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What’s Next for ESOMAR?

Joaquim Bretcha, the newly elected President of ESOMAR discusses the challenges facing the industry and what he wants to achieve during his tenure.

Editor’s Intro: ESOMAR is one of the market research industry’s leading voices. In recent elections, Joaquim Bretcha was elected President of the organization. Here, he presents views on where the industry is, key issues we collectively face, and ways forward. We hope he has a successful tenure in this important position.


It’s been an interesting few years for me on the ESOMAR council. From my own perspective it’s been a fascinating journey both figuratively and literally. I’ve had the distinct privilege of being able to follow the ESOMAR and broader industry event calendar around the world, speaking with our brothers and sisters in data. And while our disciplines, languages, and cultures may vary extraordinary, there are many common themes that unite us. So, I’m thrilled that not only have I been elected to ESOMAR council again, but I will also be contributing as President from next year.

What these last few years have taught me is that the insight and data industry is a community, with shared goals, aspirations, and challenges. So, for 2019 and beyond I will work to ensure that community is the cornerstone of what I hope to achieve during my term.

As a global organisation my key focus will be strengthening the bridges across geographies and research practises while reinforcing this sense of community. I look forward to further broadening awareness of the importance of data ethics and our Code, attracting more tech-driven and analytical emerging players and growing the next generation of researcher within the ESOMAR community.

It’s a fascinating time for the industry. Some would call it challenging, but at the risk of sounding like a self-help guru, a challenge is nothing more than the seed of an opportunity. Whatever your perspective, it is clear that the industry is at a turning point. I’m looking forward to helping current and prospective ESOMAR members adapt to and make the most of these opportunities.

The out-going president Niels Schillewaert, the ESOMAR Council and the broader ESOMAR team, particularly the Government Affairs and Communications teams, have done great work in the past couple of years around legislation such as the GDPR. First of all ensuring the voice of the data and insight industry is heard by legislators, but also communicating the broader impact the regulations have on business. I hope we can carry on this work in 2019 and beyond. Our industry’s stance on ethical and transparent data collection is a key aspect in not only ensuring we can continue to collect and analyse data, but also as a way of bringing more of the tech-driven analytical players into the fold.

If data truly is the new oil, then our industry should be taking the place of JD Rockefeller. We are the people and companies that have the ability to refine this oil, that can make sense of it, and have the models for application to drive business growth. That’s not to say we have all the answers, but the value exchange between traditional research and the tech-driven analytical side is not a one-way street. We share the same objectives, so an integrated and complementary future between these two arms of commercial data will strengthen both sides.

It is a daunting responsibility to take the position of president and although at the moment two years seems like a lot of time to get things done, I know from experience that time certainly flies. It helps of course that I a stellar council who I know are raring to get started, and of course, Niels as ex-officio. ESOMAR has done much in the last few years to provide a  strong voice in the industry and I look forward to continuing that by staying ahead of the curve for future legislation, to increase our profile and relevance with the C-suite ensuring our voice is heard in the boardroom, as well as increasing our attractiveness to the researchers of the future.

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