NEWS9 March 2010

BrainJuicer proves resilient in the face of research recession

Financials UK

UK— BrainJuicer finance chief James Geddes revealed this morning that the online research agency’s growth in 2009 was below expectations – but with revenue up 27% to £11.8m investors shouldn’t have much to complain about.

Geddes’ made his comment in the context of the agency’s trend rate of 35% growth per annum. The business fared worse in 2009 in comparison, with the recession to blame – but otherwise the firm seemed unaffected by the downturn.

Operating profit was up 27% to £1.6m, while chief executive John Kearon said the company had invested “more than ever before” in product development and operations.

Beneficiaries of these investments were what BrainJuicer calls its ‘Juicy’ products – described as products that “are entirely different from those available elsewhere and [which] challenge traditional approaches”.

Examples are ‘Predictive Markets’, a new product development tool which asks participants to play the role of venture capitalist and invest in the idea they think will be most successful in the market, rather than which product they themselves would buy.

Kearon says the approach is “equally as good” in identifying the top quartile winners as monadic product testing but sets itself apart in discriminating “much more” between the very good and the very average product concepts.

‘Predictive Markets’ has secured BrainJuicer a mandate as a preferred supplier to what Kearon described as the world’s second biggest food company – believed to be a reference to Kraft, though the company would not elaborate further.

This is the second such mandate BrainJuicer has won thanks to its ‘Juicy’ products. Since 2006 it has been working with electronics firm Philips to provide a quantitative measure of the potential value of their consumer insights.

‘Juicy’ products now account for 61% of group revenue, up 66% year-on-year, and the aim is to push it to 70% in 2010. Kearon admits they are a harder sell than the firm’s more standard offerings, but are “strategically more important” to the business in terms of growth.

International expansion is also key, and BrainJuicer expects to open offices in China and Brazil around the mid-year mark, perhaps followed by France and Japan in 2011.