NEWS28 June 2012

Unilever CMO backs qual accreditation scheme

Features UK

UK— Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed has given his support to the company’s new qualitative research accreditation scheme.

Weed (pictured) said: “To stay ahead of the curve we need the very best researchers who have the skills and experience to generate the real-time consumer insights we need to create great marketing campaigns for our portfolio of household brands.

“This accreditation scheme is a really exciting opportunity to help Unilever on its way to becoming the best marketing organisation around the world.”

Weed’s comments came as the consumer goods giant confirmed the accreditation scheme would be rolling out in Brazil, Turkey, the UK and US, following implementations in China, India, South Africa and south-east Asian countries where there are now more than 50 accredited researchers.

Unilever says that it will only work with accredited research leads and moderators. It has written to agencies asking them to nominate candidates for the accreditation programme.

Researchers will be accredited at two levels: as ‘research leads’ and ‘moderators’. The assessment process involves issuing applicants with a mock brief for which they have to write a proposal and a discussion guide and to recruit one live group of six respondents for an hour-long discussion.

Independent assessors are then sent to meet the researcher to talk through the brief, watch the group and to discuss afterwards how the researcher might analyse the findings and plan for the debrief. Unilever says the process should last approximately three hours. Researchers who wish to be accredited as both research leads and moderators complete all stages of the assessment. In the case of research leads only, they do not conduct the group, instead leaving that to those seeking only moderator accreditation.

Research leads can be awarded either full or temporary accreditation – the latter is for those showing “potential”, who are given a set of development areas to work on and who are then reassessed after one year.

  • Click here for an interview with Unilever’s global consumer insight director (food) Manish Makhijani, discussing the accreditation programme.