By Joaquim Bretcha 

As most of you may know, the role of the ESOMAR Council is to give strategic direction, ensure the association’s good governance, and provide effective service to its members. With the reach of our community having grown to 35,000 professionals around the world – through 5000 individual and 500+ corporate members worldwide – combined with a robust financial status, I think we can all agree that when looking back over the last 70 years of ESOMAR, preceding Councils have been very successful in their mission! In brief, the association today is in a very good shape.

The current Council body, recently elected for a two-year term, held its first meeting in Amsterdam on 8-9 February. This first meeting (of four in 2017) had a special objective: to set the priorities for this new mandate. As this Council benefits from having a good proportion of re-elected members, as well as a strong representation of new members, the priorities’ exercise was rich and comprehensive.

Ultimately, the priorities set were the result of Council’s reflections on the general context of the data, research and insights industry, as well as ESOMAR’s status and strategy, both of which were then compared and contrasted with the global nature of the association and industry trends. Based on this analysis, the Council agreed that our Industry is facing phenomenal challenges (and opportunities!) that oblige us to help our current members prepare for the changes as well as embrace the new technology-driven companies entering the data & insights world.

Under the umbrella of continuing to strengthen our relevance, as well as guaranteeing a healthy financial growth, the priorities for this Council Term were established as follows:

  1. To grow our membership, giving a special emphasis to 4 targets:
    1. Youth
    2. End Clients
    3. New Data and technology players
    4. Our Representatives – as key supporters and ambassadors of our community
  2. To remain leaders in the self-regulation of our profession, and representation in front of legislators
  3. To increase our focus on the US market. Representing 40% of the worldwide industry, ESOMAR aims to play an increased key role in facilitating the connection of this market to our international membership
  4. To offer unequalled content leadership, utilising new channels and media within the international community by maximizing our communication reach
  5. To keep excelling with our events, giving the best value in a cost-effective manner

Following the example set by the previous Council, we decided to create workgroups that together with the ESOMAR staff will concentrate on developing each of the set priorities.


Apart from setting priorities, the meeting focused on a few other relevant issues, the main ones of which are summarised below:

  • A Communications map and plan, to bring Council closer to our members, and allow our members to engage more fully with us..
  • A reflection process on how we can improve on our events;
  • To review new ways of engaging with current and new members, such as the Corporate membership license scheme, , our new AI search engine ANA (offering the ability to access 70 years’ worth of industry content) or the brand new ESOMAR Research Rally programme to be held in London, Paris and Amsterdam.
  • How to increase our support to, and involvement with local activities in light of the roles of the network of wonderful ESOMAR Representatives.

We also had to complete a couple of formalities : As BV Pradeep was elected Vice-President, we needed to elect a new treasurer. Pieter Paul Verheggen (Motivaction, NL) was unanimously elected to this new role. Both are also members of the ExeCo board together with the President (Niels Schillawaert), Past President (Laurent Flores), Director General (Finn Raben) and Chief Operating Officer (Marie-Agnes Mourot)

Having Pieter Paul elected as treasurer, meant we also needed to elect a new Council representative to the ESOMAR Foundation; Kristin Luck was unanimously elected to replace him on the Foundation board, joining Pervin Olgun.

The next Council Meeting will be held in Amsterdam on 8-9 June. All members are welcome to raise their comments to any Council Member in the meantime. Moreover, before this meeting, you will be able to meet some of them at different ESOMAR events:

  • MENAP 21-22 March, Dubai, Council member: Umesh Kumar
  • LATAM 5-7 April, Mexico, Council members: Niels Schillewaert, Joaquim Bretcha and Marcello Sasso
  • APAC 17-19 May, Shanghai, Council members: Niels Schillewaert, Anne- Sophie Damelincourt, Joaquim Bretcha, Pieter Paul Verheggen and Umesh Kumar

So, do not be shy, come and say hi and raise any questions or comments you may have, to them! In fact, this summary is also part of the plan to help you better understand and engage with Council activities! We hope you like it and use it to engage more with us! It is all for the common good of our association, our industry and our profession!

Joaquim Bretcha is International Director at Netquest and ESOMAR Council Member 2017-2018. Connect with him on Twitter via @jbretcha