ESOMAR CONGRESS 2017: Outtakes from Day Two

By Pete Cape, Global Knowledge Director

Today was a long day, but lots to savour. Below are my 3 things from the day, but I’ve got to be quick – there’s a 70th Anniversary party to go to for ESOMAR!

  1. Research as a force for good.

Yes you heard right…it’s not all about optimizing dollar extraction for widget X’s brand extension! Research can help people in need; people like those that the Rotary International’s Future Vision Project helps who have a better chance of a sustainable outcome from the intervention now that grant outcomes are being better measured by market researchers.

Then there is the positive work being done in Cambodia for LGBT rights by RoCK (Rainbow Community Kampuchea) that is supported through research projects aimed at not just measuring prejudice, but coming up with ways to help it be overcome  – with heartwarming personal success stories.

And then how founder and ex-CEO of OTX, Shelley Zalis, is intimately involved in the #SEEHER movement to accurately portray women and girls in the media.

All three made me feel proud to be a researcher and more than a little bit guilty that perhaps I haven’t (yet) done my bit!

  1. I told you to stop with the “why” already.

This is getting a little crazy now! Yesterday it was alright to ask questions, just not the “why” question. Today Mathieu Trepanier of Tsquared was single-handedly flying the flag for Secondary Research. No questions at at all! No meters, no nothing.

Using not much more than Google search data and a proprietary signal-compression algorithm (no? me neither…), he was able to design a new “milky” sort of beverage that pushed all the right buttons for vegans, or maybe organics – I was a bit wow-ed at that point. He could even say which celeb should endorse it. Definitely a paper I’m going to enjoy reading in more detail later…

  1. Why having an avatar would be a good idea.

Then it would be able to attend the talks you didn’t get to attend. I really wanted to get to see the sessions on Artificial Intelligence. And I wanted to see how China’s digital natives are shaping up.

I’m sure the second of these should help dispel many myths about China and the Chinese. Because yes, lots of them are on the internet, and yes, they travel and yes, they have disposable incomes. And yes, the next phone in your pocket might just be an Oppo or a Lenovo or a Hauwei. I’m old enough to recall when “Made in Japan” was a mark of poor quality (yes it was, really – look it up) and I fully expect to live to see Chinese brands dominate in many markets.

And the AI – I guess I’m just worried about the day when the chair I sit in is smarter than me.

While I was at it, I could have dispatched an avatar to go see the three papers on virtual reality. Now there’s a new technique that has come on leaps and bounds in a very short space of time. It was always a no-brainer really. It’s massively faster, hugely cheaper and arguably better than the real-world alternatives. And the hardware is just so much more affordable now.

We only have a half day tomorrow, so just one and a half outtakes to come. Off to party!