We’re seeking one to join our London strategic insights team...

We’re seeking a skilled strategic insights expert to join our London team as an associate director. You’ll get to work on fabulously diverse and exciting projects for some of the biggest names around. The briefs we get are amazing – truly at the intersection of culture and brands. We want someone who can bring both provocative thinking and total diligence to this type of work, and who can call on circa six plus years of relevant experience.

Here, in more detail, is what we’re looking for:

– You need to have the confidence and necessary experience to take the controls of large and sometimes complex projects; to be an informed, energised and trusted advisor to our clients

– We’re looking for strong evidence of experience in areas such as brand positioning, proposition development, growth strategies, trends exploration and innovation/transformation projects

– You’ll bring with you skills such as desk and qual research, interacting with experts and influencers, developing frameworks and personas, and using diverse data sources (for instance, social media listening)

– Demonstrating experience of working on multi-market projects is important; as is the ability to lead a team

– Also of working on high quality proposals and project design – plus a clear interest in devising strategies for bringing new clients on board

–  We’ll want you to take ownership of certain category accounts, working closely with the leadership team to nurture existing client relationships; a track record of doing similar will be helpful

– We’re looking for someone who can bring a real sense of craft to their work – from the outputs they produce and strategic recommendations they devise, to how they run workshops and articulate fresh ideas that have cultural-commercial relevance

– We want someone who’s enthusiastic about the idea of working alongside strategists, writers, film-makers and designers; collaborating both with those in our London team and in our overseas offices

The role comes with a competitive salary and benefits, plus clear paths to promotion and to new opportunities.  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 cultural insights and strategy is coded into the way of working, please do get in touch, providing a covering letter and CV in the first instance.

Join Crowd DNA Sydney’s Erryn Balzan, and our friends at 72andSunny, for a session mastering how brands can engage with new expressions of maleness…


March 18, 1pm-1.45pm AEST – sign up

(Access via Zoom; 45 minutes including Q&A)


As narratives of gender continue to evolve in pretty much all corners of the globe, the way we express and represent masculinity is changing. A male misery epidemic, the exposure of toxic masculinity and a progressive Gen Z agenda are reframing what it means to be a man today. Without intervention, brands that speak to men are at risk of falling behind.

This session, presented by associate director Erryn Balzan and co-hosted with 72andSunny, will consider:

–  The cultural shifts impacting narratives of masculinity and the new, emerging expressions

–  How brands can harness these opportunities to drive comms, product innovation and more

–  What we can learn from recent brand and cultural examples in Australia and beyond

–  How to communicate authentically, while avoiding the slippery slope of tokenism.

We’ll round off our discussion with a Q&A panel made up of modern male representatives, featuring: Jason Ball (start-up founder and mental health advocate), Kyle Hugall (head of creative strategy, Lion) and Jimmy Nice (musician and artist).

With the image of a ‘true, blue, Aussie bloke’ so deeply ingrained in our psyches, we look forward to uncovering fresh narratives to help brands rethink and remain culturally relevant, but also challenge our own biases too. Hope you can make it!


March 18, 1pm-1.45pm AEST – sign up

(Access via Zoom; 45 minutes including Q&A)


 

We're seeking a quant-focused addition to our fast growing team in Sydney/Singapore...

Crowd DNA has solid ambitions to increase its Crowd Numbers capabilities (that’s the name we give to our super skilled, highly dedicated quant team) in APAC, meeting client needs across categories such as media, tech, finance and apparel, often delivering solutions in partnership with our Strategic Insights, Crowd Signs and Socialise teams.

This role (at senior consultant or associate director level) offers the opportunity to take a front seat role in our APAC plans (Sydney or Singapore-based), working on diverse and exciting projects for some of the most exciting brands in the world. The briefs we get are amazing – truly at the intersection of data, culture and brands. We want someone who can bring provocative thinking and new ideas to quantitative work; who can develop enduring client-agency partnerships; designing new approaches and meeting future facing business challenges.

In more detail, here’s what we’re looking for:

– Three plus years of relevant experience for senior consultant level; five plus years for associate director

– Experience and confidence to take a lead role on often complex multimarket projects and to be a trusted advisor to clients

– Ideally experienced in some of these areas: media, tech, fashion, e-commerce and digital journeys; a background in international as well as domestic research would be a plus

– Confidence in presenting to clients, expressing ideas, developing clear and impactful data visualisations, debrief decks and reports

– Track record of producing or contributing to high-quality, winning proposals and project designs

– Experience of work involving techniques such as segmentation approaches, drivers analysis, max diffs and conjoint

– Comfortable with, and enthused by, blending quantitative research with other methods, such as qual, trends, social listening and alternative data sources, including client’s own data 

– Enthusiastic about working alongside strategists, writers, film-makers and designers, as much as researchers; also for collaborating with equal enthusiasm with our teams in other cities

– Different levels of responsibility to be set dependent on if applying at senior consultant or associate director level

The role comes with great benefits (betterment scheme, training, sabbatical, company lunches and days out, flexi hours etc); the chance to work on some of the most stimulating and culturally-driven projects out there; and the opportunity to progress in an exciting and progressive business. To apply (attaching a resume and covering letter), please get in touch with Elyse Pigram.

Crowd Numbers Internship

We have an exciting entry-level opportunity to learn from and work with our quant team...

With our Crowd Numbers team growing quickly, working on an amazing range of cutting edge projects for clients in categories such as social media, tech, apparel and entertainment, we’re looking to add in a paid internship spot, with good opportunities to then transition to a full-time role. We’re seeking someone who’s passionate about working with data – and keen to learn about the possibilities for bringing storytelling and cultural relevance to this type of work.

You’ll need to prove to us that you are data literate, and can point to an interest in/experience of working in the quantitative research or statistical field through your studies, previous internships/placements or through other interests and passions. In return, you’ll get to learn from, and work alongside, a super talented team, contributing to exciting briefs for the best brands in the world.

This internship is set to run for four months and will be paid a full-time salary. A high number of those who take internships at Crowd DNA end up joining our team in permanent roles.

We’re not looking for CVs at this stage. Please get in touch with our Crowd Numbers director, Dave Power, explaining a bit about yourself and why you think this internship is a good fit for you. We’ll then get back in touch, setting you a task to respond to –  after which we’ll conduct remote interviews and get you to meet with more of the Crowd Numbers team. We look forward to hearing from you!

In his inauguration speech, President Biden (phew!) declared the US to be “Restless, bold and optimistic.” He was, in effect, rebranding the country. Our Crowd Signs team investigates...

Under the Trump administration, Brand America underwent some serious semiotic shifts. The consistent news feed of arrogance, ignorance and lies untethered the idea of America from its long held position as a dreamland of freedom, opportunity, courage and comfort. As the world looked on, how could US brands continue to leverage their own exceptional American-ness in an aspirational way?

And, more importantly, what can they do now that the pendulum is shifting toward America as a humble (but still tenacious) crucible of hope and unity? Using a semiotic lens, we’ve analysed a selection of US brands that are delivering against Biden’s vision of a restless, bold and optimistic America.

Restlessness: Discovering New Frontiers Within Ourselves

Apple is a brand associated with the pursuit of knowledge. We need only look at the crisp bite taken from the eponymous logo to know that when we buy into the brand we’re buying into courage and a hunger for understanding beyond the limits of everyday thinking. The comms around the Apple Watch Series 6 represent a continuation of this restless discovery. Product imagery is a direct reference to Space Age depictions of technology and the surfaces of planets.

The deep, dark background, glowing lights, close ups and abstracted images of ambiguous terrains all combine to code the idea of an out-of-this-world discovery. It’s an opportunity to explore new worlds; not out in the universe, but within ourselves. 

The brand plays perfectly into the sense of American restlessness for the new by channelling the Space Race, which is strongly associated with American ideas of greatness. And as, post Trump, America emerges from a period of discord, division and literal walls, Apple allows the restless consumer to see that the final frontier is within themselves. The experiment can begin again – and this time, it’s about self reflection, not expansion. 

Apple taps into the American restlessness for discovery. But, after the events of the last four years, this time, the search is within ourselves.
Apple taps into the American restlessness for discovery. But, after the events of the last four years, this time, the search is within ourselves.

 

Boldness: Proud, Playful Self-Validation

As women around the globe are increasingly encouraged to embrace their natural bodies and accept their visible ‘flaws’, Parade’s narrative of boldness deeply resonates. The name itself communicates pride and uplifting celebrations of the body. Its uneven, red and white all-caps lettering and oval lock-up resembles retro American signage and logos. Together, this codes boldness as returning to the fun and excitement associated with vintage American pop-culture (but with a distinctly modern celebration) grounded in internal, rather than external acceptance.

With minimalist backdrops and assertive poses, Parade borrows cues from the classic US clothing brand American Apparel; known for its voyeuristic and risqué boldness in the mid 2000s. However, American Apparel’s boldness, which demanded conformity to Eurocentric standards of beauty, primarily for male enjoyment, is modernised by Parade. Imagery of stretch marks, tummy bulges, blemishes, diversity in body size and ethnicity, along with consumer generated photos, codes inclusivity, self-acceptance and proud authenticity.

This combination signals boldness that is flexible and self-defined, empowering everyone to embrace their realistic selves. This emergent boldness connects particularly well with Gen Z consumers, as they demand and expect authenticity, inclusive community building and nuance from both brands and institutions, including the US government. 

Parade celebrates a new vision of American boldness – one that is proud, authentic and inclusive (and much needed in 2021).
Parade celebrates a new vision of American boldness – one that is proud, authentic and inclusive (and much needed in 2021).

 

Optimism: Personal Determination 

Typically, the Coca-Cola brand has been about celebration and savouring a particular moment. The cursive Spencarian script codes a hint of premium, but also a 130-year-old tradition. Previous campaigns, like the yearly Christmas adverts and ‘Open Happiness’ have used conventions of celebration – popping (cap top) bottles, bubbles, and personalised packaging – to code Coca-Cola as a sentimental toast to good times.

In 2021, the Cola-Cola brand of optimism is shifting toward active determination. Language on the site features strong calls to action that code both resolve and support, with mission statements of ‘together we can, must, and will’ do better and bring about change. The Open To Better campaign foregrounds this literally, replacing the brand logo on the can with customised resolutions. 

The repetition of the first person direct address, ‘I will’, codes this new positioning as a mantra and also a pledge. This is not ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke’ – it’s articulating a much more committed optimism, where your hope is insured by personal resolve, intentionality and accountability. This new brand of optimism is about informed and articulated purpose, factoring in the reckoning of a year of global protest and demands for greater accountability, both on a personal and institutional level.

Coca-Cola codes optimism as determination as the brand issues out a series of mission statements to bring the nation together.
Coca-Cola codes optimism as determination as the brand issues out a series of mission statements to bring the nation together.

 

As we have seen, Brand America cannot simply shrug off the political and cultural pains of the last four years. To do so would be to continue the line of domineering bluster that characterised Trump’s presidency. But hope always remains and it’s clear that hope will have to work hard to rehabilitate the image of America; both for Americans and people around the world. 

Look out for an upcoming instalment of Semiotics At Crowd where we tackle Brand Britain post-Brexit – how can the UK maintain its cultural relevance while undermining its cultural relationships?

Crowd DNA New York’s Eden Lauffer explores our changing buying habits and how 2020’s events influenced this season's holiday shopping…

In more ‘normal’ times, holiday shopping and gift giving can feel a little monotonous – a set of pots and pans as requested on a wishlist, the regifting of a yet another scented candle. But in 2020, as with most other aspects of life, things looked a little different.

We saw gifting trends this season reflect a yearning for simple joys with reciprocal benefits for both gifters and receivers. Using the three trends below as a springboard, we’ve deployed our Culture At Scale unstructured data method to explore social conversation around gifting, and provide direction on what to expect from 2021 shopping behaviors.


While sex tech remains stigmatized, brands are starting to position it as self-care. And with major celebrities involved, it’s sure to turn heads in 2021.
While sex tech remains stigmatized, brands are starting to position it as self-care. And with major celebrities involved, it’s sure to turn heads in 2021.

Intimacy meets technology

In 2020, we spent months without in-person gatherings and meetings. For many, this meant an end to dating and casual hookups. And with more time spent in isolation and shopping online, consumers warmed to new forms of intimacy. FaceTime dating aside, sex tech sales skyrocketed. This includes toys that link to apps (think Fitbit for sex) and VR sexual experimentation. Discussion about gifting last year had an emphasis on treating oneself, making sex tech a popular purchase.

In 2021, as economies begin to revive themselves and the hardship of last year fades away, treating oneself doesn’t feel as frivolous. And wellbeing doesn’t just mean meditation and mindfulness – expect consumers to be investing in themselves and others via the sex tech space, too. We’re also noticing intimacy sites sparking conversation around this unique junction between technology and self-care.


As consumers lean into DIY gifts, TikTok serves as an incredible source of inspiration and learning
As consumers lean into DIY gifts, TikTok serves as an incredible source of inspiration and learning

Mutually beneficial DIY gifts

Consumers have acquired new hobbies after a year of having to find different forms of entertainment. Through activities like baking and crafting, we feel mental health benefits like a sense of pride, an antidote for depression, an outlet for anxiety. With gifting, sharing homemade items delivers a sense of empowerment to givers. Recipients feel a stronger emotional connection to these gifts, too, because they place sentiment over the need for generic material items.

Moving into 2021, social conversations continue to highlight the sustained value creative expression brings to mental health. And in a shift toward more conscious buying, making things for others or yourself feels more enriching.


At the start of lockdown, conversations around gift cards and supporting local surged. This interest was reinvigorated around the holidays
At the start of lockdown, conversations around gift cards and supporting local surged. This interest was reinvigorated around the holidays

The revamped gift card

Businesses continue to suffer as Covid prohibits many stores and restaurants from operating as usual. But we’re still finding ways to support local businesses. Gift cards – once associated with dull, last-minute presents courtesy of generic stores – have become popular and thoughtful gifts. They allow us to support the businesses we have a relationship with from afar, or invest in future IRL shopping or dining. Gift cards make shoppers feel good and also help local businesses stay afloat in the interim.

As we enter 2021, we can expect consumers to continue going out of their way to support local businesses in this fashion. With the 2020 wave of the Black Lives Matter movement fresh, many will shop conscious of supporting BIPOC owned outlets. And having experienced financial struggles themselves, consumers post about how they empathize with the plight of small stores. We will see more interest in mutually beneficial shopping that helps communities and makes consumers feel good – and gift cards allow anyone to show support, even at a distance.


2020 took a lot away, but it also gave consumers a deeper appreciation for the simpler things in life. A collective understanding that we all face hardships left us with a desire to give to others, and also invest in our own happiness. Amid financial strife and isolation, with both our mental and physical health in flux, we became more creative in the ways we care for ourselves and those around us. Moving into 2021, consumers feel more gratitude for life’s simple pleasures and are willing to spend the time and money to bring a little joy after a rough year.


Sources:

Gift card economy: ((giftcard* OR “gift card*” OR “gift certificate*” OR giftcertificate OR giftvoucher OR “gift voucher”) AND (localbusiness* OR “local business*” OR smallbusiness OR “small business*” OR supportlocal OR “support local” OR “shop local” OR shoplocal)), Nov 1, 2019-December 31, 2020

Intimacy meets technology: Brandwatch: ‘sex tech’ OR sextech, Nov 1, 2020-Jan 4, 2021

Mutually beneficial DIY gifts: TikTok: #giftideas, #diy

An exciting chance to join our fast-growing APAC team in 2021...

18 months into Crowd DNA’s Sydney adventure and things are getting ever more exciting. Our client base is growing at speed, we’re joining the APAC dots with our Singapore office, and we’re truly living up to our ambition of providing brands with culturally charged commercial advantage.

We’ll be recruiting for a number of roles in Sydney and Singapore in the coming months (speculative CVs welcome). First up: we’re looking for a consultant/senior consultant level hire for Sydney.

You’ll get to work on exciting projects at the intersection of culture, insight and strategy for some of the most forward-facing brands in the world, covering themes such as audience understanding, brand development, new market entries, product and experience innovation, and thought leadership. You’ll get to collaborate alongside the wider Crowd DNA team in our other global offices and play a key role in helping our Sydney start-up to get to the next level.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

Two to five years of experience. Probably in an insight agency; possibly elsewhere in the marketing comms field

While you won’t necessarily have ticked off every research method under the sun, you’ll come with a good basis of qualitative techniques (if you can bring some quant and/or trends and/or social listening to the party, too, better still!)

You’ll have a strong sense of why culture is important to brands – and you’ll be ready and confident to share that point of view with our clients; in presentations, reports etc

Though much of our work is about exploring culture, we’re doing it to create commercial advantage for our clients. Thus, we’re looking for a recruit who can demonstrate strong client management skills

While Crowd DNA as a group is 12 years old, it’s relatively early days in Sydney. We want someone with a real appetite for working in a start-up business (think diverse challenges, fast learning)

The role comes with a competitive salary, great benefits, the chance to work on some of the most stimulating and culturally-driven projects out there; and the opportunity to progress and make a real difference in an exciting and progressive business. To apply (attaching a CV and covering letter), please get in touch with Elyse Pigram.

Recruiting For Crowd DNA NYC

We're seeking a quant-focused associate director to join our Crowd Numbers team in New York...

Crowd DNA has solid ambitions to increase its Crowd Numbers capabilities (that’s the name we give to our super skilled, highly dedicated quant team) in the US, meeting client needs across categories such as media, tech, finance and apparel, often delivering solutions in partnership with our Strategic Insights, Crowd Signs and Socialise teams.

This role offers the opportunity to take a front seat role in our NYC plans, working on diverse and exciting projects for some of the most exciting brands in the world. The briefs we get are amazing – truly at the intersection of data, culture and brands. We want someone who can bring provocative thinking and new ideas to quantitative work; who can develop enduring client-agency partnerships; designing new approaches and meeting future facing business challenges.

In more detail, here’s what we’re looking for:

– Five plus years of relevant experience; this could be in a research role, or as a strategist/planner who can point to solid quantitative skills

– Someone who’s played an important role in developing and winning business and managing client accounts

– Experience and confidence to lead complex, multimarket projects from start to finish and to be a trusted advisor to clients

– Ideally experienced in some of these areas: media, tech, fashion, e-commerce and digital journeys; a background in international as well as domestic research would be a plus

– Confidence in presenting to clients, expressing ideas, developing clear and energizing data visualizations, debrief decks and reports

– Track record of producing high-quality, winning proposals and project designs

– Experience of applying and leading work involving techniques such as segmentation approaches, drivers analysis, max diffs and conjoint

– Comfortable with, and enthused by, blending quantitative research with other methods, such as qual, trends, social listening and alternative data sources, including client’s own data 

– Enthusiastic about working alongside strategists, writers, film-makers and designers, as much as researchers; also for collaborating with equal enthusiasm with our teams in other cities

The role comes with great benefits (betterment scheme, training, sabbatical, company lunches and days out, flexi hours etc); the chance to work on some of the most stimulating and culturally-driven projects out there; and the opportunity to progress in an exciting and progressive business. To apply (attaching a resume and covering letter), please get in touch with Dr Matilda Andersson.