The coolest benefit of my blogging activities has been the opportunity to meet and talk with some truly extraordinary people in our industry; from my connections on LinkedIn, to my “tweeps” as well as my day job colleagues, I have had the great honor of engaging with some truly stellar thought leaders. It really has been a highpoint for me and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity.
Recently the pace of those contacts has picked up, and I’ve been getting a crash course in emerging technologies like Predictive Markets, Mobile, Serious Games, SMR, and Netnography. And of course, the NewMR Festival is going to be a veritable showcase of emerging MR approaches that will help blaze the trail of the future of our industry. I have to say though that yesterday I was introduced to perhaps the coolest MR technique I have ever seen: DigiViduals (TM) by BrainJuicer. Check this out:
If you don’t have time to watch the video, you can also learn more about DigiViduals (TM) here.
Wow. Amazing, huh? This takes SMR to a whole new level, and the applications for segmentation work, NPD, trend tracking, and other research initiatives is really mind boggling.
BrainJuicer sums up the potential of this amazing new methodology best in their own conclusions from a paper presented at the recent ESOMAR Congress:
Social Media provides opportunities for the research industry to observe and listen in ways and on a scale never previously possible. We can now automatically sift and filter many tens of thousands of people’s thoughts to find relevant content and a far deeper and up-to-the-minute understanding of what really motivates them; compared with traditional research methods which rely on relatively small numbers of unreliable witnesses answering direct questions in a rather prescribed way and with large delays in results. Until recently, the objectives of online research have matched that of off-line research: we have simply taken off-line approaches online. A new research philosophy we refer to as ’we’ research, coupled with the rise in online social media, has helped us to create a completely new and different strain of social media research.
DigiViduals embraces this new philosophy by studying mass behaviour across social media content; it is mass anthropology/ethnography in practice. It offers new possibilities for the use of social media content to illuminate our understanding of existing segments or customer typologies. It doesn’t just rely on text analysis or blogs but encompasses other media such as videos and pictures.
I probably sound like a broken record since I harp on the need for MR to innovate in most of my posts (if I do, thanks for humoring me!). I talk a lot about what is wrong but I also try to point to examples of companies that I think are getting it right, and BrainJuicer is at the top of that list. Chief Juicer John Kearon and his merry band of MR madmen have embedded innovation as a core value of their corporate culture, to the extent that they have even set-up BrainJuicer Labs solely for the sake of experimenting with new approaches and technologies. That passion for re-inventing what market research is and can do is fantastically inspiring: if only it was contagious! Here is a bit more about BrainJuicer in their own words; just see if it doesn’t give you a little thrill!
Market Research at its best is mind expanding and profit enhancing rather than risk reducing. At its best research is full of insight that informs, illuminates and inspires better marketing. At its worst it’s a 120 page insurance policy [“the research said it was OK”], heavy on numbers, light on insight and usually dead-on-arrival as far as senior management are concerned.Our mission at BrainJuicer is simple. To take Market Research when it is at its most inspiring, illuminating, insightful, impactful, interesting and imaginative [usually brilliant qualitative research] and create clever ways for our smart researchers to deliver such research on a quantitative scale, anywhere in the world, with consistent quality and at an affordable price and a hell of a speed.
The net result is better marketing, happy clients and a rapidly growing business with ambition to become a global top 10 MR agency and change the way research is done along the way.
Now that all sounds great, right? The question is how has that philosophy translated into business success? Pretty well as it turns out:
BrainJuicer is the only agency to have won the industry’s Best Methodology award twice in the last 20 years, along with a host of other awards for innovation, great research and entrepreneurship. The Company has been growing on average at 35% year on year over the last few years and now works with 140 household name clients including 11 of the world’s largest buyers of market research, conducting research in more than 57 countries and 43 languages.
So, can market research be “sexy”? Can a driving focus on creativity & innovation produce business success? Can hiring smart people from multiple disciplines and disparate backgrounds help an MR firm succeed? Based on the example of BrainJuicer, I’d have to say the answer is “Hell yeah!” Similarly to what I wrote about Communispace a while back, I hope the rest of the industry wakes up and “takes sexy back” soon or else firms like BrainJuicer are going to be very lonely indeed!