NEWS14 March 2019

In an ‘infobesity’ age researchers must innovate to ensure senior interest and buy-in

FMCG Impact 2019 Innovations Media News People Retail UK

UK – Research teams who make insight tangible for the business at large, including senior stakeholders, will help deliver real, strategic change.


That is the message from MRS Impact 2019 in a session entitled ‘Stories for Change: Strategies for Electrifying and Driving Insight Through the Business’.

Executives from The Walt Disney Company, Anheuser-Busch and Sony Music and their insight agencies presented flagship projects that aimed to bring their research to life in order to inform – and also incite and excite the decision-makers at every level of the business.

Introducing the session, chair Daniel Wain, founder, Daniel Wain Consulting, said: “In the modern age we sometimes find it harder to hear ourselves, never mind everybody else because of something I call ‘infobesity’. We are constantly bombarded with information and that is a challenge for research and insight. How do we cut through all that sound and noise? How can we get one set of people to hear another set of humanity?”

Rachel Westwood, senior research manager at The Walt Disney Company, and Gemma Mitchell, managing director, The Mix, detailed how they created a sensory playground for staff at its London EMEA headquarters. Each zone intended to put participants in the shoes of consumers in a number of life stages: a cocooned room with images in black and white for newborns, for example, or a ball park for children a little older.

It was expensive, admitted Westwood, but delivered value – they had smashed their KPIs: wanting a third of the 1,500-strong workforce to visit for an hour over one of three days, some 750 people did. And they received requests for more information, extra sessions and the ability to seed the knowledge to licence-holders.

Anheuser Busch InBev wanted to deliver a global brand strategy for Budweiser that could be activated in a truly local fashion. Elyn Lyell, senior consumer insights manager, said it was critical to deliver a roadmap that didn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator.

The solution they found, with agency partner Brand Genetics, was to create an aspirational Bud ‘Muse’. Following qualitative and quantitative research, they came to a composite of what the Bud Muse would be; each region then interviewed from a short-list of potential real-life Bud Muses over a social occasion, such as beers and a round of crazy golf. Now, UK executives ask in meetings, what would Will (the UK ‘winner’) do? The framework is now being rolled out across other brands. “Working in insight, we’re always talking to consumers but this is a different way of doing that,” said Lyell.

Sony Music wanted to know more about its target Gen Z’s habits and attitudes in order to better select and promote its new talent. “It’s a challenge for our artists to get noticed or heard,” said Martin Vovk, head of insight, Sony Music. Through a series of videoed interviews and games, they spoke to executives at Sony’s eight different labels, the talent and potential talent, as well as Generation Z. The developed framework is currently being seeded through the business and there are now plans to roll it out internationally.

Concluding, Wain said each of the examples showed the importance of being clear about the goals upfront and being able to deliver insight in a way that communicates with the teams who need it: “Leaning in, not out, is important. It’s about winning hearts and minds. How do you link what you’re talking about to the reality of their day jobs? How do you make the research make sense, be tangible and relevant to them?”