Vision Critical is a global brand, so it's probably not surprising that many of our people are travel junkies. One of those people is Amanda Boote from our London office.
"I love discovering new cultures and languages," she told me when I recently chatted with her over the phone. So far, she's been to 76 countries - and she has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Her curiosity isn't just about different cultures: her curiosity also extends to her career in research and business development. Before joining Vision Critical, Amanda had research stints at Unilever, Warner Home Videos, and GfK, just to name a few.
What does your team do?
Our team focuses on determining how Vision Critical's products and services can help companies in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. (That's the European term for consumer packaged goods or CPG.) We're a nimble team of three - we find out about the challenges facing potential and current clients and determine how Vision Critical can add value to their business.
What's the most important thing people need to know about managing insight communities?
The success of an insight community comes mostly from thoughtful planning before its launch. I recommend carrying out stakeholder interviews so that it is designed to meet everyone's needs from the get-go. Securing internal stakeholder buy-in will help drive the success of your insight community.
Also, create a clear roadmap of planned activities. Although ad hoc pieces will pop up, having an engagement plan will help ensure consistent stream of activities to keep people in your community interested.
Finally, plan to use at least five different recruitment methods. Besides meeting your target size more quickly, having a variety of recruitment sources usually helps attract people who are keen to participate and who are more likely to stick around.
What do you see as the key trends impacting insights and research?
Digital technology is enabling companies to do their own research and reach shoppers directly for insights.
The old research model used to include companies asking for RFPs, finding and appointing an agency, and then getting results back after a month or two. Those days are gone: Insight communities and other online platforms now allow brands to do effective research at the speed of their business with the help of an always-on community of consumers.
Because of social media and advancements in technology, consumers expect to hear directly from companies - and brands have no choice but to adapt their research methodologies accordingly.
Looking into your crystal ball, how do you think research will differ from today?
The way companies gather insights will be a lot more sophisticated. Today, research efforts are mostly done within silos. The most progressive companies, however, are starting to create a more holistic insight ecosystem where they're pulling together all of their insights into one place. It's just a matter of time before we start seeing companies creating dashboards with all of their key insights and making smarter business decisions as a result.
If you could ask any questions on the Angus Reid Forum or the Springboard networks - just to satisfy your own curiosity - what would it be?
What's the number one thing on your bucket list? (Mine would be to visit as many countries as humanly possible.)