MRS Impact 2022: A round-up

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MRS Impact 2022: A round-up
Posted on March 29, 2022 by Braden MacDonald

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Thoughts on the Market Research Society’s Impact 2022 event by our newest Mustard recruit.

After joining the world of MRX only a few months ago, I was excited to attend my first professional event and learn more about the people, trends and the contribution of data and insights. Learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere, so as someone with a communications background, I was eager to get to grips with the industry to see what I can apply in my new role at Mustard.

The Market Research Society hosted their annual Impact event virtually from the 16th-17th March. This year’s theme was all about ‘Re-invention’, a very timely subject considering that we’re only just coming out of our battle against Covid-19 and continuing to adapt to significant shifts and changes in the insights sector.

Day One

The event opened with a keynote interview by Lady Brenda Hale, former President of the Supreme Court. It was incredible to listen to Lady Hale talk about her extensive and impressive career and the adversities she’s overcome as a woman. She was one of the only women to attend Cambridge in her class, and pioneered her way through the legal industry, which led her to become Britain’s first female Law Lord in 2004, the first woman to serve on the UK’s new Supreme Court in 2009, and its first woman President in 2017.

Another eye-opening session was a panel discussion that explored the state of diversity, equality, and inclusion in market research. Andrew Cannon, Executive Director at Global Research Business Network, chaired the session and enlightened viewers on the research he undertook on workplace culture, which demonstrated just how much room there is to develop when it comes to accommodating minorities in the workplace – whether it be based on their ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. As Charlene Adamah, Co-Founder of Colour of Research, quite rightly summarised, “It’s now time for steps to be taken to fix discrimination in the workplace and discuss how to take action.”

One of my personal favourites was a session chaired by Rhea Fox, Chief Digital Officer at Paperchase, who spoke with Mike Bowen, Principal Researcher at Spotify and Sydney Stanback, Global Advertiser Researcher (Brand Research) at Pinterest. They spoke at length on re-imaging how data and research can work together and where to focus skills to enable collaboration. To do this, they gave three critical rules:

1. Managing time is vital, especially in a fast-paced environment
2. Identify the resources you have and what’s needed to help the relationship between data and research
3. Use the right people, adhere to other people’s strengths as much as your own

To round out day one, Jenny Lindsay, Director of Client Services at buzzback, presented a discussion based on buzzback’s latest study on happiness. A very timely subject that explored what values and initiatives consumers associate most with happiness and how brands utilise these components to ensure they meet consumers’ needs. The discussion centred around the necessity to take value in the small things in life, which was emphasised by Dieter Deceuninck, Global Director of Strategy and Insights at Danone Waters. He explained that focusing on the small things that bring happiness (eating, spending time with loves ones, etc.) ultimately creates significant steps into happiness – which is critical during times of hardship and political unrest.

Day Two

Day two of MRS’ Impact event saw Matt Drew, Head of Customer Research and Analytics at Very and Sam Gardner, Partner & Director of Analytics at Boxclever, explore how researchers and marketeers can utilise hybrid segmentation. Matt and Sam went in-depth on how we can validate and refine consumers and ultimately expand vision – using a bottom-up approach to understand segments, differentiate consumers and understand how their behaviours mould their attitudes and needs.

Crispin Beale, Group President at Behaviorally and CEO of Insights 250 and Tony Costella, Director of Global Consumer & Marketing Insights at Heineken (Netherlands), also gave a thoroughly interesting opinion-debate on how technology, culture, and other levers can be used to innovate and lead in the world of insight and data.

Finally, James Timpson OBE, Chief Executive at The Timpson Group, gave an inspiring keynote interview on the history of Timpson and how it’s been consistently rated as one the UK’s best companies to work for, for almost 20 years. Citing benefits such as mental health support, and strategies regarding the training and employment of disadvantaged people, Timpson spoke at length about how these factors are crucial in creating an effective and impactful work environment that stands out amongst other companies.

It was fantastic to see how well the Market Research Society accommodated such valuable and necessary conversations in a virtual space – through interviews, panels and live questions and answers – the level of engagement didn’t waver. However, now that live events are back in action, I’m excited for next year’s Impact event even more where I will be able to meet people in person and ask questions #IRL.

It was quite ironic that the Market Research Society named their annual event ‘Impact’ because it became clear that communication significantly impacts the market research and insights industry. Without it, all these magnificent findings go unnoticed, and the value of research is not clear. Watching all these sessions over two days proved that any research and insights company’s reputation, productivity, and general success are dependent on communication, and I’m more excited than ever to get going and delve into the world of communicating MRX and insights.