From September 18th - 21st, 2022, Toronto was home to ESOMAR Congress 2022, the "world's largest summit of Insights and Analytics professionals". This year marked the 75th anniversary of the event, whose goal is to connect research and insights professionals globally to discuss current issues and best practices, as well as the latest tools and techniques of the trade.
As a corporate member of ESOMAR, Phase 5 was an active participant in the event with several members of our team in attendance. Below is a summary of their top 10 themes, in no particular order, but chosen for their impact on us and potential for contributing to the advancement of the profession.
1. Great Keynote Speakers! Esie Mensah challenged us to question our biases and consider whose stories we tell, and Jeremy Gutsche and Dan Quinn brought big ideas to answer the "what if" questions that are in front of the insights industry. Lots to think about!
2. Smart Use of Technology: Tech can be leveraged to better understand what consumers really do in their real-life environments (e.g., sensors, headset cameras, etc.).
3. The Word "Sensor": Sensor was also used to describe how researchers ought to listen, or sense, for signals from consumers.
4. Research for a Better World: Research can contribute to real-world change and make a positive impact on environmental and social issues.
5. Growth in AI: Artificial Intelligence is being taken very seriously by the organization, to the point of the ESOMAR board starting work on an ethical framework for the use of AI in research.
6. Change is Ever Present: and the need to pivot with agility is key. The program included a fascinating presentation on "Embracing the Avalanche of Change".
7. Need for Resilience: Our new mission is to "help build resilience by championing the human". In order to succeed, companies will need to be resilient, prepared for a range of possible future scenarios, inventive, and human-centric.
8. Adapting to a Non-Linear World: Customer journeys are no longer linear but looping, and brands need to adapt how they engage with consumers to stay present and relevant in the journey cycle.
9. Human-centricity: As technological innovation has had a sea change impact on our industry, human insights and interpretations are now more critical than ever.
10. Practice What We Preach: As today's consumers are more attuned than ever to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) considerations, but tired of buzzwords and companies that pay lip-service to these concepts, effective ESG and DEI strategies must start with "walking the walk" to ensure credibility.
In closing, here's a very encouraging quote by Phase 5's Senior Research Analyst Aleta Pleasant:
"As a first-time attendee of a market research conference, the ESOMAR Congress allowed me to step outside my corner of the industry to appreciate the breadth of what is happening in our field. From the use of technology like clickers, and go-pros to track the customer journey, developing non-linear customer journeys that reflect the new-age purchase process, and rethinking how we measure and understand some of our core constructs, I was delighted to learn how alive this field is with innovation."
We're already looking forward to next year's ESOMAR Congress, and hope to see you there!