M&C Saatchi’s research company The Source opens first Australian office

M&C Saatchi’s research company The Source has opened its doors in Melbourne.

The company’s first Australian office will be led by former London managing director, Matt Swinson, who has worked with clients including the BBC, Ebay and Tesco.

The move comes nearly two months after M&C Saatchi’s 2016 financial results indicated The Source would launch in Australia.

Tesco Asia Pacific is the first of the local office’s clients.

In his new role, Swinson aims to replicate the UK’s success, using customer immersion, ethnography and bespoke solutions as part of its research methodology.

Speaking to Mumbrella about company’s local launch, he said part of the decision was a desire to return to Australasia.

“I’m a New Zealander and have been in the UK for fifteen years and I’d always had the ambition to move back to this part of the world but I was waiting for the right time,” Swinson said. 

“After seven years with The Source in London, we got to a place where it was a really financially strong position and we had a really defined offer, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to take it elsewhere.

“The genesis for bringing it to Australia was that we saw a lot of the problems that we thought the industry was facing in London. The problems we thought we had quite a nice offer to solve in the UK, were quite prevalent in Australia as well.”

Swinson said he had opted to open the office in Melbourne rather than Sydney because of his family’s preferences.

Commenting on the company’s relationship with M&C Saatchi, he said it would replicate the UK model.

“It’s similar to the way we fitted in in the UK. We are quite wary of the fact a successful research agency needs to be independent and impartial.

“We rent space off them, we do have a business relationship but we are totally independent in terms of how we work.”

Asked about The Source’s points of difference in the competitive research sector, Swinson said: “A key point of difference is in terms of how we bring insight to life.

“We want everybody who comes in contact with our work to feel responsible for the customer, to know exactly what to do next, and that best comes out when we are developing far more interesting ways of insight,” he said.

Swinson: “This is the problem with research: The voice and the picture of the customer gets completely flattened out by research output”

He said that the agency would not always wait to be asked by clients before undertaking  initiatives to help their staff better understand customers.

“Far too often research agencies ask permission to do this stuff.

“What we are doing it totally different, taking any opportunity to communicate the voice and feel of the consumer, whether that is doing wall murals, or posters that can be placed throughout a business.”

The Source, which currently has three local employees, is currently servicing retailer Tesco Asia Pacific – which operates in other parts of Asia although not in Australia – out of the local office, however Swinson still considers the company a “start-up.”

He added: “We’ll probably never grow to be a huge business, we want to grow in terms of reputation.”

When asked about the research industry’s decision to challenge the Turnbull government’s 457 visa decision, he said: “We do have a problem in attracting the best and retaining the best. But we are still confident, because we think our business model is different and our output is something that will resonate here in the market, we are confident we can attract talent and then retain it.”


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