Perspectives Episode 17 – What are actionable steps – with a big impact – that companies can take to be better workplace allies for women and other diverse populations?

What are actionable steps – with a big impact – that companies can take to be better workplace allies for women and other diverse populations?

Welcome to Episode 17 of Perspectives!


It’s International Women’s Day and we would love to celebrate with you!

In this month‘s episode, we collaborated with Women In Research (WIRe) to bring together a panel of experts (both female AND male) to discuss the most important steps companies can take to improve the workplace for women and diverse populations. We asked our panel of research leaders; “What are actionable steps – with a big impact – that companies can take to be better workplace allies for women and other diverse populations?”

In this episode, we are championing IWD’s #BalanceforBetter theme as we strive to encourage organizations to take action and provide a wide range of opportunities and a fairer working environment for women and diverse populations.

Got a question you’d like us to ask our panel? Let us know by submitting your question via video here

Excerpts from the vlog

I think that it is the realization and acknowledgment of the people within your team that really has the biggest impact…@lauren__raby

I think it’s also not just about what we do in business, but what we do more broadly in society. As we’ve heard before, we can’t be what we can’t see, we need to be able to see more diverse and empowered female roles, culturally accepted… @erica_dfirst

Gender balance is really essential for economies, for communities, and individuals to thrive, and International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political advancements of women…@kristinluck

I think what companies can do to be better allies for women and other diverse populations, is to stop asking the question about the previous salary in hiring practices…@Hamilton_alisa

I really think you have to measure your workforce, you need to know how many people there are, that are different genders and different types of diverse populations because if you measure it, you can then do something about it…@Fiona_MESH

In reference to market research, our entire industry is built around knowing the voice, thoughts and opinions of others. Our organizations need to be reflective of this as well. This includes our vendors, agencies and corporate research…@market_cube

The culture comes from the top of an organization, and people need to see different faces, they need to see that diversity is a reality and not just the vision. Ideally, there’d be an open chair and open role for which diversity could be made an essential component of the recruitment and selection process… @JDDeitch

Perspectives Episode 16 – What was the best presentation or key takeaway from an event this past year?

What was the best presentation or key takeaway from an event this past year?

Welcome to Episode 16 of Perspectives!

What was the best presentation or key takeaway from an event this past year?

2018 was a great year for Market Research events! The past year, our industry gathered to highlight new developments in MR technology and many influential experts shared their views looking to the horizon and new trends for 2019. So, for this latest episode, we asked our panel of research leaders; ‘What was the best presentation or key takeaway from an event this past year?

In this month‘s episode, our panel experts discussed the best presentations in 2018 and the key takeaways from conferences throughout the year.

Got a question you’d like us to ask our panel? Let us know by submitting your question via video here

Excerpts from the vlog


A key takeaway that I still remember from last year was from Vanessa Oshima at Starbucks. We were at the Australia Market Research Conference, and her headliner was that the market research industry is about to have their Kodak moment…@zulk10

Alex Honnald and his experience of climbing El Capitan solo without any ropes. I think we all do a lot of fascinating stuff in research, but do we ever do things like that? I mean that’s extreme courage. That’s crazy. He had some fairly hairy moments… @winifredatwell

These are research agencies that are working with global not-for-profits, NGOs. Doing research in some of the most challenging areas of the world. So, working on projects that teach NFPs, for instance, how to make their communications more impactful through digital storytelling…@kristinluck

The best presentation for me last year really was a presentation that PMI gave at one of our events. It’s our first event in London at the Tate, and it was by Beth Goldreal, and what she talked about was how they adopted technology…@earle_babita

I think IIEX is fantastic in that it balances new versus traditional research, Sample Con is fantastic in the sense that it is much more communicative… @simavasa

Perspectives Episode 15 – Where has automation been most impactful in Market Research?

Where has automation been most impactful in Market Research?

Welcome to Episode 15 of Perspectives!

Where has automation been most impactful for you (or your business), and where do you think it could be utilised with an even greater effect?

Automation continues to be one of the most discussed topics in 2018, and the Market Research industry has been discovering its advantages and how impactful it can be for their clients and businesses. So, for this latest episode we asked our panel of research leaders; ‘Where has automation been most impactful for you or your business, and where do you think it could be utilized with an even greater effect?’

In this months episode, our panel of contributors discussed the importance of automation, how it is transforming the industry and how it can be utilized on a larger scale.

Play the video to discover the most interesting feedback our panelists provided and let us know what you think about it!

Got a question you’d like us to ask our panel? Let us know by submitting your question via video here

Excerpts from the vlog

So most of my life is automated. I think the best thing about automation, and this will happen in the world of research too, is that you don’t notice these things. They just happen in the background and that’s the beauty of automation @winifredatwell

I think the next stage of automation that we’ll be looking at is automating more of the analysis side so that we can purely focus on interpreting what that analysis has found, then helping drive the outcomes and helping clients make better business decisions… @andybuckers

What’s really exciting is the speed at which we can iterate and be agile. So we’re very much at the start of our journey in terms of how automation is transforming us as an [Market Research] industry. There is a lot of education that we need to do but it’s very exciting… @earle_babita

So all of this meant that we needed to have a lot of engagement, really that bit like a CRM programme, and text reminders and little messages to keep involved and emails, and this was a really important area for us to automate in order to make things more efficient, so I think that’s where the benefit has really been to the business… @FionaMESH 

Clara and I emailed back and forth probably a half dozen times were joking and having a conversation. And then I came to find out a couple of days later that Clara was actually a virtual assistant. She wasn’t even a real person and yet I was having all of these really amazing conversations with her @kristinluck

Our entire company at Knowledge Hound is based on automation, so it’s been very impactful for us, and our clients have benefited from automation because they can go from open text search instantly to a data point in a graph… @zulk10

Perspectives Episode 14 – Market Research innovations that haven’t made it…yet!

Market research innovations that haven’t made it yet!… ?

Welcome to Episode 14 of Perspectives!

Which market research technology or method did you think would have a huge impact on the market research industry….but hasn’t?

After an exciting array of conferences in recent months, and many more to come in autumn (fall), the market research industry is abuzz discussing a rash of new technologies and methods.

But sometimes, discussing these ideas is as far as we get as an industry. So, in this month’s episode, we asked the Perspectives panel to tell us about the market research technology they thought would have a huge impact on the market research industry….but hasn’t.

The floor was left wide open, so our contributors had the opportunity to explore the individual tools like Google Glass or provide a more reflective take on the industry’s adoption of technology.

Hit play on the video above to explore the fascinating feedback we collected from the Perspectives panel. Plus, we’d love you to try out our new chapter navigation to easily jump between individual contributions.

Got a question you’d like us to ask our panel? Let us know by submitting your question via video here

Excerpts from the vlog


If we don’t embrace all these opportunities that are in front of us, that are at our fingertips, faster than we are, we will end up being the case study of the industry in disruption that didn’t realise that it was being disrupted and no longer exists… @winifredatwell

If you’d asked me this question five years ago, I would have said the social media or digital listening would have been the thing that I really thought was gonna take off and take out lots of different types of market research. But ask me two years ago, and I would have said that I was surprised that maybe that didn’t happen for whatever reason, it just didn’t really seem to catch on in the way that I thought it was going to. @andybuckers

We’re pretty much where we were back in the early noughties. We’re still having survey platform companies collect the data, agencies are still doing data processing, we’re still seeing quite basic reporting in many instances and clients are still demanding more utility from their data… @jamesturner247

The research methodology that I thought would have a really big impact on the industry and just hasn’t had as much as I would have thought is gamification. It just makes so much more sense that you gamifiy the way that you collect data from people…  @FionaMESH 

It was hard not to get excited about Google Glass. It was the first time that it felt like passive measurement techniques were actually going to be reality – albeit with a healthy dose of creepiness… @kristinluck

So for me, it is definitely about researchers being more open to trying new technology, being willing to work in partnership with some of these new technology vendors on pilots to discover new ways to answer the same questions… @DaveCarruthers 

Perspectives Episode 13 – The biggest untapped opportunities for market research.

The biggest untapped opportunities for market research.

Welcome to Episode 13 of Perspectives!

Excerpts from the vlog

I think that one of the key areas we’re going to face is being able to process and understand image recognition especially with video. As you look at the amount of content and media-rich files we’re receiving today, being able to process can be important, but more importantly is the data processing associated with that on image recognition. – @RickWest01

I feel that the number one opportunity researchers need to identify the development of machine learning techniques. – Saleem @vocalviews

We tend to focus on individuals, and never the context or their family and friends to establish whether what they say is what is. This whole thing about doing nothing, I’m not talking about my time or indulgences and things like that, I’m talking about waiting time, doing nothing time. We spend an awful lot of our lives doing that, and it’s rarely captured. – @SiamackSalari

I think we live in a world where technology is delivering what used to be in science fiction, so we got self-refilling fridges, we got VR, AR, we got Alexa and her friends, and all of these gives us a wealth of data. We can easily map where people are going, what they’re doing, what they’re buying, how they’re buying when they’re buying it, but data isn’t the same as knowledge. We need to understand why and integrate that with the data streams to give clients clear action or guidance, and I believe that’s a huge opportunity for market research. – Liz @HarrisonInsight

The biggest untapped opportunity in market research is combining previously existing methodologies, and that’s digital asking and digital listening. So the technology for both has been around for a good while now, but there are flaws in each when used as a single methodology, so when up turn them on its head, and take the best of both approach and use them in combination. So in terms of social media or digital listening, we can pick up on the wider conversation about sort of consumer trends, lifestyles, categories, and use that to generate prophecies, and that’s when the primary research can kit* back in or digital asking, where we either seek to validate those high prophecies, or we can explore maybe more of the specific objectives using primary research method. – @andybuckers

Well a big area that is from my point of view right untapped in market research, is the area of e-commerce, there are lots and lots of companies out there, who could benefit from traditional market research methodologies, and be able to fuse it with the lots of online behavioral data, plus basket data that those guys have. They also have a lot of path data that is collected by companies like comschool etc. Now obviously that side of research isn’t monopolized upon, and it’s left up to the big data scientists and audience measurement companies to take on. However, I believe there’s a lot of stuff that traditional market research could offer this community. – Johnny Caldwell

So I think the biggest untapped opportunities from market research are partly driven by something that hasn’t changed in the last ten years, but it’s just still there for taking them, our entire company is based on it. And that is how much data is being given out freely by people and their behaviours online, in our basis it’s digital ethnography, so it’s applying that same ethnographic method, but looking at that behaviour online that’s publicly available. And I still think that there’s an incredible untapped opportunity for a lot of folks, at least to compare them against data when people are prompted, and I still think that it is the largest untapped opportunity. – @dbrowell

Perspectives Episode 12 – What are your top 3 tips for ensuring respondent engagement?

What are your top 3 tips for ensuring respondent engagement?

Welcome to Episode 12 of Perspectives!

Excerpts from the vlog

“A few very basic things that we do is; number one, actually go through the questionnaire that you’re asking the respondent to take, empathise with that experience. Number two, inform the respondent as to what to expect, how long is the survey, how much time should they put aside, and also what device is the best device to take the survey on. The third thing, which is a little bit longer term, we are continuing to evaluate the value equation for respondent, so what additional points of value can we offer the respondents to continue to trust us, to continue to have good equity with our brand.” – @simavasa

Firstly, don’t think about respondents, think about real people. We always call them participants at Mesh as we believe it helps to treat them as people, with respect. Secondly, be personal with them and allow them to give their story in their way, whether that’s through diaries or whether that’s through video. We think that’s also important. And don’t ask those questions which mean they can’t answer without going forward. And finally, keep those questionnaires short and sweet. – @FionaMESH

Global research business network has put out a handbook with a hundred and one tips for respondent engagement; it’s a really valuable piece of work, it was work done by lots of different people across lots of different sectors in the industry. And it ranges in everything from survey design, to how we engage people, to where we find people, and how we communicate with them. Again global research business network put this together, and it’s an incredibly valuable piece of work, and I would encourage you to look at that and read it. @kerryhecht

So, three things for making research more participant-friendly. One, make your surveys mobile friendly. That really should be table stakes at this point. Still can’t figure out exactly why it’s not. And other things that are along those lines, when you’re writing a survey, write your questions like a human. There’s no reason to use research speak and to use thirty words to say something when you could say it in six. And lastly, related to that, you’ve got to test your surveys. That doesn’t mean going through a test link, that means go through your surveys. Ideally, test them with someone else who is not close to the survey, not you who has designed the survey, and get the experience of someone who is taking it. And if you can’t do that for some reason, read it aloud. You’ll catch a lot of things that way. Ultimately what we want to do is think about research as being a conversation. Making it a conversation, because that’s really what we should be doing for engaging with people. @RoddyKnowles

Respondents are the lifeblood of our industry, so I’m so glad that we’re talking about how to improve the respondent experience. Three things we think you should keep in mind, one, the user experience of the participant participating in the research, should be of a quality that is on par with their experience with the brand or the product. It doesn’t have to be the same experience, but they should be of a similar quality level. Two, we need as researchers to become device and invite-type agnostic, to allow sample companies and recruiters to engage respondents where the respondent is, instead of forcing the respondent to come to us. – @BaillieForGood

What I’d like to do this week is to focus on qualitative. And use an example of a program that I set up when I worked for a TV channel that really connected the consumer with the brand at a very personal level. And we had 3 main goals, or you can call them 3 main tips in mind. Firstly we wanted to create an experience where consumers were invited into the TV studios in London to take part in small focus group discussions. They went through the process of being made up and being fitted with microphones. And each group took place around the anchor’s desk. So right in the middle of the studio. And the whole session was filmed. And it gave delegates the experience really of being interviewed as a guest on the channel. Secondly, making a difference. I think this approach not only gave valuable insights back to the business from a programming point of view and also from a commercial point of view, but also it just created a different experience for the consumer from a research point of view. And finally, I think it’s important to give something back. And at the end of each of these sessions, each delegate had a one to one interview with one of our anchors. And again, these interviews were filmed. And the respondents were given a copy of the interview to take home and share with their family, share with their friends. So it was all about giving back. So to recap three things to bear in mind to encourage consumer engagement. Firstly, experience. Secondly, creating something different. And thirdly, giving something back to those involved. – Mike Jeanes

The first thing is to choose a platform that people feel comfortable engaging with, and mobile is the obvious choice. If you think about all the relationships that start using mobile apps, it demonstrates how comfortable people feel sharing emotion in text and video and photographs on a mobile. The second key thing is to ask people to do tasks that are relevant to their everyday lives. So when we ask people to go and check out the Beer display in Sainsbury’s, it’s part of their usual shopping trip. We are not asking to make a detour on our behalf, and they get paid for giving us good results. And finally, the key to engagement is fair remuneration. We pay people in hard cash on a weekly basis for taking part in research which is why they feel so committed to delivering results. We recently did a study working with Nivea. They wanted to check out what people felt about using the shower mousse. People went into the store, they bought some Nivea competitive products, went home to try them. Then at the end of the day, we asked them to do a video selfie. One lady wrote in and said “I am sorry we couldn’t do the video selfie because I just went into labour. But don’t worry, I will try and do this in few weeks time.” That to me is a classic example of incredible engagement with a happy group of respondents. – @RobinShuker

Keep it simple, first of all, make it easy ask questions that make sense and are easy to answer. Where ever possible use pre-coded lists and other rather than an open question and avoid my pet hate at all costs, do not ask questions that people can’t answer in the way they want to, that causes frustration and then they will give up completely. The second thing is to make it relevant, target tightly to your sample and keep it real and thirdly respect your respondents. Focus on what you need to know not what’s nice to know, don’t waste their time and then make the questionnaire flow – @HarrisonInsight

So my top three tips for being a people-centred researcher, I will first use tools and techniques and questions tags, which mirror the way that people communicate today, so obviously mobiles, given like I’m presenting on now, but we’ve also built a survey toolkit, which is very much inspired by social media, where we’re getting people to swipe their answers, or tweet them, or do a photo caption. Now secondly, we’ve gotta keep the survey or the research task text and instructions as short as possible, particularly for online call and capturing video-based research, we really need to ask less and observe more, and this gives the participant a lot more freedom to talk about what’s important to them, and ultimately that’s a more engaging experience. And thirdly, we need to reward people for their fair exchange of the data, and this is getting more important over time, particularly as we get more aware of issues around GDPR and people become aware of that, and the recent Facebook privacy scandals. @andybuckers

So you’re looking for three recommendations about how to improve participant engagement, I’m gonna give you one, the global research business network, has produced a report called “engage”, which is a hundred and one tips for improving participant user experience, it’s a free report, and the GRBN is a global organisation, made up of all the national market research associations around the world, and they’ve worked, I think, with thirty-five partner companies to come up with this report. It’s free, you can go to and find the report, it’s called engage, and that will give you a plethora of ideas and advice about how to improve participant engagement, and also to any arguments you might want to have with clients or with suppliers, or with other colleagues about how important this issue is to the future of research. So my one tip is to go to read the engage report from the GRBN. – Paul Griffiths

OK, three things that can help with respondent engagement, two are serious one’s a bit glib. The glib one is a couple of glasses of wine; the Sava group can help. You don’t want respondents to get absolutely hammered. That’s happened to me once, I had a fight break out in the focus group in front of a bunch of clients, that was hideous. But a bear or two can loosen tongues. I also think that it’s really important to have some interesting contextual discussions particularly if you have recession something’s a bit dry. So awhile ago, for example, I had to look at some strategic propositions for dishwasher templates which is a fascinating subject. But proceeding expiration of the propositions we talked about female empowerment and trends in female empowerment, really interesting discussion. So by the time I revealed the proposition people were engaged and sitting forward. I had a good go on picking the propositions. The third thing is where you are researching something that’s a bit dry again I think particularly if its creative or strategic development, I find team bases activities can help things move along. In groups of two or three, I think people feel more compelled to participate, whereas in groups of 7 or 8 I think people can feel a bit more relaxed about sitting back and not saying anything if they are not particularly engaged by the subject. Ya, that’s about it. – Mark Ratcliff

we are ethnographers, and so by that token we don’t necessarily have the same elements of issues of respondents, in responding to engagements, so but I’ll just say that for us it is special balance and by balance I really mean about not being part of the behaviour and not in any way interacting or hinging upon someone’s life and behaviour, so that we can observe and not violate, in any way, the sort of lay lines that might influence their behaviour in anyway – @dbrowell

Three tips for engaging respondents, so top tip number one is being honest about the length of time you want to have them for and stick to that because they will be aware. Secondly, if you want to get the best out if them it’s maybe to invoke a little bit of a pleasant surprise, so ask them questions that will get them thinking. So be careful about the questions you ask. Boring questions get boring answers. My third tip is to have an interviewer that is genuine and cares about the respondent’s answers that they give, they will know and will be able to tell. – Adrianne Carter @adrubena

You need to look at how you incentivize them. And also as panels for stats on where people cash out. Do they stay in for a long time? Do they build up the cash in their bank and leave it there or do they cash out as soon as they possibly can? That’s got a very good indication of whether a panel is highly engaged or not. So there are other approaches. Cash isn’t the best one anyway. We use a points-based system whereby they can save points up and then buy items in our online shop, which is not for profit. But they engage with that. – Johny Caldwell

Perspectives Episode 11 – What ONE research related firm do you feel is THE one to watch in 2018?

What ONE related firm do you feel is THE one to watch in 2018?

Welcome to Episode 11 of Perspectives!

Excerpts from the vlog

So, my tip for a research related firm to watch out for in 2018, is a business called ‘Reality Mine’, and they are a passive meter company that puts tracking on websites, on apps, on search, and on media, they are a business setup in 2012 I think, but they’ve just received more funding from the Kennet Partners, the VC guys, who also invested in Receipt Bank. And I think they’re a really interesting play, they’re nice nexus between digital and research and data, and they’ve just also announced that Chris Havemann*, he’s gonna become their chief executive, Chris is the guy that setup research now group into international business, and he’s next entrepreneur of the year from AIM, he’s a smart guy and he wouldn’t have got involved if he didn’t think the business had an opportunity to do really well. So I would watch out for them, I think they’re going to be great at servicing research agencies, which I know I think they partner with. But I think they’re also gonna be able to work with media companies, media research, and also panelists, so there’s no reason why you can’t put the passive metering onto panels, whether that’d be stand of online panels or online communities, where I think that will also add real value. – Paul @clientadvocates

The one company is Cambridge Analytica, I think given the high profile of all the coverage they’ve had, how they respond to it, how the industry responds, and ultimately what happens is a pretty interesting thing to be following over the next twelve months or so. It’s going to run way beyond the twelve months for sure, it’s gonna have deeper ramifications, and I think what happens there as a result of perhaps open, yet passive and live streamed driven data, is going to play out in an interesting way for this industry, it’s gonna face, it’s gonna create some challenges for the regulators to face, it’s also going to create challenges for a lot of look alike companies in the way we operate and take the science. I think it’s gonna be pretty interesting to see how that goes forward. – @winifredatwell

if I was looking for a research, a decent research company in the UK, I would hunt down where Richard Atkinson is working, he used to be head of Quarter Two CV, he setup a new agency, can’t remember its name, but what they are doing is, approaching research with kind of a socially aware and almost politically conscious mindset, it’s quite interesting, I don’t wanna say it’s liberal or left-wing or such, but I’ve just said it, so and that’s being a bit glib*, but it’s looking at where, basically they’re looking at where research can make a difference in people’s lives, and I think they did quite a lot of stuff in places like India. So very interesting mindset to go into research with, how can we make people’s lives better rather than how can we sell people more stuff, so yeah that’s where I’d be looking, but can’t remember the name of the agency, which is a bugger, and I haven’t seen Richard for a while, so if he sees this, I hope it doesn’t freak him out too much. – Mark Ratcliff

Proto brand is using system one techniques to gauge the strength of an image associated to the brands, by timing how long it takes the respondent to identify that image with the brand, which I think is kinda neat. And also they’re working on metaphor elicitation, so having respondents pick an image and then describe why they chose that image to reflect a brand, and so I think that immediately you’re getting respondents going in a story telling mode, versus just asking them what’s your opinion of the brand x, y and z. So doing a lot of cool things out there, getting out response is a little bit differently than your traditional trackers and surveys – @dean_macko

There’s a company called group solver in the U.S and they post questions and they get the respondents and they get the respondents to actually theme and organise their answers themselves to actually come up with the theme themselves and I’m a big fan as some of you may know of actually emancipating participants, bringing them into the process, even asking them here’s what were trying to learn what do we have to ask you to learn it. Even getting them to be ethnographers of their own behaviour. I think group solver is a company to watch. – @SiamackSalari

Perspectives Episode 10 with WIRe – What one crucial step can companies or managers take to support the advancement of women in the workplace?

What one crucial step can companies or managers take to support the advancement or women in the workplace?

Welcome to Episode 10 of Perspectives!

In the tenth episode of Perspectives, we’re celebrating and honouring International Women’s Day on March 8th. We ask Women in Research and the Women who have taken part in past episodes to talk about key changes and commitments that are needed to drive real change for Women.

Welcome to the Woman In Research episode of Perspectives!

Hosted by Kristin Luck and in partnership with WIRe and MRS Society.

If you’re not familiar with Wire, our global community of over seven thousand women and over a thousand male advocates are on a mission to advance the contribution and voice of women in the industry. Study after study has shown the positive impact of diversity on corporate performance and innovation, although I typically shy away from only highlighting female perspectives, today March 8th, we’re going to do just that in honour of International Women’s Day. If you’re struggling as a company or a manager to understand how to effectively move the needle on diversity and support the advancement of women in the workplace, look no further. Today women around the world from Dubai, Sydney, Amsterdam, Paris, Los Angeles, are going to offer their thoughts on steps you can take to make 2018 the year we stop dreaming about diversity and we start actually do it, so enjoy. – @kristinluck

Written Commentary 

Annie Pettit – Market Research Methodologist,, read more on her blog.

It’s hard to identify one most important step because there are so many small and big things people and companies can do. I’ll frame it like this. Companies can take a good, hard, honest look at the efforts they’ve made thus far and course correct.

  • What percentage of your senior leadership team is women? Does your senior team suffer from token womanism? It’s frustrating to research a potential client or employer only to find the senior team is ten men and one woman. (Let’s not even go so far as to consider the diversity of ethnicity, disability, etc.) If your company truly values diversity, it’s impossible for the demographics of the senior team to not demonstrate it. And don’t course correct by adding a VP of Diversity. Course correct by hiring an expert in your industry/business, e.g., VP of Data/IT/Research/CustomerExperience.
  • What percentage of promotions with senior leadership potential has been offered to women? We know that women are less likely to ask for promotions and a raise, so pay attention to whether you’re offering these opportunities to people who are asking (overtly or covertly) versus people who have quietly contributed to the bottom line without beating their chest and proclaiming how great they are.
  • What percentage of speakers sent by your company to conferences last year were women, and did you send the same woman every time? You might notice that the same speakers appear at conferences over and over again. Well, maybe it’s time to divide up the 25 speaking slots among ten people, even better among five women and five men who’ve never taken the stage before. In my work with new speakers, I’ve yet to see a single new speaker fail miserably on stage. In fact, the fast majority are AS GOOD AS other speakers. I kid you not. Sure, some show their nerves, but the audience cares more about the content than the nerves. I guarantee you’ve got at least one diamond in the rough, probably several. Take the risk, earn the reward.
  • Are you an encourager, nudger, promoter, motivator, an ally? Do you regularly (kindly and respectfully) push and prod to help the quiet people show their expertise? Sometimes, asking someone to submit a conference proposal will turn into a yes on the fifth or tenth ask. Keep on asking. Keep on making sure they know they DO have the expertise and they CAN succeed as a speaker/leader/manager, or whatever the seemingly scary task is.

Debbie Bray – Director of Hook Research, read more on her blog.

Women are a vital, powerful part of any workforce and bring a whole host of skills to research companies such as Hook: unique perspectives on consumer behaviours; different emotional registers; and enhanced organisational skills developed through the delicate balance of child rearing and job pressures (to name just a few).

But companies sometimes need to be willing to accommodate the unique needs of women as well – particularly those who want to grow their careers while simultaneously raising a family. And one of the best ways that companies can do this is by being more flexible.

One of our big mantras at Hook is ‘flexibility aids productivity’.

We treat our employees as grown-ups who are more than capable of meeting deadlines (whether they’re in or out of the office) and they have always risen to the challenge.

The world is changing and peoples’ lives no longer fit the traditional working hours of companies. Offices need to adapt to this.

Being visible doesn’t mean being physically present in an office – we are living in a much more connected age where people can Skype, facetime, and call into meetings. Similarly, working from home on certain days has never been easier – video conferencing, email, and shared cloud drives have made it so much easier to collaborate with colleagues when they’re out and about.

So this year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, my challenge to companies across the research industry and beyond is to figure out how to be more flexible when accommodating the needs of the women in their workforce. Who knows? You might just find that you’re more productive as a result!

Excerpts from the vlog

I don’t like the idea of setting rules and quotas and it’s not about doing that it’s about having the best person for the role. But it’s ensuring that when you’re considering candidates representative roles you do have a diverse range of candidates and women are absent you need to be at that table and considered and which is not always the case. Second thing, I would say is listen to the women within your organisation listen to their needs their coaching and their mental needs are often very different from men and women often need the encouragement and the confidence to actually put themselves out there and to apply for more senior roles and to apply for more senior positions. – @earle_babita

I think the one most important step companies and managers can take to support the advancement of women in the workplace is to treat them equally. – @keenasmustard

it’s really about an ability for an organisation to think about “How do you create those strategies? “, to bring diversity of thinking in, whether that be gender, sexuality, race, etc, or religion. So, that for me, is one strategy that an organisation really needs to work on, and we can ensure that women rise to the top. – Joanna Derry

Most important things that I’ve been able to say really have made a difference is creating flexibility, and that’s like teaching flexibility to everybody, to be able to recognise that when you’re a working woman. Especially if you’re dealing with family, but also to a working father, that there has to be flexibility in how you’re going to manage your schedules, how you’re gonna manage your projects and being able to teach planning and flexibility. And I mentioned men in this as well, because fathers need to be available too to take the children to hospital if there’s a broken bone or something. – Vanessa Oshima

Getting more heads around the table to reduce the amount of unconscious bias that happens. In this way, more people have a say in the decision-making process. It needs to happen at the point they enter an organisation but importantly as an organisation moves forward with the individuals they have selected giving women that opportunity to step up to different tasks. And the support structure they need to take on new challenges is going to be increasingly important to see them have the skills and the experience to step further into senior management in Businesses. – @erica_dfirst

Let’s say you work on the corporate side and it’s a large company, I would recommend getting together with other people who share your views, and bonding together, creating a pact. My experience shows that large companies, to create change requires a lot of effort and a ton of changemakers working together. And by the way, this group should also include men, because this is a global issue. And if you happen to be on the agency side, or a smaller company, I would recommend taking your bold vision to the top. – @ImagineInsights

The core belief system at the top trickles down throughout the organisation. We must have upper level managers who are thinking about the issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and have are implementing processes for hiring, promotions, training etc. with those core beliefs of the quality in mind. – @BaillieForGood

I think that companies can do etc, is to have more women in roles and have women visible in organisation, so if you don’t have women as directors and managing directors and divisional directors in your organisation, find a talent, nurture it, support it, train it and make those women your senior people, because I really strongly believe in the mantra “you cannot be what you cannot see”, so if you don’t have those women in those positions, go and get them. @SineadH

My two cents on how to make this work is to build it in the same way that you build anything into your processes like spelling checking of documents, proofreading of documents. I think to check out the diversity profiles of your staff, and executive leadership team should be built in. It should be something that is a function that has a box that needs to be ticked whereby if that box is not ticked action is taken and that those items are reviewed regularly. Because it’s not just about promoting women, it’s about promoting diversity and getting all of us kind of an equal voice and an equal chance to have a spot at the table. – @mindsparklab

Metrics. This is the single most important thing that you can do for your business to advance women. And the reason I’m saying this is that if you have metrics, you can get insight from those, and from that action will be taken. So the kind of metrics I’m thinking about is obviously the percentage of women on the board or senior managers. Also, it could be from a diverse supplier perspective, and this is something I would particularly push. So you know how much of your costs are going to diverse suppliers, and in particular to certified women-owned businesses because these businesses are most likely to support women in the workplace. – @FionaMESH

On a supplier side of market research, one of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed is that women don’t want to advance because they see the workload and the hours and the inflexibility of the schedule being incompatible with their lives. So what we’ve been doing at our company, and what I suggest every company on the supplier side do, is build in flexibility into the schedule, allow them to set their hours. – @Alter_Agents

If they show the promise, if they do the hard work, our job is to clear the path and let them shine, that’s truly what I believe we can do for women, and if we continue to do that as leaders and managers, we will see more women in senior level positions supporting that trend and supporting other women as they make their path going forward. – @simavasa

Historically speaking, qualitative of research has always been a fairly female dominated side of market research, so I don’t think that we’ve suffered from some of the things that you see in the more math or techy oriented market research companies or businesses. So within my own company, of course, we’re a female owned company and most of our employees are women, so we don’t struggle with this as an issue. I have personally worked for companies that were, where men led my team or the company itself, and we often found ourselves coming up with ideas or coming up with solutions that were ignored until the man in charge were regurgitated them as their own ideas. So I think as a manager or a CEO, it’s really important to give, especially to your female employees. – @Kerryhecht

To support the advancement of women in the workplace is to truly value diversity. The diversity of experience, diversity in thinking, and diversity of career pathways. This will create a pipeline of really good people to pick and choose from in senior management teams and allow you to look around and ensure that there is that fifty-fifty representation of men and women of management and up above. – @Livwithme

The most important step is an attitude change. Now you may think I’m going to talk about lack of flexibility in the workplace and women being overlooked. I’m not. It’s often said that a man will apply for a job if he reckons he can do most of the role requirements whereas a woman will only do so if she thinks she can do it all. Is that fact or folklore? Whatever the case the important thing is that if women hold themselves back through a lack of self-belief or a fear of failure or a fear of taking risks it is women themselves who need to change. Change is hard. It’s a cultural shift. – @HarrisonInsight

If younger women in organisations don’t see women in positions of leadership and at positions of power, I would question how likely they are to be motivated to seek opportunities that would get them into those positions as well and believe that they can do that for themselves too. So I appreciate this is a big challenge for a lot of organisations currently, and especially when particularly the leadership roles are often occupied by males, but I think companies can do more by bringing in external female mentors and putting people in touch with a way such of motivators in this area, and perhaps making text available, show some b.. is a great example, or even perhaps putting people in touch with a wider network beyond this industry. – @WeJoinTheDots

I mean encouraging flexibility in terms of working hours and where the work gets done. I think it’s really important they’re giving up flexibility and treated like grown up, so as long as the work gets done. It shouldn’t matter whether that’s in their own homes, in the office or at times to suit them, I think you need to move away from office traditional working hours that don’t suit people’s lives anymore and embrace the flexibility that is more connected world office hours. – @DebbieBray1

When my children were little, I had the flexibility to work in the office most days, and then actually when it was time to pick the children up from school, to pick them up and then carry on working from home on my laptop. So that was a great way for me to keep advancing my career but having the flexibility also to pick the children which for lots of mothers is important. And for the children’s development too because we’re ensuring their future as well and making them feel part of the family. – @adrubena

It’s very difficult for women coming into an organisation or an industry, particularly one like technology which is still quite male-dominated if they don’t see examples of senior women around the table in that organisation. So making sure that women are well represented at board level, VP level, senior management positions and that these senior women are proactively advocating for, sponsoring, mentoring women within that organisation. I also think flexibility is key. So recognising that the very rigid nine to five office based role can be problematic. Giving people the opportunity to work flexibly, possibly homeworking and letting that be something that is advocated for from the senior level at the organisation. I think for more junior female employees, seeing senior women taking advantage of that flexibility is really important and it’s so important that, that business genuinely is behind those policies, that it supports it for all members of staff and that gives people that flexibility to balance their professional commitments with their personal commitments, and ultimately to excel in both with their business’ support. – @voxpopme

Perspectives Episode 09 – What three things will you do differently as a result of GDPR?

What three things will you do differently as a result of GDPR?

Welcome to Episode 09 of Perspectives!

In the ninth episode of Perspectives, we’re talking about how people need to get ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Excerpts from the vlog

I think this is going to have a big impact on the market research sector in the broadest of terms, so we want to make sure that people are prepared for that from a kind of career point of view. @SineadH

We need to focus not just on the 25th of May, but beyond the 25th of May, this isn’t just a one-off training exercises it is actually a change of culture for organisations to ensure we stay complaint and continue to ensure data quality and data transparency. @pd_hudson

We’re collecting a lot more video and I think that’s only gonna increase in the future, and we gotta make sure that our systems and our processors are good enough at handling and managing this type of data, so videos gonna be a big part of our implementation. @andybuckers

Looking at all our data coming in and coming out, because one of the things that GDPR requires us to do is to maintain that register, so that’s one of the things that we’re busy building… is building that whole record of everything coming in and everything going out. @Finn01

The really main one for us will be the right to be forgotten. That’s going to be an interesting element of our research (being digital ethnography) where we may be collecting publicly available behavior from sites that may have then have data removed in the future. @dbrowell

Not just for data that we are capturing from outside the business, but also the data we hold on our own staff, on candidates, it’s a very wide ranging a group of people that we need to consider when we look at consent, so that’s giving us some opportunity to strengthen our existing policies and make sure that process is very explicit in the way that we do capture consent – Victoria Hedley

Perspectives Episode 08 – Share two key tips or tricks for communicating insights that resonate with the C-Suite and drive real results.

Share two key tips or tricks for communicating insights that resonate with the C-Suite and drive real results?

Welcome to Episode 08 of Perspectives!

In the eighth episode of Perspectives, we ask for tips and tricks for communicating insights that resonate with the C-Suite and drive real actions and results.

Written Commentary

Annie Pettit – Market Research Methodologist,, read more on her blog.

Alrighty, tip number one: Sample Sizes. The reasons for choosing sample sizes are a foreign concept to many people, leaders included. Many people depend on you to provide helpful guidance when it comes understanding what an appropriate sample size is, the drawbacks of those sizes, and how results can be interpreted given those choices. One tip I’ve used is to give them specific examples of what might and might not be statistically significant when the results do come through. For instance, rather than sharing the margin of error around a specific sample size, instead, I’ll say something like: With this sample size, a result of 30% would be statistically different from 37% but statistically the same as 36%. Are you prepared to choose a winning concept that is preferred by 30% of people rather than by 36% of people?

Tip number two: actionability. As someone who loves raw data, cleaned data charted data, graphed data, and tabled data, sometimes it’s hard to take the next step and make the data usable and actionable. But business leaders don’t always care about individual data points. They may not even be concerned with summaries of the results. What they really want is your informed opinion about what the data actually mean and the appropriate options that should be considered as a result of the data. So, beyond reporting that 30% of people like a certain thing, use your understanding of the rest of the results to indicate why they like a certain thing, why they might not like it, the implications of moving forward (or not) with that thing, and how that choice might affect other products on the market already. Take the data as far forward as you possibly can in order to give them fodder to spark further ideas.

Bonus tip! Know your own weaknesses. I know that data visualization is not my strength. When I need data to be visualized well so that it is understandable by everyone, from junior to senior and expert to a newbie, my only option is to find an expert. And here’s an example of how an expert would illustrate missing data. I would have never thought to do it like but look at how effective it is. It’s worth the extra cost.

Nick Fisher – Co-founder,, read more on his blog.

In my opinion, these are the three things that any researcher should keep in mind when debriefing senior stakeholders.

1. KEEP YOUR RESEARCH ACTIONABLE AND GROUNDED We’ve all seen them: insights that are considered deeply profound by their creators – paradigm-shifting, even – but which lack a firm grounding in the day-to-day objectives of a company. Blue-sky idealism certainly has a place in market research, but it needs to be remembered that high level stakeholders rarely have time for this luxury: these stakeholders are looking for clear insights that resolve pressing research queries. What they’re not looking for are scattershot insights that make granular points but lack business application. It is of particular importance when debriefing senior stakeholders (but also key, surely, to keep in mind when crafting all pieces of research) that outputs are not only well thought out but provide answers in a way that empowers stakeholders to take action in a positive way.

2. BE AN ADVISOR NOT A RESEARCHER A good presentation to the c-suite will not only be built on a careful analysis of the research area in question, but will be shaped by an understanding of each stakeholders’ personal objectives. These motives aren’t too hard to find and can be gathered in multiple ways: by reading through interviews with a stakeholder; op-eds that they’ve penned about their aspirations for the company’s growth; or, if you’re lucky enough, one-on-one time with them where you can talk about their needs. Each of these ways (or a combination of all three!) are keys to unlocking this understanding. The goal here is ascending from a researcher to the role of advisor: someone who not only understands a research query in depth, but how the findings uncovered in the process can best support the growth of each stakeholder’s own ambitions for the company.

3. REMEMBER: THEY’RE JUST NORMAL PEOPLE Ultimately, though, the best advice I can give when debriefing senior stakeholders is to remember that they are just normal people: the c-suite are individuals (albeit, very busy individuals) who just want to be informed and entertained. It’s thus vitally important that research is presented in a way that conveys findings in a clear, straight-forward manner while simultaneously keeping them engaged with insights through an appropriate presentation style (whether that be good design, powerful video, or other strong, visual elements).

Excerpts from the vlog

Always being able to articulate how it helps in the near term. I wish I would have known that earlier in my career talking to C-Suite. @dbrowel

Most researchers often think of the communication of insights as the end of the project and they don’t think about it as the start of the campaign and so you need a shift to think about it as a beginning of something and you need to be able to deliver something which is much more focused on delivering action. @keenasmustard

I find my inspiration with Ted. Not the 18 minute talks, not the 12 minute talks, but the principals around opening with a powerful statement, keeping it short supported by some great substantiation and then finishing, but bringing it all to life with a well rehearsed, well structured clear thought. @winifredatwell

I’ve been in presentations to C-Suite where you think you’ve got half an hour and after ten minutes the marketing director decides that he’s got something else to do and so basically, if you’re not keeping it short and giving them a really good summary upfront, the danger is they won’t take on the information or they won’t get to a point where they can make a decision. @clientadvocates

If you’re there you have credibility, so don’t waste their time trying to make yourself worthy. @HarrisonInsight

A key trick that we use when communicating insights with a C suite is to have teams pitch their ideas like startups do. We bring in real entrepreneurs who are experienced pitching to get actual funding to train the teams up. These pitches also include real evidence based research using transactional or behavioural findings, which directly informs the team’s pivot, perish, or persevere recommendation. @reneemmurphy

Remember less is more, keep it short and concise, structuring your story around the main recommendations that you want the directors to focus on, don’t structure it around the data or the questions that you want asked, keep it focused on the actions that you want taken as a result of the project. @pd_hudson

Any advice I’d give people presenting to senior stakeholders is to remember that they’re just people and that they want to be entertained and they want to have good research as much as the next person so as long as it’s an entertaining presentation as long as you coach it real information and strong research it will go well. Nick Fisher @hookresearch

I found that the key was to be succinct in making my main point, then you would evidence it and then maybe give some extra colour if needed. What didn’t really work was leading them on a narrative, which had a sort of dramatic reveal or plot twist at the end, it wasted time and irritated them. @andybuckers

Once people reach the c-suite,  those functional and technical skills, you know, the skills that researchers spend most of their careers really honing, they matter less than leadership skills with a strong grasp of business fundamentals. @kristinluck

Don’t be afraid of delivering bad news. Often, the CEO would prefer to see what’s not working and what needs to be fixed rather than continuous reports of good news.- Mike Jeanes

You wanna know your audience, you also want to know stuff, so practice, practice and practice some more. You don’t wanna take an encyclopedia, no one wants to dig through pages of paperworks to understand what’s going on. Think ‘spark notes’, be high level, top line, but be prepared to dig deeper. @baileighallen

Tell a story and entertain. Textualise the data into some sort of real life situation, that hopefully members of the board will be able to relate to, then they will be able to understand and absorb the message that you’re giving far quicker.@Finn01

There are three things I have in the back of my mind. I need to tell them what they really need to know, I need to convince them why they should believe me, and I should show them why they should care. When it comes to keeping it real and taking the abstract and conceptual nature of numbers and making them more human, relate them to the people that their decisions actually affect, and the things that happen to real human beings as a consequence of their work. @InsightNarrator

One of the best ways to get your point over to a C suite audience I’ve always found is through repetition throughout the presentation. Obviously don’t make it too obvious. Not like Donald Trump. But if you span it out and repeat your main points maybe about three times that really does get the point over. Johnny Caldwell