There is a lot of hype around Pokemon Go at the moment… which is certainly well justified given the usage numbers… and a lot of articles written on what the research industry can learn from its success. One of the key conclusions is the reminder of the stiff competition we face for a slice of people’s time, especially with respect to smart phone users. People really do have an unlimited choice of ways to spend their time, Pokemon Go being just another one, and one can expect that this competition will only get fiercer as technology evolves, as augmented reality applications become mainstream. This change in the competitive landscape has some huge implications for our strategy as an industry, as well as individual companies within our industry. Here are just five of them: 1. Give people a first class user experience Active-participation-based research is still the bread and butter of our industry, either quantitative or qualitative, and if we want people to willingly give up their time for us, we need to respect them for that and give them the best user experience we can. We need to introduce participant-centricity as an integral part of our research design processes, alongside client-centricity. For example, our research shows that in the minds of many participants, too many surveys are unnecessarily long and unnecessarily boring. We are quick to tell our clients to improve their user experience, so we need to take our own medicine. We cannot afford to abuse people’s goodwill and create negative impressions in this word-of-mouth driven world. The race to the bottom really is just that, and there is no gold at the bottom of this barrel. In contrast, giving people a first class user experience can lead to positive word of mouth and more people being willing to say YES to research when we “knock on their door”. 2. Embrace new techniques and new technology We mustn’t see technology as an enemy, but as an ally. Not only does technology enable us to deliver better data and insights to clients, it enables us to engage with participants in new ways. Increasing the deployment of passive data collection techniques will enable our industry to ask less questions and therefore take up less of people’s time. Increasing the use of gamification and other in-research techniques will improve the user experience, and new technology such as virtual or augmented reality will enable us to give people a totally new way of experiencing research. Increasing the use of Artificial Intelligence will also enable us to ask less questions, and perhaps more importantly to ask fewer, but more relevant questions. As we ask people to interact with us in new ways, trust becomes even more critical. Our research shows that most people are concerned about misuse of their personal data. Sure, many people choose to give up their data, despite this concern, in return for value but that not dies necessarily decrease the level of concern. One could even argue, that the act of consciously giving up your personal data despite your concerns, for example Pokemon Go, might even decrease the trust in others asking for your data, for example a market research company. Trust is not absolute. It is relative. It is relative to trust in others and relatively to what is being asked and what is being given in return. We seem to be living in a world of distrust, as witnessed by the incredibly low trust in government we found in our Trust Survey. If we do not trust the people we elect to lead us, then who can we trust. 3. Play to our strengths Let’s face it, we are never going to beat Pokemon Go on entertainment value, just like we are never going to beat Facebook on social value, and just like we are never going to beat Google on information value. So we need to play to our strengths to compete for people’s time. So what is our value proposition? Our USP? We would argue that at its core our value is the benefit people derive from having other people make decisions based upon their input, with that benefit being either as a consumer or a citizen. Sure, we also do things which do not add value to people, or at least not very directly, but what other industry has the power to so broadly affect people’s lives in such a positive way? Perhaps we need to borrow from the core definition of marketing: “enabling people’s needs and desires to be met”, and use this “reason to believe” along the lines of “Intel inside”. Our research shows that relatively few people perceive the benefit of market research. We believe we are punching under our weight in this respect and therefore in addition to playing to our strengths we need to proactively communicate about the value we are delivering. 4. Flex our muscles and use our elbows Just like we need to fight with competition outside the industry for clients’ budgets, we need to fight for people’s time. We need to communicate much more actively about the good stuff we do, about the benefits to people as customers, consumers and citizens. This is one goal of the GRBN Building Public Trust programme, which you can read about here. 5. Do some (more) good Whilst we already add a lot of value to society, I am sure if we put our minds into it, we could do so, so much more. We could use our skills to positively impact key challenges the world is facing or on more a micro-level to positively impact the local communities where we work. Paragon Partnership is a fantastic initiative, the goal of which is to use data and insight to improve people’s lives. Paragon was created create input to tackling the 17-point plan of the UN Global Goals – end poverty, combat climate change, and fight injustice and inequality around the world. To find out more about the initiative and to get involved visit Let’s do more pro-bono work. Wouldn’t it be great when we say “say for disturbing you” the response is “not at all, you guys are doing a great job, happy to help!” Taking actions on these points on an association, corporate and individual level, will help us building a relationship with the public built on trust, which will help ensure a positive future for industry. The choice is ours… everyone of ours. If you agree with the above analysis and want to help co-create a positive future for your sector, I encourage you to take a 100-day challenge or partner on the Building Public Trust programme. Together we can create a bright future, so join the movement!