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A word from Hakim Zemni

Hakim Zemni is Research Director at InSites Consulting.

What’s the new ‘buzz word’ in your domain? What does it mean and what do we do with it?

I believe that the beginning of the 21st century will be remembered as the ‘in-between era’: a lot of socio-cultural, economical and even international and political domains show revolutionary new opportunities, technologies, possibilities, applications and viewpoints but most of them have not quite reached maturity yet.
These mini evolutions collectively set the scene of an imminent marketing paradigm revolution: the current explosion in online social media use is only at the start of an international landslide with major impact on traditional media usage, the idea of a corporate ‘ecolomical’ wave (i.e. economy and ecology as allies instead of enemies) has proven its seductiveness but still has a long way to go for it to reach the masses, the growing need of consumer interaction and co-creation with brands is clearly there, but brands have not yet fully deployed their marketing weapons to facilitate this, discounters are selling premium brands whilst premium brands are dumping their prices, the financial crisis is over or is it not?, etc… . This makes people somewhat uncertain and in a continuous survival modus: they are very resilient in their choices underway.

What are you most proud of?

Of our counter-cyclic investment strategy: in the eye of the financial storm InSites Consulting opened offices in Geneva and London because we believe in ‘no guts, no glory’.  We have been dodging the impact of the economical crisis successfully so it is very motivating to work in a company that manages to do that and that likes to take bold international initiatives on the way.

What do you want to warn marketers/market researchers about, now and in the future?

As I believe that ultimately the evolutions of the ‘in-between-era’ will result in the disappearance of old school marketing and the start of new paradigms, methods, practices and techniques to reach, seduce and interact with consumers, it is important to understand consumers and their day-to-day behavior in terms of this new setting: survivor-consumers are playing the waiting game before massively investing in one or the other viewpoints, technology, etc… so it is about us taking decisions for them: getting the basics right today and being faster in this than competitors is the challenge we are facing and the key to future success.

What has surprised you lately?

Something I learned from a recent survey: 91% of Belgian students have access to the internet in the comfort of their own student home/house/room. Why has this surprised me: as I wrote my thesis on the impact of the internet back in 1998, I had to rent an hour of internet in the ‘academical it-center’ at the time to have access to ‘the net’. An hour worth of internet was the equivalent of reading 10 WebPages containing only text at the time. It literally took about 6 minutes to surf from one page to the other. 10 years later almost all students have constant access.

What did your morning look like today?

I am expecting a baby so I went to the gynecologist today with my wife. Everything ok but the baby looks a bit underinterested in its appointment with the world as it was due last week. We’ll see… Patience is a good virtue. After that visit, I had a brand image presentation and brainstorm at a client I’ve been working for 10 summers in a row now. In short and without revealing the content: we are looking for ways to tweak a brand image that has been extremely stable for over 15 years so it is quite a challenge to facilitate ‘change’. But our recommendation was very concrete and down-to-earth to achieve this as efficiently as possible. Consequently, after the presentation,  I immediately wrote a proposal for the same client as one of the European hypotheses needed quantification for the Belgian market J

Let’s end with a ‘quote of the day’!

I just clicked on ‘random quotes’ on www.quotationspage.com and here’s what captured my attention:
“The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal”.
So I apologize 🙂

Hakim Zemni
+32 9 269 15 26  hakim.zemni@insites.eu

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