FEATURE28 June 2021

Priya Minhas – Research Hero

Features People

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

Priya Minhas, Research Manager, Opinium

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Priya Minhas has worked at Opinium since 2016, and for the past four years she has run the company’s pro-bono ‘Multicultural Britain’ research series with participants from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Minhas was nominated as a Research Hero because: “In what was an incredible year for minority voices, Priya produced a powerful piece of research highlighting their experiences of racism, and also focusing on their experiences of the pandemic, which as we know affected this group disproportionately. If that was not enough, she also helped us launch our Multicultural Voices USA report, which we hope will achieve the same goals in the US.”

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

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest challenge so far, both in terms of the changes in ways of working but also what this has meant for research. The initial lockdown felt sudden, and the pandemic has stretched on longer than I originally thought it would. I remember leaving the office on the day we were all told by Boris Johnson to work from home if we can and saying to my colleagues that we will probably see each other in a couple of weeks or perhaps a few months.

The situation was so fast changing, and that meant at Opinium we had to quickly adapt the way we conducted research. For instance, one of the research projects I was working on at the time involved conducting face-to-face interviews in addition to online to be as representative as possible of the people we were speaking to. That face-to-face element had to be entirely nixed in the end due to Covid, and so we had to quickly think of alternatives to mitigate the impact on the representativeness of the sample.

Another challenge was maintaining client relationships. Where before I would meet up with clients regularly outside of projects for a catch-up, that was no longer the case with Covid-19. Instead, we had to adapt to other ways outside of projects to keep in regular contact with clients. We did a lot of our own Covid-19 thought leadership, which we then offered to speak to clients about throughout the year.

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

In the past year or two there has been an increase in the number of clients approaching Opinium looking to do research among various minority groups. It really does feel like there has been a genuine shift towards trying to understand different voices and a recognition that diversity in research can bring in different ideas that could help in areas such as advertising.

Different clients are on different paths, with some starting to think about understanding the diverse audiences they have in their customer base for the very first time, while some others already have some information but want to develop a deeper understanding and keep up-to-date through tracking over time.

At Opinium we conduct  a lot of our own research too and have focused on trying to increase the amount of research we do among minority/underrepresented groups, be that through our annual Multicultural Britain series, polls of ethnic minorities during elections, or partnerships with various industry groups to understand the experiences of their female, ethnic minority or LGBT+ workers.

Who inspires you as a researcher?

I don’t have one person in particular that inspires me but a collective of people. One of the main things I love about being a researcher and the work that I do is being able to hear from and champion a range of different and diverse voices so that minority views can be represented and listened to. My colleagues are also amazing and a source of inspiration. On good days and bad, they are always there being supportive and create a vibrant agency with a lot of fun and interesting research ideas.

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.