FEATURE5 July 2021

Caroline Frankum – Research Hero

Features People

The Market Research Society has launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Caroline Frankum has been named one of the Research Heroes for summer 2021. 

Caroline Frankum, Global Chief Executive, Profiles division, Kantar

Caroline Frankum

Caroline Frankum is part of Kantar’s senior executive committee and leads its access panel and first-party data-led division Kantar Profiles.

Frankum was nominated as a Research Hero for supporting the advertising industry’s timeTo campaign, for which she offered Kantar’s research services as a means to measure sexual harassment in the industry.

Her nominee stated: “Her involvement went much further than we expected, and she demonstrated a personal involvement and remarkable commitment to the campaign. She was decisive, powerful, and more than willing to help. Caroline should be recognised for her contributions to the industry, diversity and inclusion.”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?

I’m now at the stage in my life where I appreciate that it’s when you feel like you can’t go on but keep going anyway that you’re actually at your strongest. This has proved a particularly poignant inflection point for me over the last 18 months as I’ve navigated my teams across the globe through the inconsistencies and uncertainties of Covid-19, while at the same time, led the creation and implementation of a plan of insurgent, transformational growth under private equity ownership.

There’s no doubt that this tested me to find and role model unprecedented resilience, determination and inner strength, but at the same time, allowed me to focus on striking the right balance between confidence and empathy when it came to communicating a collective narrative of hope and ‘bounded optimism’ that has kept the business moving forward even in the toughest of times.

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?

Using artificial intelligence as a ‘purpose for good’. There’s no doubt that we’re past the point of no return when it comes to AI being a rapidly growing mainstream mega-trend and influencer in our lives – in fact there are already predictions that in the next 10-20 years, the world’s top 10 companies will all be AI-based.

However, with AI being one of the most powerful examples of tech that humanity has ever created, it has the ability to deepen the world divides as much as it can be used to improve lives. So, using AI to bring out the best in hi-touch human and hi-tech machine collaboration to foster new ways of working and a stronger sense of purpose has a critical role to play in enhancing communities in truly responsible ways. Just imagine a world where every child has the opportunity to reach their maximum potential due to personalised education, and every human on the planet gets the medical support they need.

Accelerating the journey towards a more sustainable, inclusive, equitable world is not impossible if we focus on taking a more responsible approach to AI that drives productivity for the good of society. 

Who inspires you as a researcher?

I have had the privilege of meeting and working with many inspiring researchers across my client-side career in media and my more recent agency-side career.

The people who inspire me the most are the researchers who go above and beyond to role model and drive meaningful change for the better in society as well as in business – the ones who selflessly knock down walls to empower others to walk through, the ones who aren’t afraid to stand up and be counted even when the odds are heavily stacked against them, the ones who rise up and take others with them, the ones who hold themselves accountable for holding the pen when the story of their life is being written – and this makes Kenny Imafidon, the co-founder of ClearView Research, one of my biggest inspirations in the industry.

View the full list of Research Heroes for summer 2021

Research Heroes is an ongoing programme throughout 2021, with a second tranche of Heroes to be published in the autumn.