Scandinavian countries are famous for their innovative and progressive ideas in the organization of their society. Wondering if they would make this reputation also true for market research, I headed to Stockholm where I attended the Scandinavian Marknadsundersökningens Dag.
My favorite presentation of the day was without doubt from Teo Härén, author of several books on creativity. According to Härén, the key to more creativity is breaking your patterns and this was clearly demonstrated in his speech: he decided to do the Q&A session in the middle of his presentation and challenged the public several times to find alternative solutions for a problem. Some concrete examples you can start with today are taking another way when driving to work or change the side of the bed you are used to sleep on.
I also enjoyed the presentation of Jonas Ydén, head of market research at Carlsberg Sweden who gave his vision on the role of market research in an organization. Market research should not only be applied to make tactical decisions on communication, pricing or packaging, but should also monitor uncovered consumer needs and translate them in new business. Because insights can be present in different reports and places throughout the organization, they made an internal knowledge platform to make the market intelligence easily available throughout the whole company. Ydén finished with some guidelines for market research agencies:
- Do not just present the results of the study. Share also other customer knowledge you have with your client
- Do not say that something is an insight if it is not. (An insight at Carlsberg is defined as a single discovery of something enlightening about consumers, shoppers or customers’ underlying needs and motivations that Carlsberg can address to create consumer value and competitive advantage)
- Tell a story during your presentations and please the eye!
Next to the local speakers, some international speakers were placed on the agenda (like myself speaking on social media netnography). Although it is hard to bring multivariate statistics in a entertaining way, I believe that Ray Poynter did a good job in explaining CBC and MaxDiff in a simple way. I was also triggered by the presentation of Anna Thomas who used a technique called creative conversations to investigate sexual health among teenagers in the UK.
The Swedish market research day was definitely interesting. Although I did not discover any radical new ideas, I would definitely call them progressive in terms of market research. In a country that has about the same number of inhabitants as Belgium but a much larger spread, they managed to bring over 100 market researchers together for a full day of presentations. The openness and vividness where the participants were discussing research between sessions clearly showed the involvement of the whole market research community in taking research forward.