Social networking a two way mirror to public opinion

September 7, 2011 at 4:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank you Todd and Russel

August 25, 2011 at 6:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If you didn’t see the Gruen Transfer last night, you should check it out –

For a while now, I have been whining about the fact that the Advertising Industry is not listening to research as its considered boring and gets in the way of creativity.  Last night my 2 favourite panelists, Todd and Russel showed me may be wrong or things are changing.  Both these guys lead major Ad Agencies in Australia and they really spoke about how valuable research can be in the marketing process, ROI, avoiding costly mistakes etc etc.  They disagreed with other panelists that started down the well worn track that research stifles creativity and just tells you what you already know. 

I thought that was great and good on you Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft for helping the cause of those that know.  Research done correctly is a great investment and working in partnership with Ad Agencies is productive!

What airlines need to appreciate – it’s all about experience

August 25, 2011 at 4:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Like many others, I spend lots of time travelling, something I feel extremely lucky to do.  Last month I was lucky enough to fly between Toronto and Chicago and by chance I was introduced to Porter Airlines.  Being an ignorant Australian J, I had never heard of Porter, who I understand is a Canadian privately owned Airline who are really having a go and providing a different airline experience. 

I could not believe how pleasant it was.

1.       Purchasing the ticket online was easy and the flight was fantastic value

2.       You leave from downtown Toronto so close from work to the airport.

3.       You take a 3 minute pleasant ferry ride to the terminal

4.       You walk into the terminal and it looks like the Qantas Chairmans lounge but less stuffy. Food, drinks, lounges, fast wifi and very comfy

5.       You walk on to the plane, met by really well presented staff

6.       Once they take off, they come and give you a neat snack and offer a drink in a glass (all free of charge)

7.       They ask if you want a refill

8.       They take away the rubbish without grumbling

9.       You land at Chicago Midway, luggage appears within minutes and you are in a cab and almost in downtown Chicago quickly.

In a time when Airlines are going bust, making cuts, trying to achieve loyalty, spending $ on everything, I wonder if anyone has stopped and really tried to understand the business traveller experience.  Porter are doing an amazing job and I would bet their customer sat scores reflect this.  Everyone I spoke to after that flight told me that Porter were great.  Great experiences, leading to great word of mouth, leading to great loyalty.  Simple – right?  

Learning from Lindsey Buckingham – always wanting to do better

August 25, 2011 at 3:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This never-ending thirst for learning by people within our profession is something that continues to amaze me. Our profession is coming out of a tough few years in business and yet our professional development program (PDP) and conference numbers have never been stronger. The AMSRS Winter School last month comprised of eight different workshops and they were all near sellouts. We work hard at AMSRS to continue to innovate and improve the scope and quality of professional development and my thanks always to PDP gurus Bob White and John Scott for their great work in improving things constantly.

I recently watched an interview with Lindsey Buckingham, legendary guitarist and male lead singer of the musical group Fleetwood Mac, during which he was asked how the band had remained so popular for so long, despite all the turmoil, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle. He responded by saying ‘if you are any good at all you know that you can do better’.
And maybe that is the reason we continue to come to together to learn.

Long live our thirst for learning and wanting to do better. It will assure us a role in the future of business.

We have another opportunity to learn coming up with Conference 2011 being held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney 7-9 September. There is an amazing line up of speaker and papers: six keynote speakers including Sheila Keegan and Matt Church; seven invited speakers including Iggy Pintado and the amazing Caz Tebbutt; interwoven amongst a host of fantastic papers written by our members from around Australia. The icing on the cake will be Dr Karl’s breakfast hangover cure session on the final morning and Wil Anderson’s closing session. Conference Chair Suz Allen and her committee have done a wonderful job again this year so if you have not already done so, check out what’s in store at

Low Growth – no thanks

June 13, 2011 at 2:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last month was the reporting period for Australian banks. The Big Four (Commonwealth, National, ANZ and Westpac) reported strong results but one of the headlines that struck me was prompted by the ANZ CEO Mike Smith advising the banking sector that they must prepare for a paradigm shift, arguing that banks need to reinvent themselves for a new ‘low growth’ environment, where margins are tightening, and financial institutions need to learn to use capital more effectively and seek out alternative sources of income.

It occurred to me that, like banking, market and social research is also in the midst of a paradigm shift but I have not resigned myself to a low growth business environment for our profession. This is because I think we can adapt well to change and embrace new business opportunities. It is also about making research relevant and accessible to a larger audience in business, potentially via mobile and other new forms of information collection. Will it be more relevant to stakeholders in consumer insight or marketing departments or new sectors such as property or retail design? Can new methods allow the profession to seek out access to new budgets?

This month’s Research News is a good example of the transformation going on now in terms of mobile research and using geographic data fused with observational information and more conventional data collection methods:

Can these new methods increase our reach? Can they lead to high growth in our profession as market and social research extends beyond current methods to collect information? Time will tell, but it is up to all of us to challenge the status quo.

We need to refine our offer so we can survive in a business world where there is less appetite for risk and often fewer financial resources available, more do-it-yourself (DIY) options, more mobile and location-based tools (GPS), more demand for simplicity and speed from users and buyers and more insight from non-research activities – customer relationship management (CRM), word-of-mouth (WOM), social media monitoring (SMM) and analytics.

Bringing this together, using technology and providing expert analysis may be where the future lies, but within our profession there are some fine lines that need to be drawn in the short to mid term including the line we must draw as professionals between research and telemarketing.

This is not to say that we should operate in a bubble. It’s critically important that we develop strong alliances with other professionals who advise business decision makers. This is why this year’s national AMSRS conference features keynote speakers from academia, law enforcement and the media. If you are interested in the AMSRS National Conference in Sydney this September check out the highlights here and introducing the keynote speakers here

The conference will build on the successes of the previous two years so please come along to learn, share and join in the fight against a low growth future !

Our new print ad linking people, creativity and technology in research

May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Click here to see our Ambidextrous Brain ad Here at Vision Critical, Sydney we have been playing around with ways to communicate our intended positioning in the market re having technology enabled creative researchers. We launched this ad in Research news this month and when you use the QR Reader, you go to this video

love to hear any thoughts or feedback on our first idea

Making time for connections that matter

May 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One of the things that have been bothering me lately is the response that I get from everyone I meet in business (and I am guilty myself), in Government, in social surroundings, talking to my kids and their friends when i ask the question “how are you”. All i seem to get is “busy”. Everyone says busy (myself included) and it seems to get busier and busier every day, week, month and year. I feel sorry for my kids if this trend continues!

So what are we doing to retain connections that matter in our lives within all of this “busyness”?

In this month’s Research News
you can read about Les Winton’s amazing career in market and social research and he talks of social isolation, disconnection and despite the rise of social networking, there is growing disconnection of certain groups within Australia with “modern neighbourhoods not conducive to human communication”. Les speaks of the rise of social media driven by our deep desire for connection but that is no substitute for face to face communication. Is everyone too busy?

Just before Easter, the provocative thinker Helen Norberg-Hodge’s film, The Economics of Happiness ( premiered in Australia. Norberg-Hodge is quoted as saying:

“Governments worldwide, from the left to the right of the political spectrum, are signing treaties designed to accelerate economic growth through the deregulation of global trade and finance. The so-called global village is in fact a highly volatile monoculture based not on community or connection to place but on universal consumerism. [Meanwhile]… forces from below are rooted in people’s desire to preserve the connections to family, community and nature that make life meaningful. At a fundamental level, these are movements for ‘localisation’ – for reweaving the fabric of place-based culture.”

So we are being encouraged to buy local, cut emissions, look after local farmers and manufacturers, leverage local knowledge and meanwhile we are too busy to enjoy the benefits of community connection? Will we all be too busy to reweave the place based culture spoken about above?

As professional researchers we need to be aware that the stresses on the average household right now are enormous and we need to do something really special for people to get a small amount of people’s time. Maybe we need to find ways to get more information in a less obtrusive manner using observation and other techniques.

The Future of Marketing and Research is Social?

March 20, 2011 at 6:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One thing about researcher’s is that we love talking about the future. In multiple forums on LinkedIn we discuss and debate what’s need, what’s right, what’s a fad and what is not. Such debates are great but we need to take the conversation outside of ourselves and talk to marketing and business leaders about the future, as we are looking at a dramatic change in the way business buy and use research and collect information from consumers and most importantly, how customers want to interact with companies.
The internet of course changed everything and research is going through its own digital transformation where it is not just about capturing information via online, but more importantly how people have changed today in this participatory economy, where two way conversations are expected, not traditional one way dialogue in the form of a survey.
Within this new world of Research 2.0 the research profession with thrive if we can do a few things well namely; retaining quality of process and professionals, evolve our offer so cost cutting doesn’t reduce effectiveness, the level of access to respondents via traditional means, our ability to deliver ROI, our ability to combat information overload, our ability to engaging with respondents in new ways, our ability to embrace cultural and technological changes and finally our own braveness in marketing/positioning our profession.
We need to refine our offer so we can survive in a business world where:
• There is less appetite for risk/less $ available
• More DIY
• More Merger and acquisitions
• More mobile and location based tools (GPS)
• More demand for simplicity from clients
• More insight from non research activities (CRM, WOM, SMM, Analytics)
Bringing this together and providing expert analysis may be where the future lies but within this there are some fine lines that we need to walk through in the short to mid term. These fine lines include
• Marketing and research
• Research and public consultation
• Customer listening vs. fast tracking service issues (research as a short cut)
• Representativeness
• Stated vs. observed vs. actual data collection
So what the future hold for research?
• More shorter, sharper, more engaging on call conversations
• Micro launches, insights, iterations
• Doing more or the same with less
• Empowering people to engage
• Global learning
• Multimedia outputs
• Actively listening
And in a very 2.0 way, why don’t you tell me, lets collaborate!

What Research can learn from marketing and vicer versa

March 5, 2011 at 3:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Having spent time both as a marketer and researcher during my career, I find it interesting that I left marketing because it was not accountable enough (and hence lost budget at critical times) but I took a long time to get into research because as a profession, the brand was a little too serious and scientific, not really engaging.  Once I started in research I found out it is incredibly engaging and rewarding.  Clearly marketing and research can learn from each other so here are a few ways that can happen: 

What  Marketing can learn from research

·         Process does not have to stifle creativity

·         Develop strategy from reliable robust data

·         The power of really listening to what people say

·         Take time to truly understand why people are making decisions that they do vs. which ones they like

·         Don’t throw out the science of what you do as it provides a strong base for growth

What Research can learn from marketing

·         Throw awesome parties that connect people

·         The power of collaboration (working with design, creative people to build new thoughts and context)

·         Stand out, don’t play by other peoples rules

·         Keep it real – always, be open to criticism and admit when you are wrong

·         Be braver and have a single minded view on what to do, don’t fence sit

·         Process does not have to stifle creativity

Make research more collaborative so it ceases to become research.  It’s more part of the organisational design where we collect information from everywhere and apply context and analysis to know how to use this information.

Marketer’s need to raise the bar to create something more remarkable.  Researchers should have the courage to challenge clients to create better, more stylish, more affordable 

Looking beyond a simple top 20 list of research companies

February 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is interesting, not only because it features our company but also for the analysis conducted outside of the simple list.  Taking into account the values research professionals who selected a brand as innovative are likely to share.

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