By Jackie Mold
For me, ESOMAR Congress is an opportunity to keep up-to-date with the MR industry trends and to identify potential vendors. Add to that all the fun networking opportunities and you have an excellent mix for a 3 day industry conference.
Having attended the event for the last four years, I was expecting a busy three-day event, and sure enough, it met all my expectations and more.
Before arriving on Sunday, I like to plan my time to help ensure I manage to get the most out of Congress. So I read the program and do a quick research snoop on the speakers. As always, there is a lot going on, it can be difficult to decide which presentations to go to, and I almost prefer the all-in-one room option that is used for the keynote speakers, as this takes away the “umm what room shall I go in to” overload factor.
On the Monday morning many were expecting a lively start to the day and we certainly got that with a wonderful magic show. ESOMAR always seems to have an element of glamor for me, which is an added bonus. This was followed by a wonderful welcome by Joan Burton, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Ireland.
Over the next three days I managed to hear and see all the speakers and presentations that I had highlighted. I spoke to vendors and I networked like a partygoer at a festival.
During coffee breaks there was a lot of chatter about the industry trends and what we all felt was happening, and still lots of talk on what we are doing with big data (still not sure!). For me, a trend I want to see happening is the effective use of various devices capable of collecting data. Yes, we all know we have the mobile option, but we really do need to shorten the questionnaires. It was good to hear that this is an area that seems to be seeing some improvement.
One presentation that did make me think was: Watching the Devices: do we watch video differently on smaller screens? This presentation demonstrated how we consume media in 2015, and how viewing on mobile devices has changed our relationship with programmes. We were shown how we watch and how our brains are reacting, which is a fascinating insight for researchers. I was astonished at the way our viewing options have increased, but it seems large uncluttered screens are still the best for advertising, and we pay more attention to programs shown on traditional TV, because there are fewer distractions!
In previous years I have been able to pick out my favorite presentations, but this year the standard was so high I found myself leaving saying “that was the best” on at least four occasions. There were also remarkable keynote speakers. Listening to Sir Ranulph Fiennes talk about his amazing explorations and endurance made me feel very humble. His almost comic routine to tell his story made his talk highly entertaining. We also heard from an inspiring young man named Jordan Casey. This was a follow-on from his presentation last year and he gave us an update on what he has been up to in the last 12 months. His latest project, Kids Code, is an online game that uses puzzles to teach children how to code – how smart is that?! – and he has accomplished this at the ripe old age of 15!
ESOMAR always manages to have a great party and this year the dinner event was superb. There was plenty of bubbles on arrival at the beautiful building of Royal Dublin Society. The Irish drummers and dancers gave the night a real Irish Craic feel, and by the end of the night there were a lot of people on the dancefloor all strutting their stuff and looking pleased with their age, era or country- appropriate dance styles. We even kept the craic theme going at the end of the night on the buses on the way back to our hotels with an impromptu singalong!
I left this year’s ESOMAR worn out, but full of ideas and inspiration. I met up with friends and contemporaries from all over the world and I made new contacts, some relevant and some not, but all worth a chat.
Bring on New Orleans 2016!
Jackie Mold is general manager Europe at Ugam, a global leader in managed analytics for retailers, brands and market research firms.
By Arindam Mohanty
Winning the prestigious ESOMAR Young Researcher Award for 2015 was an exercise in patience, preparation and inspiration. Right from the word ‘go’, the experience of submitting my paper, working on my main presentation deck and moreover, the fieldwork that supported my paper were not only great fun but also, a rigourous process that taught me a valuable lesson or two as a researcher.
The award itself has won me much praise and admiration from all quarters of our industry as well as from clients. The entire process makes you feel like you have grown and come a long way as a researcher – from the nervous photojournalist and travel writer who wanted to try his hand at qualitative research barely four years ago to presenting to the industry fraternity at a high profile event such as the ESOMAR Congress, competing for a prestigious award.
But more than anything else, the entire experience has inspired an attitude in me that I thought had faded with the years – a child-like curiosity about the world around and the confidence to take on any challenge and give it one’s best shot. I guess that whether it’s this award or any event remotely enormous in our lives in any form, events like these have the ability to change our lives forever – not only at a professional level (and the benefits are tangible and exciting!) but also, at a personal level. And it is this personal metamorphosis that I must stress on as my key take-away from this experience.
While the enormity of the event and the award were enough to give me the proverbial butterflies in the stomach, it’s the width and depth of my experience at the ESOMAR Congress that made it worthwhile.
The experience allowed me to connect not only with researchers doing similar work across age but also, my peers. And needless to say, interacting with your peers at events like this adds a completely new meaning to your own experience. Even better is the fact that these interactions leave you knowing that you’ve made a few new friends!
Also, being relatively young in the industry helped– many a lady and gentleman with years of experience were ever so happy to share their thoughts and ideas and listen to mine with critical appreciation.
The team at ESOMAR was fabulous all through – guiding me through the entire process, right from being intimated about the award to preparing my presentation, briefing calls and planning my travel. A special mention to Danika Smit, who handled one hurdle after another with élan!
Will I come back? Of course I will! We all should – for the congress and the award are a fabulous way to push our own boundaries and add meaning to who we are as researchers and as people. The award, with its suggested topics and points of exploration will make you want to cross the limits of your imagination and give you something you’ve been waiting for – new ideas, new experiences and new paradigms.
Arindam Mohanty is Research Manager at The Third Eye, India.
By Adam Warner @
And so here we are. Slightly groggy, a little tired and delicate, welcome to day 3 of the ESOMAR Congress.
Yesterday afternoon, to ensure I was appropriately suited and booted for the ESOMAR Awards Dinner, I sent my blog to the editor before seeing the final keynote of the day. But Peter Lovett, Dance Psychologist at Hertfordshire University (Herts represent!) gave such an engaging session it’s worth mentioning today. Exploring the benefits of dance in encouraging divergent thinking, and in the social situations, it genuinely showed that there was more to dance than many think.
The ESOMAR Awards Dinner was also last night which was a lot more formal than last year’s Congress Dinner, which would have pleased many returning delegates this year. I, however, had a bloody excellent time last year in Nice, but I think I was in a minority. All in all, it was good to see the ESOMAR awards get a bit more stature this year, the highlight of last night being to see Joy Uyanwune, pick up the Best Representative Award for her work in Nigeria.
But fast forward to today in room 1. Today room 1 was all about the good market research can do in cultural and social research. Although it was a shame to miss out on the The Business Value of Visuals sessions in room 2, it’s the social research that, to me, really does demonstrate the value in market research.
Yesterday, Matt Taylor of Twitter made a shout for changing what we communicate, as an industry, to the public and specifically graduates and potential researchers. This was a key point for me over the week. And today, the highlight was the content we should be using to promote the industry.
Millennials are not going to be interested in hearing about how, through research, Coca-Cola increased their profits by an extra few million, or sold more Coke in Brazilian favelas. In fact, I don’t want to hear about that, that’s the ugly side of market research. And as Samantha Bond talked about yesterday millennials want “morals not money”. The Social Impact and Impact of Social session this afternoon is exactly what we should be communicating, in particular the award winning Belief, Intent, ACTION! paper, showing us the real positive impact research can make. Forget polling, forget taking commercial papers and clients to university visits – this should be the public face of market research.
Anurag Vaish, Jeff Mulhausen, Katie Plocheck, Maaya Sundaram, Maria Eletskaya, Ram Prasad, Sema Sgaier, Steve Kretschmer and Timothy Sweeney talked us through an incredibly challenging study in Africa that addressed male circumcision in the region, hoping to avert 3.4 million new cases of HIV by 2025. This is research that saves lives.
After lunch the thread continued with the When Democracy Fails to Deliver from WIN/Gallup and Ireland and Same-Sex Marriage: Predicting Social Change, with Aengus Carroll and Eric Meerkamper of RIWI, which showed how innovative survey techniques were used to guide the strategy of the successful Yes campaign for the Irish marriage equality referendum. Again, a powerful story of how research can be used for significant social good.
We finished the day with two keynotes Panti Bliss, a gender discombobulist, and “the world’s greatest explorer” Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Two very different keynotes to end the Congress, but equally as fascinating.
Ranulph Fiennes in particular held the room with easy charm. While at first glance seemingly dry at the fore, you have the hilarious tales of a man of incredibly strong character fatalist who talked to us of the importance of teamwork and resilience.
Both Panti and Ranulph are national treasures in my book.
And that was it for Congress 2015. All that was left was for ultimate MR double act Finn Raben and Laurent Flores to sum up and sign out. There’s been a hashtag doing the rounds all week -#imaproudmarketresearcher. I didn’t mention it before because I bailed out of the session that featured it, I do hate audience participation after all. But it does well to sum up the event. This is not the first Congress, or the last, that will have an undercurrent of celebrating the work of the industry in order to promote it to a wider audience and ensure the growth and the security. For me, ESOMAR Congress 2015 showed that there is the will and the content behind it to make a strong push to improve the public perception of MR. You just need someone to take responsibility and take action.
Adam Warner is one of three RWC bloggers, reporting straight from Congress 2015 onsite.
Adam Warner is Communications Manager at Keen as Mustard.
Watch the keynote video of Oliver Percovich of Skateistan, at ESOMAR Congress 2013, as he talks empowering youth and providing opportunities for children in Afghanistan through skateboarding.
It’s that time of the year again. ESOMAR’s Congress 2013 kicked off today, 850 attendees descended on Istanbul to learn and share new learnings and discuss the future of the market research industry. Here are our highlights of day 1.