FEATURE20 December 2016

2016 Review: the buzzwords

AI Features Trends UK

‘Post-truth’ was named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries, and it seems the research industry agrees. Our panel offer their thoughts on the words that defined 2016.

While there was agreement that artificial intelligence, attribution and augmented reality have been hot topics this year, as have tech-related concepts like programmatic and automation, the influence of the EU referendum and the US presidential election is clear to see.

Post-truth, which is defined as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotional and personal belief", was the most common choice for 2016’s buzzword among our panel. 

"It’s got to be post-truth. In research we've been banging on for ages about the role of emotions in driving behaviour – but in 2016 the political reality of this has bitten hard. It’s not about the truth or otherwise of what you say, it’s how you make me feel that counts!" Anna Cliffe, joint managing director at Trinity McQueen.

"Post-truth – A rebrand of ‘lying’," Christian Dubreuil, managing director EMEA at Research Now.

"Post-truth – not just the international word of the year – the idea of post-truth has huge implications on how we process and interpret information," Susan Vidler, head of research, Harris Interactive.

"Post-truth was Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year and it suggests truthlessness on steroids! Defined as a time when objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief," Crawford Hollingworth, founder of The Behavioural Architects.

"AI – everyone is talking about it, not just in the industry, but also mainstream media. The discussion about AI ranges from hysteric (claims that AI will replace large amounts of the current workforce across all sectors) to unrealistically enthusiastic (AI as THE answer to all business analytics challenges). As is often the case with buzzwords, the actual meaning of AI seems to have been lost in the hype." Frank Hedler, director of advanced analytics, Simpson Carpenter.   

"I’ll go with attribution. The sheer complexity of today’s marketplace and the explosion of touchpoints has resulted in a great deal of misdirected and wasted investment. Brand owners are rightly focused on optimising their investment in the moments that matter most. New approaches to attribution are therefore critical," Will Galgey, UK CEO, Kantar TNS.

"For the first time in about five years, it hasn't been ‘mobile'.  I would say ‘automation'.  Our industry is so reliant on people power, and with clients constantly looking to improve timings and reduce costs,  savvy clients are now implementing APIs directly into sample supply, negating the need to deal with bidding teams, compare pricing from multiple vendors and haggle over pricing.  Many of the mundane and time consuming parts of the process now can be removed from project management, freeing up their time to focus on what researchers are great at and what they love to do – adding value and insight to transform their clients’ businesses," Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA, Lucid.

Tomorrow: our panellists thoughts on the best campaigns of 2016