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The 50 Most Innovative Companies In Market Research

Who are the 50 most innovative companies in the market research industry? Here is the list.

Yesterday, we published the 14th edition of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report and one of the most eagerly awaited subjects we covered is our annual “GRIT 50 Most Innovative Companies” ranking. Today I’m pulling out part of that section (there is a more in the report than I have here) for quick reference for our faithful readers.

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. Now, each year we measure how market research 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 research 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 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 brand within a single entity (Kantar for instance with Millward Brown, TNS, Added Value, etc…) we are presenting the Top 50 in two 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. As you’ll see this doesn’t change things significantly, but there is a reshuffling of the higher ranked companies, most notably for Kantar-owned companies.

Only brands that received 12 or more mentions made it onto the “Without Rollups” list while 11 or more was the threshold for inclusion on the ‘With Rollups” list.

Here are the rankings both ways:

Rank Top 50 Without Rollups Count Rank Top 50 With Rollups Count
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
11 Communispace 51 11 LRW 49
12 LRW 49 12 20/20 Research 47
13 20/20 Research 47 13 Affinnova 46
14 Affinnova 46 14 Qualtrics 45
15 Qualtrics 45 15 Hotspex 41
16 Hotspex 41 16 GMI Lightspeed 40
17 GMI Lightspeed 40 17 iTracks 34
18 iTracks 34 18 Toluna 30
19 Toluna 30 19 Vocatus 30
20 Vocatus 30 20 Instantly (formerly uSamp) 28
21 Instantly (formerly uSamp) 28 21 GIM 27
22 GIM 27 22 Cello Group 26
23 Kantar 25 23 Mesh 25
24 Mesh 25 24 Revelation Global 24
25 Revelation Global 24 25 Gongos 22
26 Gongos 22 26 Decipher 21
27 Decipher 21 27 QualVu 19
28 Face Group 20 28 Forrester 19
29 Synovate 19 29 Dialego 19
30 QualVu 19 30 Gut Check 17
31 Forrester 19 31 Dub 17
32 Dialego 19 32 Survey Monkey 16
33 Gut Check 17 33 Research Through Gaming 15
34 Dub 17 34 iModerate 15
35 Survey Monkey 16 35 Hall & Partners 15
36 Research Through Gaming 15 36 Anderson Analytics 15
37 iModerate 15 37 RIWI 14
38 Hall & Partners 15 38 Harris Interactive 14
39 Anderson Analytics 15 39 Affectiva 14
40 RIWI 14 40 ideo 13
41 Harris Interactive 14 41 Schlesinger Associates 12
42 Affectiva 14 42 IBM 12
43 ideo 13 43 Maritz Research 12
44 Schlesinger Associates 12 44 KL Communications 12
45 IBM 12 45 ComScore 12
46 Maritz Research 12 46 Blauw 12
47 KL Communications 12 47 SSI 11
48 ComScore 12 48 Happy Thinking People 11
49 Added Value 12 49 facebook 11
50 Blauw 12 50 Focus Forums 11


Congratulations to all these firms for their inclusion; their hard work is paying off and being recognized by the industry!

For the third consecutive year, 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 Consumer Surveys 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, however – a total of 18 companies made it onto the Top 50 list for the first time in 2013. Interestingly at least 4 (Vocatus, Dialego, Ideo & Blauw) seemed to be driven by the large German sample contribution to GRIT, demonstrating the power of their presence within their local market. No other regional specific players made similar appearances.

16 brands increased their position by moving up the ranks, with the single greatest gain being made by Lieberman Research Worldwide with a jump of 25 spots from number 37 in 2012 to number 12 in 2013.

16 brands declined in the ranks.

So what does this tell us? Those firms that debuted or moved up in the ranks really drove the conversation across multiple channels in 2013 and their branding continues to pay dividends for them in the minds of the industry. Remember, the GRIT 50 is a vertically centric brand tracker for MR, and with each iteration we are witnessing how some brands are effectively leveraging various marketing channels (social media, conferences, advertising) focused on the broad idea of “innovation”, while those who are declining should look at changing their marketing strategies and positioning to deal with the massive influx of competitors crowding the space.

In the report we do a deeper analysis of why respondents considered these companies innovative and a multivariate analysis mapping certain core attributes to their brand identification. It’s very instructive and I encourage you to check it out.

The overall message message here is that these firms are associated with aspects of innovation within the marketplace and their positioning on the GRIT 50 list indicates significant brand recognition and affinity with these attributes. These brands can use this information to adjust their messaging as needed in light of their strategic branding goals, and of course other firms looking to compete effectively can also leverage this analysis to help with their own positioning.

Next week we’ll be conducting a webinar to discuss these findings more in depth, along with what clients consider to be most important in supplier relationships. Make sure to join us (register here: , it will add much depth to the report itself.

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24 responses to “The 50 Most Innovative Companies In Market Research

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  2. The all names of market research you have mentioned are very good. I have also some other and best market research companies in India, which provide market research report, In depth company analysis.

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  3. Does anyone get the sense the sample bias may be simply ensuring well known and regularly used companies are getting top ratings simply because, … well … people who respond use them and are less aware of genuinely innovative companies? As was pointed out the German sample bias produced a few local stars. I have serious doubts this question really measures innovative companies.

    1. We see no evidence of “vote stacking” by larger companies and go deep in explaining why in the report. However, I’m open to ideas on a better way to measure this so…. any suggestions?

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