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The Advertising Research Foundation is leading a Research Transformation initiative that will enable members to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-changing, consumer-driven world. Techniques such as listening to naturally occurring conversations online, and storytelling to share consumer insights are now sought after by forward-thinking organizations. Chief Research Officer Joel Rubinson is guiding the industry in the integration of these methods, and defining the future role of research through Industry Leader Forum events, and an ARF “Super Council” on Research Transformation.
The ARF’s commitment to guiding the future of research was demonstrated on October 29, when more than 200 executives representing major advertisers, ad agencies, media companies and market research firms gathered for a sold-out Industry Leader Forum on the increasingly critical issue of “Transforming Research. Are You Listening?”
Attendees were inspired by a call to action from keynote speaker Kim Dedeker of Procter & Gamble. The day included compelling case histories of “listening” in action from General Mills, MTV, Sony Electronics, and Unilever; and during lunch Barack Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, shared how insights were gathered in the president-elect’s groundbreaking campaign.
Summing up the day’s events, Bob Barocci, President and CEO of The ARF, noted that “The speakers and twittering made it clear that the transformation of research is already underway.” He gave a number of specifics: emerging vocabulary that researchers are using like “listening pipes,” storytelling, inspiration, content masters (referring to millennials), consumer backyard, brand backyard; and the reliance on real time feedback to make real time marketing decisions (e.g. media content).
Taking the initiative to the West Coast
To build on the issues raised on October 29, and drive change in research practice, the ARF is hosting a second Industry Leader Forum in San Francisco on January 27, 2009 at Bently Reserve, with confirmed speakers Kim Dedeker, P&G; Joel Benenson, Benenson Strategy Group; Michael Perman, Levi Strauss; and Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online.
The Research Transformation “Super Council” will shape the “mission, vision, and scoping” of research functions. The following industry luminaries will direct the Council’s agenda.
Joel Benenson – Founding Partner & President, Benenson Strategy Group and
Jonathan Carson – President, International, Nielsen Online
Kim Dedeker – VP, External Capability Leadership-Global Consumer & Market Knowledge, Procter & Gamble
Jeff Flemings – SVP, Renaissance Planning, VivaKi
Gayle Fuguitt – VP, Consumer Insights, General Mills
Stephen Kim – Senior Director, Microsoft Branded Experiences and Entertainment, Microsoft Advertising
Michael Perman – Senior Director, Levi Strauss
Eric Salama – Chairman and CEO, Kantar
Patti Wakeling – Senior Manager, Media Insights, Unilever