FEATURE1 January 2009

60 Second Soapbox – Clare Bruce

Clare Bruce, CEO of Nunwood, is a Corrie fanatic and has eBay envy. Her one desire? That we should all fly by the seat of our pants.

?A client I’d like to get my hands on is…
As a huge Coronation Street fan I would have to say ITV. Totally selfish reasons, as it may give me a chance to meet the stars. Or asos.com, the online clothing and fashion accessories store, which has transformed itself from a gimmicky site reproducing outfits worn by celebrities and looks to be bucking the current gloomy retail trend. As well as French Connection and Karen Millen, it has now signed up premium labels such as Alexander McQueen’s McQ and Acne Jeans and even Balenciaga and Miu Miu.

An idea I wished I’d had is…
eBay. Incredible intuitive technology supporting the deeply human instinct “to grab a bargain” – operating on a global scale, using free trade principles.

A campaign that grabbed me recently
The election campaign for Barack Obama. Apparently more than two million Facebook friends signed up for him.

His social networking site attracted eight million volunteers. Through iPhone all your contacts could be organised by battleground state so you could call people who mattered and suggest they vote for Obama.

They used TV well, they used their website well, they used posters, design and imagery well. They certainly used research well. But at the centre of it all there was one man: calm, clever, confident and passionate about his beliefs.

A campaign that needed more research…
The logo for the London 2012 Olympics – when it first emerged, some 50,000 people signed an online petition calling for it to be scrapped and apparently sections of the launch video were found to trigger epileptic seizures.

According to the 2012 website, the brand communicates with everyone from commercial organizations to kids playing sport.

It is “young in spirit and full of confidence, certainty and opportunity” they claim, and is “not afraid to shake things up, to challenge the accepted, to change things”. Well I’d change that. We’re all getting used to it, but doesn’t mean we necessarily like it.

One thing this industry could use more of is…
Confidence. It’s time for us to let go of the paperwork and have the courage to layer informed opinion on top of solid data. We need to fly by the seat of our pants more and leverage the information we provide, working together with senior management teams on ideas and their execution.

Insight professionals cannot simply be ‘providers of research’. We must adopt a much more pro-active role as a central facilitator of profitable change. The research strategies of 2008 cannot and should not be the research strategies of 2009.

We collectively need to develop more confidence to impart our opinions as well as our quantifiable findings, more belief in our ability to tackle commercial issues with our hard-earned experience as well as our empirical data.

One thing this industry could use less of is…

In five years time we’ll all be talking about…
How many lives genome theory is beginning to save, how many diseases we can now eradicate and how many years are being added to average lifespans as a result.

And the one thing never to forget is…
Sorry if I sound like your mother but: what goes around comes around.