Brands demanding quicker and more connected data, say researchers

The past 12 months have seen research agencies undertake new and more virtual work, resulting in quicker turnaround times for brands.

Toluna Australia & New Zealand country director, Sej Patel, said the marketing playbook has changed in the past 12 months.


Sej Patel

“Brands are trying harder to understand the consumer and their habits and what changes they need to make with their messaging,” he said. “We’re also really noticing increased demand for fast results. The pace of research across the board has increased significantly.

“What we are seeing is that, across the board, companies can no longer afford to wait weeks or months for their insights. Companies understand that they need to make faster and better informed, data driven decisions; and to do this, they need agile insights that allow them to stay across ever changing consumer sentiment.”

Nature Sydney, partner and managing director of James Jayesuria, said the agency which opened in Sydney in 2019, had a lot of new work coming in at the back-end of last year.

“We are hearing from new clients about new projects on a regular basis,” he said. “If the start of the year is anything to go by, we will see continued growth in both ongoing work and new clients.

“We are looking at the new world of consumers as we emerge out of the crisis.”

According to Jayesuria, in recent years there has been “greater access to” and “more appetite” to use additional sources beyond primary research.

“People are generally quite comfortable sharing data, and data that is collected passively, either through transactions, or other… there is a desire to link what people are thinking and saying with what they are doing.”

Nature have been partnering with an organisation called Humanity, to look at transaction records and marry that up with survey data, to assess the behaviour and the interplay between those two things.

He added that while some organisations have started collecting that data on their own, in his experience, there are varying levels of sophistication when it comes to knowing what to do with it.
“It is in a way creating new opportunities, companies that are sophisticated in the way that they collect it and have people understand it, that then triggers more questions.

“It [data] is often just the what, the so what and why needs to be unpacked.”

Patel said that in recent times, Toluna has seen more clients coming to them with customer lists, rather than the data to look for ways to research within established audiences. “This is everything from media companies to national organisations to brands and businesses – after all the changes brought about by COVID-19, companies are wanting to understand whether they’re still relevant to their existing audiences, how they’re still relevant, and how they might need to change in order to maintain engagement with those audiences.”

At Nature, technology has also opened up new opportunities. Using Virtual Reality (VR) the agency was able to run a project involving brands in a supermarket shelf, and consumer reactions with the VR, to look at how behaviour changed in terms of packaging and pricing.

Nature has also been building out its data and analytics capabilities according to Jayesuria. The team of five are heavily involved in the design of studies and the analysis. “There’s exponential growth in the availability and access to data,” he commented. “But data is just the what. You need people. Brains to get underneath the what, to understand the why and develop the so what and now what, which is ultimately what clients are paying for.”


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