FEATURE12 December 2018

Breakthrough business of the year: Walnut Unlimited

Awards Features UK

At the 2018 MRS Research Live awards Walnut Unlimited won the Breakthrough Business of the year category.

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In December 2017, Unlimited’s insight agencies – Marketing Sciences, ICM Unlimited and ICM Direct – were merged under the neuroscience agency brand, Walnut.

The resulting consolidated Walnut Unlimited, led by managing director Jane Rudling, was centred on ‘human understanding’ focusing on neuroscience, behavioural psychology and behavioural economics. 

The restructure led to a significant increase in business in the first six months, as well as improved profit and more engaged staff. The latter was aided with the appointment of a talent director.

The agency has also launched an Academy programme for graduates and internships, as well as taking on five apprentices to broaden its diversity.

The agency arranged change management courses as well as focusing training and budget on skills for researchers of the future. It has changed its own structure, so sectors aren’t siloed, and cross-sector consultation is rewarded. Despite its total reorganisation, staff retention is more than 90%.

With the larger, single agency it has set budget for its innovation funnel and has a target of four new ideas to be rolled out in the business by the end of the year.

Rudling, said: “Bringing three agencies together to form a single new agency requires lots of hard work and a great deal of co-operation from everyone involved. All 122 people in Walnut have had a hand in making this happen and I’m very proud to work with such a talented group of people. Walnut builds on our neuroscience expertise bringing a new level of human understanding to our work underpinned by the latest scientific thinking. The MRS awards are the pinnacle of our industry, winning is a fantastic way to end the year.”