for the emergent classes in the outskirts of Lima
Percy Vigil Vidal, Administradora Panamericana, Peru and Rolando Arellano Cueva, Arellano Investigación de Marketing, Peru
In the last 40 years Peru has undergone radical change…political, social and economic. The first presentation in the BIG FOCUS – Research in Developing economies session of the afternoon, explored how something as simple as a shopping centre location can present real challenges to researchers connecting with local communities. According to the presenters Percy Vigil-Vidal, Administradora Panamericana, Peru and Rolando Arellano-Cueva, 5 of 9 million of the total inhabitants of Lima live in slums that did not exist in the 1960’s. Their challenge – how do you convince an investor to go to one of the poorer areas of the city and build a huge shopping centre – or MegaPlaza?

What Vidal and Arellano-Cuevo found was that shopping centres in Peru were mainly situated outside of the boundaries of the traditional city centre area of Lima, mainly because of a lack of knowledge of the local people outside of this area and deeply ingrained stereotypes of what non-urban Peruvians were like. Using lifestyles segmentation, they explored the feasibility of building a new commercial zone in the north area of Lima – a new venture in a challenging area. Their findings showed that while there was a lack of modern retail stores in this area, more than 40% of population had a modern lifestyle that reflected real possibilities for new business opportunities. When asked, the people in this northern suburb expressed interest in the idea of having a grand-scale shopping centre, but wanted to have it meet their localised needs versus those in central and more urban Lima – contradicting earlier ideas that this area did not have potential for this type of investment.

This, underscored the fact that Peru’s mall situation was due to lack of supply versus demand, and their findings that the potential spending power wasover $1.2 million, supported this idea. Great research proving that one must get past assumptions and bias surrounding consumers and be willing to explore the opportunities that may lie ahead.  Echoes of the Tim Harford’s opening keynote speech in action.

In the end, the new shopping complex, MegaPlaza received 1 million visitors in the first week and became the most attended shopping centre in Peru and second in popularity of sales.  They started with 61 stores in 2002 and plan to reach 380 at end of 2013.  A true example of research effectiveness.

A Whole New World
A valuable new platform for market research
Daranee Chareon- Rajapark, GfK MarketWise Thailand
After 30 years of working in the research industry (this is her anniversary month), Daranee Chareon Rajapark, took us through what turned out to be her favourite piece of research she has done to date. Exploring the recent civil and political unrest in Thailand, Chareon Rajapark walked us through the project – Thailand’s largest ever study – on the views of the Thai people in many facets of life. They sought to get real insight from all Thai people to understand just how to move forward and their findings showed a society deeply concerned with guiding their future down a positive path. By bridging market and social research, they brought together 30 thought leaders in a stakeholder analysis and conducted 2x 100,000 interviews with pen and paper around the country to get feedback on real issues affecting Thai people.  With findings such as 80% of Thais are somewhat to very satisfied with their lives and country and 44% citing drugs as a top problem versus corruption, Gfk Market Thailand was able to produce findings to create a profile of Thai people that was used by various stakeholders – governments, NGOS, and more to create a positive working and collaborative way forward to bringing Thailand back to becoming the land of smiles.

Research Fusion
Merging public health, consumer and healthcare market research to inform health initiatives in developing countries
Greg Zwisler, PATH, USA  and Melissa Moodley, Ipsos MORI Healthcare, UK
The topic of this presentation is one that many of use choose not to discuss in general conversation, but in reality affects millions of lives around the globe, causing severe sickness and often death. Diarrhoea, whilst a commonplace disease, is still a huge factor in global childhood mortality and astonishingly kills  approximately 800,000 children under the age of 5 each year.  So, what can be done to ensure that this sickness, which while maybe not always preventable, can at least be treated to minimise this deadly affect?

Zwisler and Moodley, used a case study exploring India, Kenya and Zambia to highlight how use of a consumer centric approach to the problem using ORS, commercial product, could guide a social solution. Through the use of diaries (heavily reliant on pictorials and visual cues), they looked at ORS treatments and why, how and how often they were used. This allowed them to develop a commercial product that took into account care givers with little to no education and that would provide dosages and increased efficacy according to local needs versus global projections. By using a bottom up approach over an aggregate one, they were able to distinguish unique cultural differences to ensure that modifications and usage of the medicines would benefit each local community uniquely and would maximise success in minimising diarrhoea.

ROOM 1: BIG IMPACT - Jeffrey Henning

Peace by Piece: The Hurdles to Global Peace
Jean-Marc Leger of Leger and Dr. Ijaz Gilani of Gallup Pakistan discussed a WIN/Gallup International survey about the hurdles to global peace. The recent survey – fielded from August 12 to September 13, 2013 – covered 40,275 respondents in 46 countries, covering all regions of the world.

Respondents were asked if they expected more, less, or the same number of different events within the next 3 years. Over 40% of respondents expected there to be more of these types of events:

  •  52% expect more global warming events
  •  44% expect more terrorist acts
  •  43% expect more civil wars and unrest in Arabic countries
  •  41% expect more events showing the lack of food and water
  •  41% expect more global economic and financial crises

Respondents were then asked, “And which of these events do you feel is the most worrisome?”

  • 19% said terrorist acts
  • 18% said global warming and environmental disasters
  • 17% said the lack of food and water
  • 15% said global economics and financial crises
  • 10% said the proliferation of nuclear weapons

These are “the hurdles global leaders are facing on the world”. But respondents don’t see leaders up to the challenge: to the question, “Who will lead us to world peace?” 50% “had no clue as to which leader might lead them out of these crises.” While Obama and Putin are seen as global leaders, neither enjoy great confidence. For the question “How much, if at all, do you trust or do not trust, each of the following world leaders to foster global peace?” Obama has a net score of +11% (most trusted) and Putin has a net score -21% (least trusted of 13 leaders). This varies by region: for instance, Obama is the least trusted in Middle East but the most trusted in the Americas and Africa.

The survey produced three key findings:

  1.  Issues are more and more global, with the perceptions of people across the world being similar.
  2.  There is a lack of leadership in the world – most leaders are not well known and not well trusted.
  3.  Humans are their own threat.

My Mum’s Throne Room
Dave McCaughan of the McCann WorldGroup in Japan discussed “the technology that defines modernity in a developing world” in a wide-ranging, often comical presentation, that can’t be done justice to in a brief summary.

Dave lived in Thailand in the late 1990s. “We were approached by Singer sewing machines, a leading manufacturer of white and brown goods in the home in Thailand. Their target market had been people outside Bangkok, but a huge influx of people had been moving into Bangkok to obtain a better life.” As part of this transition, Singer was losing market share to aspirational brands, to Korean brands.

They used focus groups and surveys to study the issue, before doing an ethnography with mothers who had moved to Bangkok. This being the 1990s, they gave 100 mothers each a disposable camera and asked them to “take photos of the things that you would miss most if everything in your home disappeared at once.” Every mom took a photo of their children, and no one took a photo of their husband! When the hundreds of photos were displayed, most women had a television set, many had a refrigerator, some had a microwave oven, and a few had personal computers. Yet what did women take the most pride in? A Western-style seated toilet.

This toilet was the symbol of being a “modern” family. “Of course our television and refrigerator are important,” said one respondent. “Many of our relatives don’t have all the appliances we have. But then again many do…. But when we moved to this apartment we got something my cousins [in my village] cannot have. We got connected to the toilet system.” The toilet connected her to middle class life.

Dave had experienced something similar in his own life. His mother, Doris, had been a sergeant in the British Army doing World War II, on the front line with an antiaircraft battery, before immigrating to Australia and working as an accountant. She cried when they moved from the Sydney suburbs to a new house closer to the city center. For the first time in her life, she had an indoor toilet.

“I really believe when we study technology, what people do, we misunderstand things,” Dave said. “We spend so much time asking direct questions. Would any of you have ever done a survey that asked ‘are toilets the most important technology in your room?’ or ‘are toilets the thing that defines you as middle class?’

ROOM 2: BIG PICTURE - The Power of Visuals - Lucy Davison

In a really packed room (not the main hall but the smaller room for the parallel sessions) Deb Sleep from Engage Research bribes us with presents; sweets, a bingo card and a crossword puzzle. She’s here to talk about instinctive, instant, visualisation with no computers. But she cheated by putting her presentation on PowerPoint (more of this later).


Deb Sleep

Concern from researchers about the communication of data has never been higher. This is a subject close to my heart and of great interest to Congress attendees if the number in the room was anything to go by. Needless to say ESOMAR could do more on this.

Deb starts her session on See the Data, be the Data, by posing the problem for researchers. We need to convey information in a quick and memorable way. We need to engage with the audience, and we need to do it in timely and cost effective way. This makes lots of the really impressive infographics of the style of David McCandless (Information is Beautiful, after all), beyond our time or budget. In addition although she feels that qualitative researchers can communicate using imagery relatively easily, quantitative researchers struggle to communicate as well visually.

In addition, although Steve Jobs said people who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint, Deb demonstrated very powerfully that in research, we do need PowerPoint. She illustrated this very cleverly by discussing quant research data with a blank slide, leaving us all lost. Deb went on to illustrate in a very engaging and interactive session some ways she suggests we use gamification to present data – with audience participation on a giant jigsaw and rewards for taking part. Her simple message was that if you get people involved in what’s going on and make it short, simple, fun, engaging and energetic, they listen to the boring bits too. Plus give them sweets, a surefire hit.

I learnt that although as a working mother I am proud of my multi-tasking, I cannot eat sweets, play bingo, do a crossword and take notes at same time. Natch.

Debs was followed by an equally energetic and engaging presentation on The Art of Research by Annelies Verhaeghe from Insites Consulting. She told a compelling story about using power of images to present research also to demonstrate the power of images in marketing.

Luckily the entire project she presented was for a visual brand and on a visual medium. The work was for Diesel and the brief was to find out how to increase value of their Pinterest page. Effectively an online visual scrapbook, Pinterest is one of fastest growing social media platforms and is mostly used by women. It also has one of highest conversion rates to purchase, as a recent study by Vision Critical demonstrates.

InSites Consulting Art Gallery

InSites Consulting Art Gallery

With very strong slides and a positively gushing video from the client (who could not be here), Annelies demonstrated how Insites Consulting combined social media listening, with social media ethnography ‘netnography’ and a quantitatiive survey to work out how to make Diesel consumers more engaged with the brand on Pinterest. The results were not ‘presented’ rather communicated interactively with the client via a research art exhibition – which Annelies had recreated in Istanbul and took the audience to see. The exhibition enabled the client to engage with the material and understand in visual way what is going on with the different segments of their target audience. This meant the client really understood what their fans were looking for. The client said she now knows exactly what do to. And the data backed it up. Four weeks after launching a new digital strategy, Diesel had achieved a 25% increase in Pinterest followers and people reported that the content was driving them to visit website and shop in store more.

I left this session buzzing. It could have been the sugar rush from Deb’s sweets, but I think it was the excitement of seeing research communicated so powerfully and creating such impact.

Tom Ewing is Digital Culture Officer at Brainjuicer, Elina Halonen is a founding partner of the Irrational Agency, Lucy Davison is Managing Director at Keen Mustard Marketing, Jeffrey Henning, is president of Researchscape International and Erika Harriford-McLaren is Communications Manager at ESOMAR