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A Whole New World: our 2 new qual researchers on their experience of joining FACE

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Here at FACE we like to think we do things differently to other agencies – what agency doesn’t, right? But it’s been a few years since many of us worked anywhere else! To get a fresh point of view, we asked the two newest members of our qualitative research team to tell us about why they joined.

Beca has previously worked at a boutique quant agency in Ireland and a digital qual agency in London. Rich has worked as a parliamentary researcher for an MP and a commercial analyst at a premier league football club before specialising as a qualitative researcher.

Joining FACE brought with it many changes for both of us, and lots of learnings too, so we’d like to share with you what we’ve discovered in our time here so far.

Beca: So Rich, what was it about FACE that made you want to work here? Was there anything in particular that really excited you? 

Rich: I joined FACE to get experience on wider range of research methods. I remember in my last role, I was crying out for the use of a mobile app so I could record people’s behaviour in situ. Here using our mobile app, consumers can record their instinctive reactions almost immediately with minimal disruption to their lives. This has great benefit to a researcher as it negates a lot of factors that add doubt over the validity of responses. It adds precision and detail because it drastically shortens the time between experience and response.

This is key because a person’s memory naturally filters out detail and often leaves only summary. You may test drive a car and note many things you disliked. Interior too cluttered, steering unresponsive, poor satnav, weak handling/brakes etc. If asked straight after the test drive why you didn’t like it, you’d have no problem reeling off details. If asked a few weeks down the line, you will have forgotten many of the particulars. You will simply remember that your overall feelings towards the car were negative, but not necessarily all of the reasons why.

The Pulsar platform is another great tool that I wanted to be able to call upon when making strategic recommendations. By tracking the buzz about a brand – not just on social media, but anywhere mentioned on the web, we are able to grasp the feelings of the consumer like never before.

This kind of information is invaluable when it comes to making valuable recommendations. If I, as a researcher, don’t truly understand how your consumers feel about you today, then how can I possibly help you to be successful tomorrow? 

The online community has a great advantage also and is something I was very keen to learn and use. I knew the world of research was changing and that online was the way forward. The online communities are very useful especially as they are so cost effective compared to the alternative, leaving us with more budget for the stuff that matters – the research.

So the tools FACE uses were the flame to the moth for me, what about you?  Does FACE do things differently than what you’ve done before?

BecaBeca: Coming from a predominantly digital background I am fairly new to the world of face-to-face qual research. Since joining FACE I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on some groups and I was so pleasantly surprised by how different they were from what I’d seen before. Rather than the moderator being an authoritative force within the group, the playing field was levelled and the participants were much more natural and relaxed because of it. But the thing that made FACE stand out from the crowd for me is co-creation!

Rich: I agree, ‘co-creation’ is a buzzword you hear a lot, and many people have copied the approach. To find out that FACE were among the first do adopt it in a market research capacity was a huge draw for me. I wanted to go beyond just probing for reactions and actually have a hand in sculpting creative outputs going forward. 

So the methodologies are quite new for both of us then, an exciting learning curve! Anything else different at FACE?

Beca: What was probably the most difficult thing to get my head around upon joining FACE is that I am no longer expected to be everything. Coming from an agency where researchers are responsible for everything, from the very seed of a project to the felling of the tree, this was difficult to get my head around initially. I’ve quickly realised the immense benefits of having teams dedicated to production and commercial as well as account managers and in-house technical support. Each team has different strengths, to handle different stages of a project. Having the time to dedicate to the research, which is after all why I chose this path, is a luxury I am still getting used to and one I appreciate more than I ever thought I could.

Analysis of qualitative data is central to what we do as researchers, and FACE really gets that! In previous agencies analysis was often a solo pursuit, but here at FACE analysis is a team effort, with people challenging each other’s conclusions and pushing them to the next level.

You came from automotive research, right? This must be a big change from that?

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Rich: Definitely! One of the great things about FACE is the clients we have and the type of work we do. Not wanting to be typecast in one industry led to me wanting to move somewhere with such an enviable FMCG client list; brands like: Coca-Cola, Unilver and Reckitt Benckiser!

You’ve worked in FMCGs before though, haven’t you?

Beca: I have, although quick turnaround projects were much less common in my previous agency. And although watching a project grow and evolve can be very rewarding it can be more difficult to maintain the same level of interest and creativity and keep the momentum going. The short-term nature of most projects at FACE encourages excitement and enthusiasm from start to finish, and allows for continuous creativity throughout. As an added bonus it also opens you up to working on a whole range of projects in a variety of industries, keeping the nature of your work diverse and varied.

How’re you finding it? A new job can be quite daunting…

Rich: The attitude of everyone on the team is first class. From the intern to the directors, we all sit together like a happy family of beavers, all with different roles, but ultimately unified in our goal of making robust and long lasting dams! From a personal point of view, it’s been a touch being able to feel so comfortable so quickly at a new company. There is an eclectic mix of cultures and backgrounds making for a great dynamic both in and outside of work.

With unemployment at an all-time high, working somewhere that both challenges and stimulates is increasingly rare. In joining FACE we have both found a great opportunity to continue to learn and grow as researchers. The multi-faceted approach of online, social and traditional techniques will help us to develop skills we would not have gained elsewhere.

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If you want to learn more about what it’s like to work at FACE, check out Oana’s post, ‘A Peek Through The Keyhole of the FACE Office’.

Or think you’ve got what it takes and want to join us? Let us know here.

Meet us at… ARF Re:Think and Social Media Forum

We are getting ready for two conferences this month: ARF Re: Think in New York and Social Media Forum in London.

ARF Rethink

With a showcase of 50+ groundbreaking studies (cross-platform, social media, mobile research and more), 100 high-profile presenters, 2,500 industry peers (from P&G, Unilever, Apple, and Facebook along with many others) it’s looking like it will be a really innovative and exciting event.

The Face NY team will be manning the booth and our friends from Pulsar will demo their social intelligence platform.  Drop by to find out how we can help you better understand and connect with your consumers by combining qualitative insight, real time data and smart thinking.

Register and check out the details here.

 

SMWF 2

Social Media Forum (#SMWF) Europe is a social and digital marketing conference which examines the latest developments in social marketing and how it sits within an organisation. #SMWF launches in London on 31 March – 1 April 2014.

We’re looking forward to talks from many industry thought leaders on how to drive engagement, manage brand image and understand great customer service. To name but a few: McDonalds, BBC, Walt Disney, Lithium, Philips, Unicef, Vodafone, Amnesty International, Wall Street Journal and Sky are all sharing their knowledge.

Our Chief Innovation Officer, Francesco D’Orazio (@abc3d) will join the panel discussion on ‘Interdepartmental cooperation for a unified social campaign panel’ alongside participants from Sony, Barclays, Yahoo and RSA. Discussion will touch on the following questions:

  • The practicalities of structuring and implementing a multi-channel social campaign
  • How to create unity across departments and resolve issues for the best outcome
  • Examining new trends and platforms in social and evaluating where the effort should be focussed
  • Looking at how different social platforms fit together with more traditional media

Social media expertise and top-level strategic advice is what we are all about so we’re really looking forward to this discussion.

The FACE and Pulsar teams will also be there to demo Pulsar and answer any questions.

Hope to see you there. Check out the event’s website for more details.

Highlights from the Insight Innovation Exchange (IIeX) Amsterdam

We’ve just come back from Insight Innovation Exchange Europe. And what an inspiring two days! From Mark Earls and John Willshire making the audience work with Artefact cards to identify innovations needed in market research, to inspiring presentations on neuromarketing, gamification and mobile, there’s a lot of exciting ideas to take away.

We hope to have contributed to this ourselves: Our CEO, Andrew Needham and our Research Manager Jess Owens shared their thoughts on Using social media research for agile, adaptive customer intelligence” in a joint presentation at 17:00 on the first day of the conference.

Following a classic Andrew introduction – getting the audience to stand up and be agile, by squatting up and down doing an agility exercise – they talked about:

  1. What does “agile” research really mean? It’s not just about quick thinking – it’s about empowering clients to take action.
  2. Lessons from agile software development: it’s all about the feedback loop
  3. Why agile social media research? Jess shared stories from two social media crises, showing how real-time social media listening can get research a seat at the table
  4. Partnership with clients to build an agile, actionable research programme – aka is the weekly report always the best way to share research insights? We talk about the “client as superuser”
  5. The true power of the brand tracker dataset - how the unprompted nature of social media mentions enables highly adaptive and flexible research, providing the ability to instantly answer questions brands didn’t even know they had

Here is their presentation, for those of you who couldn’t make it:

 

We’d also like to congratulate our colleagues from Pulsar for winning the first DIVA (Data Visualisation Award) for our How Video Spreads Twitter network visualisation:

We tracked the conference on Pulsar (of course!). Here’s how the 1,711 IIeX-related tweets performed over the two days of the conference:

Conversation volumes by hour:

IIeX Volume per hour

Most active Twitter users:

IIeX Influencers

 

Most shared links:

1. Pulsar’s winning entry to the DIVA awards 

2. DIVA Awards Panel announcement

3. IIeX Europe Homepage 

4. #IIeX Focus Series – Technology & Market Research (2 of 5): Social Media

5. #IIeX Focus Series – Technology & Market Research (3 of 5): Photo & Video

 

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Bad Andrew picture

Andrew Needham is a Founding Partner and CEO of FACE Research. A pioneer in the use of social data in qualitative and quantitative research to deliver a holistic view of the consumer, Andrew is leading the global expansion of FACE. Read more of Andrew’s thoughts here. Or reach out to him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

Jess Owens profile photo

Jess Owens is a social media researcher in FACE’s London office. As one of the first members of the Global Social Insight team, she has pioneered new research methods with social data, from audience mapping, channel effectiveness studies and studying social media virality and content diffusion. Get in touch with Jess via LinkedIn or Twitter – she tweets for us @FaceResearch as well as from her personal account, @hautepop

 

Meet us at… Insight Innovation Exchange, Amsterdam 19-20 Feb

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That’s right – the London team are off to Amsterdam on 19-20 February to attend IIEX-EU 2014 – the Insight Innovation Exchange European conference.

They say, “The Insight Innovation eXchange connects seasoned practitioners with new thinkers, human behavior experts with technology, and the private and public sectors. We set the stage for connections that help mash ideas and technology together, knowing that those interactions will help bring about the next rEvolution in marketing insights”

Ideas and technology – that’s what’s we’re about!

So here’s quick rundown of the FACE team members going and what we’ll be sharing with the conference:

  1. Research manager Jess Owens will be presenting on Wednesday 19th at 17:00, talking about “Using social media research for agile, adaptive customer intelligence”. If you’re not able to attend the conference, check out her webinar on Thursday 13th Feb to hear more!
  2. We’ll also be demoing our social media intelligence platform Pulsar on an exhibition stand – led by global sales manager James Cuthbertson.We’ll be tracking the #IIEX hashtag throughout the event, so come and visit him to discover the topics, speakers and issues driving the most buzz among conference attendees. Here’s our findings from last year’s conference.
  3. Finally FACE’s newest arrival, business development director James Hirst will also be attending for meetings and one-to-one discussions.
  4. And of course stay tuned for tweets from @FaceResearch!

We look forward to seeing some of you there.

 

8 New Year’s Resolutions for the Research Mind

Every New Year, people around the world pause to make promises to themselves to change or to do something new. For many, it’s to be healthier and get in shape. But we have a different take on New Year’s Resolutions here at FACE.

As Oana noted in her blog, “A peek through the keyhole of the FACE office,” we really love what we do, so we have research-focused New Year’s Resolutions! Some of these resolutions are specifically about research methodologies and tools while others are more about keeping our minds flexible and open. Both kinds will help the FACE team tackle all the challenges 2014 has to offer.

Image by Flickr User vanhookc

Riki Neill, Associate Research Director –

book image“I’ve always been excited by the changing world but more recently I’ve been interested in the things that aren’t changing. My New Year’s Resolution is to revisit my interests in cognition and consumer behaviour that stems from evolution; and combine these fundamentals with Face’s natural expertise on emerging consumer trends. I’m getting started with Robert Kurtzban’s ‘Why Everyone (Else) Is A Hypocrite’”

 

Andrew Ho, Managing Director of Face Asia – 

ted logo“Let’s watch more TED.com - once a week the Asia team will take turns to pick a video on any topic, and discuss its virtues. Great way to get us all talking about non-work related stuff, think differently, and it’s my not so subtle way of using others to make me sound smarter.”

Nicole Li, Research Manager  –

“Write a blog post every quarter – I am a firm believer that if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough. At Face, we are always learning something new, I hope that the discipline of writing can help me distill my thoughts.”

Kate Davids, Senior Research Analyst –

O'Reilly book“This year I’m going to teach myself programming, starting with Python. As both a social media analyst and an online qualitative researcher, I think it’s important that I understand how the tools I depend on actually work. My O’Reilly “Learning Python” book is massive, but I have all year to get through it.”

 

 

Jess Owens, Social Media Research Manager –

“My professional New Year’s resolution is to speak up. Quite literally: I want to speak at more events! I have this privileged position studying pop culture phenomena and digital consumer behavior, and there are so many insights worth sharing with a wider audience. I also read a lot about the problems of imbalanced gender representation at conferences and events, especially in the tech industry – by putting myself forward, I can do a little bit to fix that.

I spoke at Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working in May 2013, and I want to contribute further to these interdisciplinary conversations about how technology is impacting our selves and societies.”

Sharmila Subramanian, Research Director - 

mindfulness“My resolution would be about getting into better habits that can encourage mindfulness.  I think a lot of researchers are very good at acquiring information (as is to be expected), which ends up in a bit of a detritus of “stuff” in your brain – this in itself impedes ability to switch off and actually think more clearly and laterally about research challenges.

So, 2014 for me is about mindfulness”

Serena Jacob, Head of the Face Singapore Office –

“My New Year’s Resolution: to keep up with changes in the industry and to be more willing to experiment. It’s so easy to go on using the same techniques and methodologies. So, I want to read more and talk to people more about how they approach research differently, and then try them out in my projects this year.”

Erika Ammerman, Global Head of Social Insight -

“I absolutely agree with Serena. Keeping your eyes open to possibility is as key to being a great researcher as also being able to weed out the many, many, unfruitful avenues to insight. In Social, where many things are shiny and new, it’s extremely important to keep our eyes open for better ways – and those better ways can come from completely new technologies and methodologies, or from cleverly adjusting a tried-and-tested approach, or – better yet – from integrating both. Keeping on top of fast-moving developments can be hard, but it’s essential.

I also want to publicly state that another resolution of mine is to BLOG MORE! When I look around the FACE business and see how certain people don’t just use social, but USE social (Kate, Jess, Cierra and Fran come to mind immediately), I can see how being immersed in contributing and sharing with others can aid a colleague’s POV tremendously. I want more of this in my life.”

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