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CEO Series: Interview with Didier Truchot, CEO of Ipsos

A wide-ranging interview with Didier Truchot, CEO of Ipsos, one of the largest insights and analytics firms in the world. In 2019 Ipsos was selected as the #1 Most Innovative Firm in market research in the GRIT 50 Most Innovative rankings.

Over the last ten years, I have been privileged to have the opportunity to get to know the leaders of most of the companies in the market research space, and although I know many of the senior team at Ipsos, I have never sat down for a one-on-one with Didier Truchot, CEO of Ipsos. I am thrilled that I was able to correct that and to be able to share it with you.
Besides wanting to finally meet, I specifically was interested in getting his take on how Ipsos has worked to ensure their brand was linked inextricably to being innovative, a strategy that has borne fruit based on their being ranked the #1 ‘Most Innovative’ company in market research via this year’s GRIT Top 50, but also proven via their improved financial performance after implementing a series of broad organizational initiatives to realign the business with the changes impacting the industry.
The company explains his vision best via their profile in the upcoming GreenBook Market Leaders report:
Since its origins, Ipsos has remained faithful to its leading position to understand the Company, Markets, and People. Today, Ipsos serves more than 5,000 customers through its presence in 89 markets, making it one of the few research companies that can respond both globally and locally. Ipsos covers the whole information production and analysis chain, from the collection of raw data to the activation of the information thus generated with the client:
    • Data collection
    • Data processing and integration
    • Data analysis, information delivery, and presentation
    • Information activation

It has a solid tradition of innovation expressed by new methodological developments and continuously renewed product range. In 2018, Ipsos implemented a growth strategy called Total Understanding, creating 17 service lines and bringing together more than 75 different services for greater specialization, speed and consistency in all markets. Further, it targeted strategic acquisitions to enhance its solutions: first when acquiring four key divisions of GFK Research, and then with Synthesio, a leader in platforms dedicated to listening to the web and analyzing social media data. This unique positioning – a total understanding of the individual, who is in turn a consumer, client, citizen or employee, to gain valuable understanding of the company, markets and individuals – is at the heart of the Ipsos offer, which is further strengthened by its:

    1. Expertise in advance scientific fields
    2. Mastery of the latest technologies
    3. Know-how born of 44 years of experience
    4. And above all, the talent of approximately 18,00 employees, who are trained and united around our values (Integrity, Curiosity, Collaboration, Client First, and Entrepreneurial Spirit)

During 2019, Ipsos will merge existing innovation divisions to create a new organization devoted to strengthening its Neuroscience, Behavioral Sciences, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence offers. It will also activate their synergies, along with additional academic expertise, innovative university partnership programs, and additional R+D resources. In general, 2019 will be a pivotal year for Ipsos as it will be the first year following the implementation of this strategic project.

It’s an ambitious plan to shift a large entity like Ipsos, and Didier has been the hand guiding it. In our interview, I wanted to get his perspective on how he was balancing the legacy of the company with a future-forward plan, and what that future looks like to him. He delivered that, and much more.
I found Didier to be imminently approachable, surprisingly funny, and even humble. He is a leader that has built a long-lasting and multi-billion dollar global company but is also aware that his time in leading that company may be approaching a transition point. he is obviously focused on ensuring Ipsos is situated well for that time and seems to have a clear-eyed view on where the company will go in the future.
I always enjoy these interviews (and hope you do as well!), but this one was particularly fun since it was the first time getting to know Didier for me, and I suspect many of you will have a similar experience and will come away impressed by him.
Here is the interview; enjoy!

As part of the forthcoming GreenBook Market Leader Report, we asked CEO’s of leading companies four key questions. Here are  Ipsos US CEO, Pierre Le Manh’s answers.

CEO Perspective with Pierre Le Manh

From your leadership seat, what is the most memorable (important) highlight of 2018 for your company?

We repositioned Ipsos for the future through the implementation of our “Total Understanding” vision. To provide our clients with a Total Understanding of people, markets, and societies, we recognize the need for both more depth and more breadth – it is a challenge to achieve both simultaneously. To do so, we structured our organization more clearly around specialized services in order to allow the deep expertise that exists within Ipsos to shine and focus.

We are also doubling down on our investments in advisory and analytics services, the integration of multiple sources of information, and in the specialized end to end data collection and delivery platforms. At the same time, we transferred a significant number of our most experienced employees in each country to an overarching organization helping our clients leverage the breadth of Ipsos and helping our teams better address our client’s most critical business questions. Finally, we made two important acquisitions to complement our offering: several assets from Gfk, and Synthesio, a global leader in Social Intelligence.

What is the most significant trend that is impacting your company?

Just like in many industries, the digitization of the economy has had deep impacts on the sources and quantity of data we can leverage, on the speed and automation of our supply chain and execution processes, and on the complexity of what our clients are asking us to help them with.

With regard to your company, what keeps you up at night (what are you most concerned about)?

Currently, we are growing at an accelerated pace, but we are doing this through increased diversity of services, of clients and industries we work for, of stakeholders and budget owners, of profiles and backgrounds among our employees. Part of my job is to keep this increasing complexity manageable and ensure that we keep and nurture a unified culture. It is exciting but it does keep me up at night!

What makes you feel most optimistic about the future of your company (the industry)?

More data increases complexity, it does not alleviate the need for leaders to make decisions! As much as we speak about intuition and guts, competitive advantage derives from a solid knowledge of meaningful facts and their rigorous translation into business decisions. Ipsos delivers this at scale, globally, and works with the most successful companies and most governments on the planet. We are independent, stable, focused on doing the right things, as much as doing things right. This makes me optimistic and more importantly makes the Ipsos employees among the most passionate people in our industry.

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