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FEATURE1 September 2009

60 Second Soapbox – Heather Payne

Heather Payne, CEO of Research International in Asia Pacific, has had enough of using PowerPoint and cannot face another advert where people sneeze on each other.

?The product I’m excited about at the moment is…
Cathay Pacific 747-400. For the past year Cathay Pacific has been introducing their new planes. The economy cabin has bucket seats so your seat moves within a capsule. This means the person in the row in front cannot push back and squash my laptop against my chest. What a simple but great idea to put the passenger in charge of how much leg room they have.

A client I’d like to get my hands on is…
The Lonely Planet publications. They come in contact with so many people at the time when they are in a positive frame of mind and planning to, or already on holiday – there has to be room to tap in to this positive brand experience.

An idea I wished I’d had is…
Starbucks had a campaign around the US election last year to encourage people to vote. `If you cared enough to vote’ Starbucks would buy you a coffee. I would have liked to have thought of this idea as it is a great CRM initiative that joins hands with the American community – I am not from the US (nor a coffee drinker) but I loved the way Starbucks stood up for a cause and encouraged people to come along with them. If I had a coffee shop, and a cause, I would pinch this idea.

A campaign that grabbed me recently is…
A Motorola Mince GPS campaign. I saw it on YouTube and it made me laugh and take notice. Anyone who has asked directions in foreign countries will relate to this ad, particularly in parts of Asia where people wish to be helpful so will sometimes tell you any answer in the hope they have helped you. It has got me lost many a time. I have tried to find out about this product but can’t seem to locate it anywhere.

A campaign that needed more research is…
I live in Hong Kong and there is a constant stream of ads telling people what to do. Cover your mouth when you cough, love your children, be nice to your grandmother and fix your windows. I really find them an insult to the intelligence of the people of Hong Kong. There is also a campaign for cold and flu tablets where the man and woman are at a bus stop and he sneezes on her and messes up her hair. The thought of that is quite revolting and I look away. So I can’t tell you which brand it is for.

One thing this industry could use more of is…
PR. Research is such a stimulating and rewarding industry to work in but it is not on the radar of many graduates. We need to find ways for potential employees to get to feel and know our industry.

One thing this industry could use less of is…
PowerPoint – it’s harder work to get to know consumers from PowerPoint. We should use less PowerPoint and more technology. Technology can allow marketers to really feel and live with their consumers via video/real time/online chats/network groups/ observation - the list goes on.

In five years time we’ll all be talking about…
We will still be talking about China and India, and how can we understand the nuances and diversity in these markets. We will have moved from the tier 1 and tier 2 cities and we will be exploring the rural consumer and the emerging cities. We will also be talking about Latam and Africa.

And the one thing never to forget is…
There are many people who think differently to me so always leave your own prejudices at the door and dive in and discover the lives of people you want your brand to connect with, with a clear and open mind.

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