Hot on the heels of adding to our team in NYC, we're happy to welcome some new faces in London...
Busy times at Crowd DNA. Fresh from confirming exciting additions to the team in New York, we’ve new hire action to report in Hoxton Square.
Sabrina Qureshi joins in a newly created online communities director role in London. Previously head of communities at Harris Interactive, Sabrina will build out Crowd DNA’s capabilities in running online communities, with a particular focus on those designed to provide rich immersion and to fuel innovation programmes.
Sarah Griffiths joins as a consultant in the business and strategy team in London. She was previously at branding agency Smith Dawson.
And we’ve two roles still to fill at present in London:
We've a fantastic opportunity for an experienced, culturally and commercially switched on researcher to join our London team...
Reporting to our head of insight and innovation, and also working closely alongside our core management team, this is a newly established senior role at Crowd DNA for an experienced insight and innovation expert who can point to a great track record with high calibre clients.
We’re seeking someone who’s looking to take on significant management responsibilities, operating alongside our head of insight and innovation to ensure our project teams deliver first rate work. You won’t be stepping away from fieldwork completely, but the demands of this role do require a candidate who’s willing to concentrate more on providing directorial level input across a broad spectrum of our work rather than zoning in on just one project. You will line manage and won’t be afraid to demand more of our team (they’re a great team who want to be challenged – they really won’t mind!). Your role will also involve significant collaboration with our business and strategy team, sometimes taking the lead on writing proposals and on project design.
Here’s what we’re looking for -
- Titles vary from agency to agency but we envisage someone joining us who’s currently at associate director level; we’re open to client-side candidates too of a similar degree of seniority
- A strong insight industry background, with the ability to be able to point to work on a range of demanding and future-facing multi-market projects (ideally incorporating qual and quant; and at all points from general project management to methods best practice, razor sharp thinking in the analysis phase and keeping a tight control on budgets)
- A demonstrable record in line and/or team management, including handling resource issues
- Experience of, and an aptitude for, take business development responsibilities, including writing proposals, project design and costing
- We want someone who’s confident and comes armed with strong points of view; but – crucially – someone who absolutely values the opinions and expertise of others as well
- You’ll use this confidence to gain the respect of the internal team; also of clients (including in workshops environments)
- If you can point to particular experience in areas such as product innovation, brand strategy projects and working with major FMCG conglomerates (or similar), that’s good
- You might not have covered off every research method under the sun, but you’ll have ticked off plenty and will be highly receptive to bringing new methods into play
- Experience of socialising insight through films, print, events and other means (all important factors at Crowd DNA) will be helpful
This is a fantastic opportunity to join, in a senior capacity, an agency that gets to work on a huge number of incredibly thought provoking and culturally-oriented projects for amazing brands; and to be a key contributor to how we continue to push the boundaries of what we’re about as a business. To apply, please get in touch with Crowd DNA’s head of insight and innovation, Dr Matilda Andersson, attaching a CV and covering letter.
Joining our super-smart team in Hoxton Square, London, this is an executive or consultant level role for someone who wants to be advancing their quantitative insight skills working on exciting, future-facing projects for an amazing roll call of global clients...
The successful candidate will be responsible for end to end involvement on projects, collaborating with clients and analysing data to draw out compelling findings. You’ll be supported by senior team members to further your capabilities, as you assist on a range of key accounts across categories such as media, tech, retail, alcohol, finance, FMCG and entertainment.
We’re a highly collaborative bunch with an unswerving passion for staff development – and for assembling a crack squad of researcher, strategists, writers, designers and film-makers with an appetite for cultural understanding and delivering seriously high quality consultancy work. We’re open to candidates at executive and consultant level (think SRE for the latter), and would obviously have different expectations based on seniority, but the ideal candidate is likely to exhibit the following:
- Relevant experience in an agency environment
- A tangible enthusiasm for working with data and for doing so in new and novel ways
- An inquisitive and analytical mind, but also the creativity to think about new and compelling ways to present work and tell stories
- Highly organised, with excellent attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure
- Someone who’s positive, solutions-oriented, keen to develop, and who can operate with equal ease as part of a team or working autonomously
- Having either experience with, or an enthusiasm to learn about, qual methods and how to blend them with quant work a big plus point
The role come with a competitive salary at either exec or consultant level and benefits package, plus clear paths to promotion. It’s an entrepreneurial and energised environment, fast paced and collaborative. If you fancy working in a place where setting the agenda for the future of insight and innovation is coded into the culture, please get in touch with Crowd DNA’s head of insight and innovation Dr Matilda Andersson, attaching a CV and covering letter.
Crowd DNA’s head of insight and innovation, Dr Matilda Andersson, talked millennials and mobility at Jaguar Land Rover TechFest...
When I was first asked to speak at Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest, I was pretty sure they’d got the wrong person. The truth is I don’t own a car: I can’t even drive. But when I realised the panel was going to discuss millennials and mobility I felt more confident I could contribute to the debate.
As we know, owning a car isn’t the traditional marker of the transition to adulthood that it once was. The same can be said for getting married and having kids. They’re all still happening, just later or in non-traditional ways. Even if cars still play a significant role in the life of today’s millennials, the difference lies in what car ownership means: the values assigned to it, the expectations surrounding it and how it elevates the life of its driver.
But have we reached the end of the road for car ownership? This was the pressing question we were asked to talk about. Beside me on stage were some pretty impressive millennials: online star Daniel Howell, YouTube vlogger Jim Chapman, broadcaster and writer Alice Levine, Neil Sharpe (director of mobility solutions at Bosch), Yihyun Lim (associate director MIT Design Lab) – and Sebastian Peck (managing director Jaguar Land Rover InMotion), who hosted the panel.
While preparing for the debate I summarised mobility into three major shifts which formed my point of view on the day:
Millennials want flexible spaces where they can live, work and relax.
Many millennials live in smaller spaces with fewer rooms than their parents. Most live alone or with flatmates instead of their family. Others save money by living in multi-generational households. They travel more, work more and spend more time outside their homes than previous generations. As a result, millennials crave places to relax, socialise and provide privacy on the move.
As our living spaces continue to shrink and commutes get longer, the car can play its own role in creating a ‘home away from home’ for the millennial cohort.
Millennials want products and services that enhance their life experiences more fully by saving them time and reducing hassle through simple design. Technology plays a crucial role in facilitating the idea that every moment counts and that they can accomplish more in less time. Brands that enable drivers to move seamlessly from one space to the next without interruptions to their connected lifestyles are those that will succeed.
It’s not only the concept of time and space that millennials have redefined, but the idea of luxury and symbols of status. In the eyes of millennials, luxury is no longer just about expense or scarcity. A fatigue from too much luxury is driving consumers towards more casual brands and more conscientious purchases that nurture the health of themselves and the planet.
What if as the luxury market shifts, ownership of exclusive goods will increasingly compete against a demand for experiences and digital bragging rights? What if one ride in a luxury supercar posted on social media was preferable for aspirant millennials than owning vehicle themselves?
At the end of the debate, the audience at TechFest voted and – surprise, surprise – 77% of those in attendance didn’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for car ownership. I managed to get the final word: ‘Ownership might still be relevant but it’s going to change. Shared ownership is the future.’
We’re happy to report we're growing our team at Cooper Square in the East Village...
Things are building in NYC. Next to Hollie Jones, our US director, Isabelle Kåge, previously of Insight Strategy Group, joins the team, bringing a great mix of experience, spanning ethnography and depth interviews through to customer journey mapping and segmentation work.
And Tom Eccles is moving from our London HQ to also join the team in NYC. He’ll be making sure our Socialise skill-set of prototyping and creating content to drive engagement with insight is well and truly embedded in the US business.
It’s been a pretty amazing first three months in NYC, with a great mix of domestic and global projects for telecomms, fashion and social media clients to get us started. We’re really excited to find out what’s in store next – though this will definitely include finally buying some potted plants for the office…
This week we hosted a Rise breakfast event in Amsterdam which explored changing attitudes to masculinity, and in particular, what being a man means among millennials. For those who missed it – and our earlier session in London – here’s a PDF on the topic. This download looks at the tensions that have evolved around male identity and is designed to help brands harness opportunities – and speak better to men AND women. Once again, there’s a playlist to soundtrack the insights.
We recently ran a London breakfast event exploring themes around agelessness, and what the implications are for brands and marketers. We’ve a PDF to share on the topic also, covering ground such as leveraging cross-generational interests, influencer strategy and age-agnostic design. Oh yes, and a playlist of related tracks, too.
Crowd DNA’s Andy Crysell on how we get out on-the-road with stakeholder teams, immersing them in the lives and culture of people…
We’ve been on an impressive roll running client immersion sessions recently. In the last month alone this work has taken us to South Korea, China, Argentina, India, South Africa and Indonesia; as well as out and about on Crowd DNA home turf in New York, Amsterdam and London.
When set up carefully, there’s something incredibly powerful about this type of work (sometimes we call them immersions, other times safaris, consumer meet-ups, road trips or similar; we should probably fix that). Rather than listening to, reading about, or watching what we have to say, or peering from behind the glass in a viewing facility, the client is truly getting in there with people and with culture.
The benefits of this might sound obvious, but it’s incredible how often the potential for these sessions is overlooked. You can’t really sleepwalk through them, and that’s key. It requires client teams to lean in. There’s sometimes even a sense of friction to begin with, of people being out of their comfort zone, but that’s a useful ingredient. Played right, this leads to true alertness and receptivity to what’s going on around you.
There’s not really a one-size-fits-all method for this type of work. Sometimes we might just be connecting with ‘regular’ consumers; at others we will include influencers and experts; or base it more around visiting stand-out locations than interacting with pre-recruited participants. They can be all wrapped up in a few hours, or take place over a number of days. So yes, we’re big believers in custom design over off-the-shelf solutions. But nonetheless we thought it worth trying to get down a few notes on what we think are the important factors:
Planning does make perfect in this field. All participants – the public and client stakeholders alike – need to be given the right level of detail on what will happen and what’s expected of them. Sometimes we’ll produce a project intro video, talking through the plan. We also create profile packs so clients have good background info on the people they’ll be meeting – the more context and anecdotes they have, the easier it will be to start conversations.
We work hard to get the mix of locations just right. You want to be going to the places that the target audience in question really does go to and/or to the cultural hotspots that will change thinking and present powerful new stimulus. This takes meticulous upfront research and attention to detail.
You’ve got to be realistic, too. While there might be ten good spots to head to, if time doesn’t allow for it, don’t do it. There’s no point turning the whole exercise into a needlessly frantic dash about town – and people need reasonable time to share learnings and talk between each interaction. Oh yes, and it’s worth knowing exactly where you’re going – getting lost in Kyoto, Mexico City or Helsinki isn’t a crowd pleaser.
Not too much planning!
So all of this planning is essential, but you also have to leave some gaps in the process. The serendipitous moments along the way are often where the magic happens. If the client wants to check out a different store than the one planned, or has struck up a particularly good conversation that warrants more time, you need to build in scope for such things to happen.
Don’t write a discussion guide – this can hinder the experience of actually meeting people on their own terms. Instead, arm the clients with provocations about the topic of interest as conversation starters. These could be false facts, quotes from previous waves of research etc. This type of stimulus is great if conversation starts to slow down, but, as not too prescriptive in form, also doesn’t limit clients from feeling they have the license to go off-script.
Setting the tone
These projects are about experiencing an environment with all senses truly switched on, not just having a conversation. Tell clients to observe and take note of the spaces they find themselves in, body language, relationships between people, media, music, food, what others in the space are doing.
Encourage clients to be interested, curious, flexible and to have fun. It’s not always going to run perfectly. There will be awkward conversations, silence and even some boredom – but mixed with laughter, fun and great interactions. Let the consumer lead where possible and allow them to be the narrator of their world.
If you’re dropping into a distant city with a bunch of clients, looking to immerse them in how people and culture works there, sufficiently deep expertise in the topic matter is vital. This might well come from previous waves of secondary or primary research that you’ve conducted. It can also come from working with on-the-ground contributors – people who can articulate the details of the experience and unlock scenarios that may otherwise be out of reach. For instance, we might work with local lifestyle journalists and bloggers, or even independent tour guides who specialise in showing people an alternative view of a city.
Everyone will need a way to gather, disseminate and reach conclusions around the wealth of material they are exposed to. We’ve recently had great success setting up WhatsApp groups in these types of situation. Our client stakeholders get to share images, videos and noted insights as they go in a fluid and low friction fashion. Better still, we can use the channel for logistical purposes, following where everyone is and, for instance, whether it’s time to advise a particular team that they’ve probably downed enough shots in that location and should move on!
We also arm teams with Polaroid cameras in some cases – of course, people can take pics via their phones, but it can be useful to achieve a focus on what’s important by limiting the number of shots available to them. We might give them budgets to buy items as they go – inspiring and surprising material that they can then share and discuss later.
Something ultimately needs capturing out of all of this fine work. Talking over findings, post-day, at dinner, can be the way – though be mindful of burnout. It can often be just as beneficial to share the findings over breakfast, as the start of the next day – people are fresher and it primes everyone for the next set of adventures.
It’s the job of the stakeholders to gather and share ideas. But it’s ours to collate them and author, or co-author, the take-outs. The final record of this type of exercise varies – a blog, film or booklet; a simple Google Docs round-up; a workshop session to feed ideas into the innovation pipeline – but it’s vital that there is an end product.
We’d love to discuss ideas for how to make a project of this kind work for your team. Email hello@crowdDNA.com if you’d like to chat and hopefully we can take you some place exciting.