FEATURE5 July 2021

Hannah Rogers – Research Hero

Features People

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

Hannah Rogers, Head of New Business and Client Lead, Blue yonder

Greg morris_cropAs the pandemic took hold last year, Hannah Rogers designed a new methodology that could be used to boost Blue Yonder’s digital research, with the aim of taking it as near to face-to-face research as possible.

After working with the company’s developers, she trained teams on how to use the new toolbox and work with participants, and following testing, launched 3D: Digital Discovery Dashboard.

Rogers was nominated as a Research Hero because: “Hannah created a tool that delivered insight at a fraction of the cost in half the time. This led to a new, agile methodology that allowed brand teams to get precise, up-to-date insight for true competitive advantage; she delivered the route to superiority. This is insight work clients simply couldn’t do during global lockdowns without a creative methodology. Hannah’s work literally enabled clients to keep going, and a year on, the solution is being used globally, across all the client’s core brands.”

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

It’s a very recent and non-pandemic challenge: healthcare clients have a real issue testing medically safe, yet prototype over-the-counter products in regions other than the UK due to legislative restrictions. It took four months, but I found a way to blend the worlds of clinical and consumer in Europe to comply with all ethical, safety and legal restrictions, without the formerly required two-year time frame and £2m investment.

I set about it by being practical: understanding the laws in each region, speaking with regulatory bodies, and finding forward-thinking, clinical partners who shared an entrepreneurial mindset and showed a willingness to move their industry forward. We’re heading into a pilot test now, and have the right team onboard client side, clinically and (it goes without saying) at Blue Yonder.

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

Design for superiority: I’m hearing those words all the time. In increasingly competitive market spaces, with lean start-ups gaining voice and stretching the parameters of categories, clients have renewed interest in perfecting their core to drive profit. They want real, in-depth understanding of those edges which make a meaningful difference to consumer perception – that meet needs, differentiate, drive purchase, encourage loyalty and deliver a strong competitive advantage with measurable commercial benefits. It’s worth noting that an increasingly profitable core allows budget, time and head space for innovation in other areas – so it’s a win-win situation.

Who inspires you as a researcher?

There are many individuals client-side, supplier-side, agency-side and within Blue Yonder – far too many to name, so I’ll take a risk and go broader: it’s the entrepreneurial mindset in people which inspires me, and I see it across all levels in many companies.

This takes two predominant forms: the people who have powerful ideas who can create and design something new, methodology-wise, product-wise – the people who have the vision, and, equally as important, the people, often very senior, who have the confidence to let it happen. They empower their teams, and let them build capabilities, learning from their mistakes. They give people the time, budget and space to ‘fail fast’, learning as they go – and that is truly inspirational. It’s so hard to have this mindset in the modern world where success is frequently measured on commercial gain, but these people know the parameters, know the risks and take them on to move the innovation needle for us all.

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.