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GRIT 2013 Sneak Peak: The 10 Most Innovative Companies In Market Research

To start 2014 out right, we're revealing the Top 10 from the GRIT 50 list of the companies the industry considers to be most innovative.

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Today we have another “sneak peek” of the results from the upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 GRIT report (publishing this month!), and it’s a doozy! To start 2014 out right we’re revealing the Top 10 from the GRIT 50 list of the companies the industry considers to be most innovative. This section is always of keen interest to the MR industry and this little appetizer is sure to get folks excited about the main course of the complete GRIT report.

For this report, the analysis is based on 2,229 completed interviews, with 80% of respondents identifying themselves as Suppliers and 20% as Clients, broadly consistent with the last several waves of the study. That equates to Client=443 and Supplier=1786, the largest N size in the history of GRIT.

Beginning in 2010 we decided to start tracking which firms were perceived as most innovative within the global market research industry. This has evolved into The GRIT 50 Most Innovative list, which at its core is simply a brand tracker using the attribute of “innovation” as the key metric. Every year we now measure how MR suppliers are leveraging this brand element through a simple question series:

1.       Using an unaided awareness verbatim question, we ask respondents to list the three companies they considered to be most innovative.

2.       We then ask them to rank those firms from most to least innovative.

3.       Finally we ask another verbatim as to why they consider their number 1 ranked firm to be most innovative.

For this wave, using the aggregate of the 1-3 ranking question we developed a list of 991 companies in total, with 304 that received multiple mentions. From that list we have narrowed it down to the Top 50 for additional analysis. The goal of this avenue of inquiry is to glean insight on the drivers of perception around what makes a firm innovative in order to understand how MR firms are capitalizing on the idea of “innovation” to grow their businesses. We believe that this list, developed by our peers within the industry, is a true measure of how successfully these companies are using “innovation” to help drive brand awareness.

Due to issues around consolidation and multiple brands within a single entity (Kantar for instance with Millward Brown, TNS, Added Value, etc…) we are presenting the Top 50 in 2 ways: without brand rollups which is based solely on the companies mentioned with no consideration given to parent company ownership or affiliation, and with brand rollups, where we have consolidated all appropriate business entities under the parent brand.

Here is the Top 10, presented both ways:

Rank Top 50 Without Rollups Mentions Rank Combined Top 50 With Rollups Mentions
1 BrainJuicer 400 1 BrainJuicer 400
2 Vision Critical 203 2 Kantar 305
3 Ipsos 202 3 IPSOS 221
4 GFK 142 4 Vision Critical 203
5 Google 133 5 GFK 142
6 TNS 126 6 Google 133
7 Nielsen 102 7 Nielsen 112
8 Millward Brown 80 8 InSites Consulting 74
9 InSites Consulting 74 9 Research Now 72
10 Research Now 72 10 Communispace 51


For the 3rd Year in a row, BrainJuicer unequivocally (and by almost an order of magnitude lead) is considered the most innovative company by GRIT respondents, a testament to their discipline, creativity, and focus when it comes to branding and marketing. They quite simply “own” this attribute within the research space. Other perennial leaders Vision Critical, Ipsos, GfK and Nielsen saw some slight shuffling within the Top 10, but the real surprise was the debut of Google at number 5, no doubt driven by the extensive industry media coverage of the Google Consumer Surveys offering as well as their ubiquitous presence at virtually every research conference since their debut.

Google wasn’t the only debut: a total of 18 companies made it onto the Top 50 list for the first time in 2013, while 16 brands increased their position by moving up the ranks and 16 brands declined in the ranks.

All will be revealed in the full report.

While watching the movement of the brands and correlating that to more anecdotal data such as event participation, advertising levels and social media activity is instructive, additional digging in to the verbatim question of why a firm was considered innovative combined with multivariate analysis yielded additional compelling insights on how firms are perceived in the marketplace.

A simple word cloud generated using offers a glimpse into the types of responses we received in in the verbatim follow-up, with several major themes being readily apparent:




We’ll reveal the complete list of the Top 50 along with a much deeper dive into what makes a company “innovative” and the shifts in rankings in the complete report. The full report is scheduled to be published on January 27, so stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

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15 responses to “GRIT 2013 Sneak Peak: The 10 Most Innovative Companies In Market Research

  1. Leonard,
    I would be interesting in seeing a correlation between Innovation Score and Business Performance / Turnover / Growth.

    1. Me too! Gloria, how about you take the ESOMAR or Honomichl data and chart that out for us? I’ll gladly post it. That said, many companies listed here do not report revenue publicly at all or don’t participate in CASRO/ESOMAR so they won’t be included in those lists.

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